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Maravot News of the World
8:21 AM – San Francisco
Tue, Dec 26, 2006
(last post) - Diamond Stud Earrings

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kilometer: 0.6214 mile
meter: 39.37 inches
centimetre: 0.3937 inch
millimetre: 0.03937 inch
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Chart showing National Debt & Annual Deficits with Presidents. Democrat administrations are blue, Republican in Red. Green reflects projected Bush debt. Click chart for larger image.

2006 update (2.25.06)

The Chart Showing the National Debt above is still valid: "The debt to the penny,"
The debt projection for 2009 is now $10.3 Trillion. Deficit for 2006 is $435 Billion.
OMB Budget FY2007
Interest on Debt 2006
Federal Debt 2006
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Osama bin Laden fatwas.
This monster's own words will
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Definition of fatwa (fatwah)
Maravot News Comment




August 1996

Maps of interest
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Russia, Belarus & neighbors
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Iran-Afghanistan-Pak.-India; Gulf of Hormuz oil lane Iran threatens to block
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Historical map of Israel. Figure 2 shows the area allocated to
Israel by the UN in 1948. Compare to Israel' s map below of its security wall.

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

Middle East Watch

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

Relevant Works by Mel

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

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

News Headlines & Trends

12.24.06 When resolve turns reckless

December 24 (Article by Senator John F. Kerry) – The case for flip-floppoing. There's something much worse than being accused of "flip-flopping": refusing to flip when it's obvious that your course of action is a flop. I say this to President Bush as someone who learned the hard way how embracing the world's complexity can be twisted into a crude political shorthand. Barbed words can make for great politics. But with U.S. troops in Iraq in the middle of an escalating civil war, this is no time for politics. Refusing to change course for fear of the political fallout is not only dangerous – it is immoral.

I'd rather explain a change of position any day than look a parent in the eye and tell them that their son or daughter had to die so that a broken policy could live...Half of the service members listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial died after America's leaders knew that our strategy in that war was not working. Was then-secretary of defense Robert McNamara steadfast as he continued to send American troops to die for a war he knew privately could not be won? History does not remember his resolve – it remembers his refusal to confront reality.
[Full article>>]

Editorial note:
From Vietnam's killing fields to the 'crusade.' Senator Kerry poses a question with regard to the reality of the situation in Iraq (We paraphrase his question):How long will we "sacrifice American lives for the sake of squabbling Iraqi politicians?" I compare Kerry's message to that of Fox News Sunday, December 24, with Chris Wallace. Wallace began with a long interview of Second Lady Lynne Cheney – who repeated Bush administration dogma for continuing the war in Iraq. Wallace then proceeded with a discussion with three Christian ministers who turned the news event into a crusade "to come to Jesus our God," and then the news program concluded with a debate on the war. In the debate on the war Fred Barnes threw out an argument comparing George W. Bush to Abraham Lincoln. Barnes argued that just as Lincoln fired timid generals and switched to General Ulysses S. Grant to prosecute the Civil War, so too would George W. Bush be right in more vigorously prosecuting the Iraq War.

I see a major difference between the American Civil War and the Iraq War. The American Civil War had a clear debate and purpose : over the preservation of the Union. The Iraq civil war has no clear purpose and the reason for launching it and winning it (to remove Iraq's weapons of mass destruction) was misleading and most certainly false; also Osama bin Laden, who attacked the US on 9/11, was not in Iraq and all evidence points to the fact that bin Laden and Saddam Hussein were not allied in any way.

On balance, the Iraq civil war appears to resemble the Vietnam War on most points: It is a war between factions and war lords (north vs south), a war between two political theories (communism vs capitalism) and a front believed to be threatening our American democracy and way of life (Communism and atheism, i.e., the Domino Theory vs Capitalism and Christianity). What makes the Iraq War more chaotic than the Vietnam War is the George W. Bush "crusade." (When Bush launched the Iraq War he called it a crusade.) Osama bin Laden, other Islamists and Bush allies are the only ones who after tne past four years believe in the crusade. Bush's failure to gain support for the Iraq War may be closer to the failure of the Vietnam War and certainly further differentiates the causes of the American Civil War and Iraq War. That Pope John Paul II warned against the US venture in the Gulf and Pope Benedict XVI criticized US terror tactics in Iraq seems to cast doubts on the war's merits as a crusade for Christ as well. If we agree with Christ this Christmas Eve, in fact, we might suspect all arguments that defend the killing fields of Iraq on behalf of God. See for the physical cost of these wars. The spiritual cost is no doubt more.

Mel Copeland

12.23.06 Bin Laden associate killed in southern Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan (AFP) December 23 – US-led forces have killed a close associate of Osama Bin Laden in an airstrike in southern Afghanistan in a major blow to the deadly Taliban-led insurgency, a military statement said Saturday. Mullah Akhtar Mohammed Osmani's vehicle was struck in Helmand province near the Pakistan border after coalition forces received credible information about his hideout, the statement said. "Mullah Akhtar Mohammed Osmani, a senior member of the Taliban's inner circle, was killed December 19 in Helmand province," coalition forces spokesman Colonel Tom Collins said. "Osmani was in the top ring of the Taliban leadership and he was also a close associate of Osama Bin Laden and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar," he said. [More>>]

12.23.06 Police hunt for 'English Brothers' who spent year in al-Qaeda camp

December 23 – Police are trying to trace a gang of British Muslims who are thought to have returned to plot terror attacks in Britain after being trained abroad for more than a year by al-Qaeda, Nine Britons, all said to be in their twenties, were among a group of 12 Western recruits groomed by al-Qaeda at a secret camp near the Afghan border to set up new terror cells in London and other Western capitals. Police do not know the real identities of this gang, who are known as the "English brothers" because of their shared language. As well as nine Britons, they include two Norwegians and an Australian who were smuggled into the Waziristan tribal region in Pakistan in October 2005.

They are believed to have been under the command of an al-Qaeda veteran suspected of training some of the Britons accused of the alleged plot to blow up passenger planes flying to the US from Heathrow airport in the summer. The intensive manhunt for the "English brothers" was revealed to The Times as the alleged British mastermind of the Heathrow plot spoke for the first time as he appeared yesterday in a court in Pakistan on separate charges. Outside court, he vehemently denied any role in plans to bomb up to ten transatlantic flights. Rashid Rauf, 25, from Birmingham, had not been seen in public since his arrest in August by Pakistani intelligence chiefs, who claimed that he was the key figure in the foiled operation.

12.23.06 UN Security Council passes Iran sanctions

UNITED NATIONS, December 23 – The Security Council on Saturday unanimously passed a resolution intended to curb Iranıs nuclear program, capping four months of negotiations over how severe and sweeping the sanctions should be. The resolution, drafted by Germany and the Security Councilıs five permanent members, the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China, bans the import and export of materials and technology used in uranium enrichment, reprocessing and ballistic missiles.

Alejandro D. Wolff, the acting American ambassador, hailed the resolution as an "unambiguous message that there are serious repercussions" for Iranıs pursuit of its nuclear ambitions. He added, however, that the resolution was "only a first step," saying, "If necessary, we will not hesitate to return to this body for further action if Iran fails to take steps to comply."

12.23.06 Uranium stolen in India; disastrous effects likely

MUMBAI, December 23 – Police in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand are hunting for a container packed with highly radioactive material stolen from a research facility, officials said on Saturday. "It carries uranium and radiation could have an adverse effect in an area of 1.5 kilometres," Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Khoda warned. Khoda said the "uranium-filled analyzer" went missing earlier this month after being moved to a site near the densely-populated town of Rajrappa from a federal atomic facility near Mumbai. [More>>]

12.23.06 US judge: Iran owes $254m to victims of 1996 Khobar Towers bombing

December 23 – The Iranian government financed a 1996 terrorist attack that killed 19 Americans in Saudi Arabia and must pay $254 million to the victims' families, a federal judge ruled Friday. The ruling by United States District Judge Royce C. Lamberth allows families of the victims of the Khobar Towers bombing to seek their compensation from assets that have been seized from the conservative Islamic regime in Tehran. On June 25, 1996, a truck bomb exploded in a military housing area known as the Khobar Towers dormitory near Dhahran.

US authorities have long alleged that the bombing was carried out by a Saudi wing of the militant group Hezbollah, which receives support from Iran and Syria. Though Lamberth has previously ruled that a survivor of the blast could seek payment from Iran, Friday's ruling was the first time Tehran has been blamed for the deaths of the Americans in the bombing.

12.22.06 US death toll in Iraq creeps closer to 3,000 mark

BAGHDAD (Reuters) December 22 – The US military reported the deaths of five more soldiers on Friday, bringing the US death toll closer to 3,000, as Defense Secretary Robert Gates ended a two-day visit aimed at finding a new strategy for Iraq. Four US servicemen were killed in action on Thursday in the restive Anbar province, heartland of the unrelenting Sunni insurgency against US forces and the Iraqi government and the most dangerous place in Iraq for American soldiers. A fifth was killed and another wounded west of Baghdad on Friday when their patrol came under machinegun and mortar fire. At least 71 US soldiers have died so far this month. The deaths brought the total US death toll in Iraq to 2,960, creeping closer to the 3,000 mark and adding more pressure on US President George W. Bush to find a strategy that will allow the eventual withdrawal of 135,000 US troops. [More>> ; See related stories,, December 22, "Iraq strikes deal with US on war strategy." and, December 22, "4 Marines charged in Haditha killings."]

12.22.06 NATO ex-commander warns Pakistan on porous border

BRUSSELS, December 22 – Taliban are still entering Afghanistan from Pakistan, despite a deal between Islamabad and tribal chiefs meant to cut down the incursions, Nato's former top general has warned. General James Jones, who handed over to General John Craddock as supreme allied commander Europe this month, said the western alliance's political leadership would raise the issue with Pakistan unless things improved. Pakistan's government signed peace deals in September with tribal elders along the border, saying the move would help stem the flow of Taliban fighters entering Afghanistan to battle western troops. [More>> ; See also, December 22, "Afghan MP escapes assassination."]

12.22.06 Iran to supply China in major natural gas deal

SHANGHI (AFP) December 21 – China's top energy firm PetroChina confirmed Thursday for the first time that Iran will supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) in a major deal announced by Iran state press earlier this month. Iran's state-owned gas exports company has agreed to supply Chinese company PetroChina, said Mao Zefeng, assistant secretary to the board and head of investor relations at PetroChina. "I can confirm the deal," Mao said, declining to provide more details. Earlier this month Iranian state press said that national Iranian Gas Exports Company (NIGEC) would sell China 3 million tons of gas from the Pars LNG project over 25 years, beginning in 2011. [More>>]

12.22.06 UN: Palestinians trying to flee Iraq for Syria stuck at border

(AP) December 22 – A group of Palestinians fleeing violence in Iraq for neighboring Syria are stuck near a checkpoint, unable to cross the border, the United Nations refugee agency said on Friday. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees said the 41 Palestinians, some of whom lack travel documents, have been stranded in Iraq since December 16 after border authorities refused to let them cross. The agency said the Palestinians have been told by Iraqi authorities that Syria will have to approve their entry before they can cross into the no-man's territory between Iraq and Syria, where 350 other Palestinians escaping violence have been since May.

The 350 Palestinians came to the Tanaf checkpoint, about 190 miles (306 kilometers) northeast of Damascus after Syrian authorities allowed more than 280 Palestinians stranded for two months on the Iraq-Jordan border to enter its territory in what Syria said was a "humanitarian" gesture. But the Syrian Foreign Ministry announced later it would not allow more Palestinians coming from Iraq to enter its territory, where more than 500,000 Palestinian refugees already live.

12.22.06 Process of Beijing talks under scrutiny

BEIJING, December 22 – Questions are now being asked regarding the validity of the six-party talks framework, as negotiators wrapped up their weeklong negotiations without achieving any breakthrough yesterday. North Korea remained steadfast in its demand for a lifting of financial sanctions, while the United States refused to link the issue with denuclearization talks.

The negotiators from the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia had gathered for the first time in 13 months. The talks came against the backdrop of Pyongyang's test detonation of a nuclear device in October. Since the six-party talks first convened in October 2003, the members had officially gathered in Beijing a total of seven times, but have so far seen no tangible developments in dismantling the North's nuclear weapons program.

12.22.06 Giant squid captured live on camera for first time

December 22 – A Japanese research team that succeeded in filming a live giant squid for the first time said that the elusive creatures could be more plentiful than previously thought. The team videotaped the giant creature off the Ogasawara Islands south of Tokyo, this month. The squid, which measured about seven meters (24ft) long, died while it was being caught.

"We believe this is the first time anyone has successfully filmed a giant squid that was alive," said Tsunemi Kubodera, a researcher with Japanıs National Science Museum. "Now that we know where to find them, we think we can be more successful at studying them in the future." The captured squid was caught using a smaller type of squid as bait, and pulled into a research vessel "after putting up quite a fight," Mr. Kubodera said.

12.21.06 Blow for Ahmadinejad as voters reject his allies

December 21 – Iranian voters have dealt a humiliating blow to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, their hardline president, by spurning his supporters in elections for local councils and a clerical assembly, final results confirmed today. The twin rebuffs are viewed as a clarion call for him to moderate his confrontational foreign policy that has brought Iran to the brink of UN sanctions and to focus more on economic woes at home. "The government has been shocked by the peopleıs decision," proclaimed Eıtemad-e Melli, a reformist newspaper.

The main winners in the local government elections were "moderate conservatives," while reformists staged a morale-boosting comeback after a series of heavy electoral defeats. Mr. Ahmadinejadıs fundamentalist supporters, among them his sister, Parvin, won just three out of the 15 seats on the Tehran City Council. [

12.21.06 Aceh police raid beauty parlor; men arrested for receiving haircuts from women

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AP) December 21 – Enforcing Islamic law, Indonesian police raided a dozen beauty parlors and arrested 13 beauticians for failing to wear Islamic attire and two male customers for having their hair cut by women, police said Thursday. Police chief Bahagia Hadi said raids on beauty parlors would be intensified in the Indonesian province of Aceh because such places were often found to be used for prostitution. Bahagia said police found used condoms during a raid Wednesday in one of the parlors in the capital of the tsunami-ravaged province, Banda Aceh.

The 13 female parlor workers were arrested because they wore tight shirts and jeans but no head scarves, while the two men should have known that Islamic Sharia law states they can only receive haircuts from male hairdressers, he said. All were released after being admonished by the Sharia Agency, he said.
[More>> ; See related story,, December 21, "Aceh's sharia bylaws 'hurting the needy and protecting the wicked.'"]

12.21.06 Suicide bomber kills 13 Iraqi police recruits

BAGHDAD (AFP) December 21 – A suicide bomber has killed 13 Iraqis arriving at a police recruitment centre in central Baghdad, a medic said, in the latest attack to strike security forces in the war-torn capital. Separately two civilian women were killed in a mortar trike on a marketplace in southwest Baghdad, and a bomb targeting a police patrol in the north of the city injured a bystander, police said Thursday. The bomber, wearing an explosive vest, struck at sunrise in a street outside a police academy in the heart of the Iraqi capital that has been barred to vehicular traffic, security officials said. Ten police recruits were killed instantly and another three died of their injuries after being rushed to the al-Kindi hospital, a medical source said. [More>>]

12.21.06 Lebanon police seize explosives from pro-Syrian group in north

December 21 – Lebanese police arrested seven people and seized large quantities of explosives, electrical fuses and timers in several homes in northern Lebanon on Thursday, a police statement said. An official close to the investigation said those detained were members of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, a pro-Syrian Lebanese political party. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. The police statement said Prosecutor General Saeed Mirza ordered authorities to raid the homes in the district of Koura after receiving information of explosives stashed there. Police found large quantities of explosives with electrical fuses, timers as well as large numbers of weapons. A Lebanese source said police also seized two stolen cars and a truck loaded with weapons and explosives.

The SSNP said most of the weapons seized dated back to the 1980s – the height of Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war. "The party calls for an immediate halt to raids and the pursuit of National Socialists," party leader Ali Qansou told a news conference. "The National Socialists' patience has limits." The SSNP is a secular ultranationalist party advocating a greater Syria that encompasses Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Iraq, Kuwait and Cyprus. It once fielded street fighters in Lebanon during the country's 1975-90 civil war and was active in south Lebanon, fighting against Israeli troops in the 1980s. In the last 20 years, however, the party became increasingly pro-Syrian.

12.21.06 Iraq had to deal with Turkey during Kurd genocide

BAGHDAD (AFP) December 21 – Iraqi forces were told to cooperate with their Turkish counterparts during a 1980s campaign against Kurdish civilians, according to evidence presented Thursday to a court trying Saddam Hussein. Prosecutors seeking to prove that the ousted Iraqi dictator ordered the slaughter of 182,000 Kurdish civilians in the 1988 Anfal campaign produced a series of Iraqi military documents during the day's hearing.

One was sent to the commanders of the 1st and 5th Corps of the Iraqi Army August 21, 1988 and ordered them to carry out "heavy special strikes before starting the project to create a condition of panic among the citizens." Prosecutors have previously said that the term "special strikes" in Iraqi documents refers to the use of chemical weapons such as mustard gas or sarin. The document, signed by Iraqi chief of staff Nazar Abdel Kareem Faisal, insisted: "There must be full destruction of saboteurs in the northern area." And in a revelation likely to stir anger among Kurdish survivors, the memo orders the Iraqi officers "to cooperate with the Turkish side, according to the cooperation protocol with them to chase all the refugees."

12.21.06 India doesn't need to report like Iran: US

WASHINGTON (PTI) December 21 – Seeking to allay concerns in India over reference to Iran in its new law on nuclear cooperation, the US has said New Delhi is not involved in the matter, which is strictly between the American Congress and Administration. Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Richard Boucher said the reporting requirement on Iran "does not impinge" on India and hinted that the cooperation will be guided by the 123 Agreement, which is being negotiated to operationalise the civil nuclear deal.

The US Congress wants that the American administration should "report to them and it doesn't impinge on India because it doesn't involve India," he said. He was referring to a provision in the Henry J. Hyde US-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act signed by President George W. Bush on Monday, which says that the US government would seek India's cooperation in isolating and sanctioning Iran.

12.21.06 New outbreak of bird flu hits duck farm in South Korea

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) December 21 – Officials plan to slaughter tens of thousands of poultry after a new outbreak of bird flu was confirmed in central South Korea, an Agriculture Ministry official said Thursday. The outbreak – the fourth in South Korea in a month – was caused by a "highly pathogenic" type of bird flu, but it remains unclear whether it was the virulent H5N1 virus, said Lee Joo-won, a ministry official. South Korea has slaughtered more than 1.13 million poultry during its three previous outbreaks in November and December in an attempt to keep the disease from spreading. [More>>]

12.21.06 Climate change vs Mother Nature: Scientists reveal that bears have stopped hibernating

December 21 – Bears have stopped hibernating in the mountains of northern Spain, scientists revealed yesterday, in what may be one of the strongest signals yet of how much climate change is affecting the natural world. In a December in which bumblebees, butterflies and even swallows have been on the wing in Britain, European brown bears have been lumbering through the forests of Spain's Cantabrian mountains, when normally they would already be in their long, annual sleep. Bears are supposed to slumber throughout the winter, slowing their body rhythms to a minimum and drawing on stored resources, because frozen weather makes food too scarce to find. The barely breathing creatures can lose up to 40 per cent of their body weight before warmer springtime weather rouses them back to life.

But many of the 130 bears in Spain's northern cordillera – which have a slightly different genetic identity from bear populations elsewhere in the world – have remained active throughout recent winters, naturalists from Spain's Brown Bear Foundation (La Fundación Oso Pardo - FOP) said yesterday. The change is affecting female bears with young cubs, which now find there are enough nuts, acorns, chestnuts and berries on the bleak mountainsides to make winter food-gathering sorties "energetically worthwhile", scientists at the foundation, based in Santander, the Cantabrian capital, told El Pais newspaper.

12.20.06 Al-Qaeda calls for Palestine jihad

December 20 – The occupied Palestinian territories will be liberated through jihad, not elections, according to a senior al-Qaeda leader. Ayman al-Zawahiri, regarded as the right-hand man to Osama bin Laden, made his comments in a video shown by Al Jazeera on Wednesday. In the video, al-Zawahiri said: "Any road other than jihad will only lead to loss." He also said: "Those trying to liberate the land of Islam through elections based on secular constitutions or on decisions to surrender Palestine to the Jews will not liberate a grain of sand of Palestine." [More>>]

12.20.06 NATO forces kill 50 militants in Afghan operation

KABUL, Afghanistan (AFP) December 20 – NATO-led and Afghan forces have killed around 50 Taleban insurgents in a fresh anti-militant sweep in southern Afghanistan, the alliance said Wednesday. Operation "Baaz Tsuka" (Falconıs Summit) was launched last Friday by hundreds of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Afghan troops in the Panjwayi and Zhare districts of Kandahar province. "We have cleared one large and two small villages of Taleban. We have killed about 50 Taleban," NATO spokesman Brigadier Richard Nugee told a press conference in Kabul. The spokesman said there had been no Afghan army or NATO casualties during the operation. The 31,000-strong ISAF is fighting a fierce Taleban insurgency alongside Afghanistanıs fledgling army and 8,000 troops from the US-led coalition that ousted the Islamist regime in late 2001. [More>>]

12.20.06 Report: US secretly cultivating Syrian opposition to Assad

NEW YORK, December 20 – The United States administration is secretly working to cultivate and strengthen the Syrian opposition, in order to undermine Syrian President Bashar Assad's rule and bring about his overthrow, according to the TIME Magazine Web site. The report exposes a classified document, according to which the administration is trying to strengthen the Syrian opposition prior to the elections, which are expected to take place in March as part of the US push for increased democracy in the region. The document includes detailed proposals and recommendations for taking advantage of the Syrian elections in order to undermine Assad's regime. According to the document, the US already is "supporting regular meetings of internal and diaspora Syrian activists" in Europe. [More>>haaretz.dom ; See, December 20, "Syria in Bush's cross hairs."]

12.20.06 Bush concedes Iraq War more difficult than he expected

WASHINGTON, December 20 – President Bush acknowledged today that the war in Iraq has been more difficult than he anticipated, but insisted that it could still be won. He said the "extremists and radicals" behind the bombing and attacks in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq "canıt run us out of the Middle East." Speaking at a White House news conference, Mr. Bush said he would await the results of a review of the administrationıs policy on Iraq before announcing a new strategy for the "war on terrorism." But he said he would support a measure to send a surge of fresh troops to the country, as long as there was "a specific mission." He also said it was essential to ³adjust tactics² in Iraq and have Iraqis "do more soon." [More>> ; See related story,, December 20, "US hands Shia holy city to Iraqi forces."]

12.20.06 'Hibernating' brain saved life

KOBE, Japan, December 21 – A man who was rescued 24 days after he went missing on Mt. Rokko in October was able to survive because his brain went into a hibernation-like state as his body temperature dropped, experts said. Mitsutaka Uchikoshi was discharged Tuesday from a Kobe hospital, surprising doctors and others with his miracle recovery.

Uchikoshi, a 35-year-old Nishinomiya municipal government employee, lost consciousness several days after he fell on the mountain in Nada Ward, Kobe. At a press conference at the hospital, he said he lost his footing and fell about 10 meters down a cliff and broke his pelvis. He survived for a few days on a bottle of yakiniku sauce he was carrying, but gradually lost consciousness on about the third day. According to the hospital, Uchikoshi was severely emaciated, with a body temperature of 22 C when he was admitted to the hospital. He was unconscious due to his low body temperature, and his brain was in a hibernation-like state that protected his brain cells and helped him recover. "I'd like to thank the people who rescued me," Uchikoshi said. Uchikoshi returned to work Wednesday.

12.19.06 Iraq insurgents starve capital of electricity

December 19 – Over the past six months, Baghdad has been all but isolated electrically, Iraqi officials say, as insurgents have effectively won their battle to bring down critical high-voltage lines and cut off the capital from the major power plants to the north, south and west. The battle has been waged in the remotest parts of the open desert, where the great towers that support thousands of miles of exposed lines are frequently felled with explosive charges in increasingly determined and sophisticated attacks, generally at night. Crews that arrive to repair the damage are often attacked and sometimes killed, ensuring that the government falls further and further behind as it attempts to repair the lines.

And in a measure of the deep disunity and dysfunction of this nation, when the repair crews and security forces are slow to respond, skilled looters often arrive with heavy trucks that pull down more of the towers to steal as much of the valuable aluminum conducting material in the lines as possible. The aluminum is melted into ingots and sold..."Now Baghdad is almost isolated," Karim Wahid, the Iraqi electricity minister, said in an interview last week. ³We almost donıt have any power coming from outside.²...
[Full story>> ; See related stories,, December 19, "Bank robbers in military uniforms stage heist in Baghdad" : BAGHDAD: Gunmen in military uniforms raided a bank in downtown Baghdad on Tuesday morning, stealing more than one billion Iraqi Dinar (US$709,000 or euro540,000), police said... (AFP) December 19, "Iraq hunts Red Crescent workers as violence surges." (Reuters) December 19 – "Iraq strife worst yet, militia big threat: Pentagon" ; For report see, December 18, "Report: Iraqi government must stop violence for progress to continue.", December 19, "White House, Joint Chiefs at odds on adding troops."]

12.19.06 Syria says ready for talks with US, but won't heed its orders

December 19 – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Tuesday he was ready for dialogue with the United States but warned Washington against giving Damascus orders. Assad, wrapping up a visit to key ally Russia, was asked by reporters about proposals by a special U.S. panel that the United States should open talks with Iran and Syria.

"We want to make a dialogue but you have to differentiate between dialogue and giving instructions. We are open for dialogue but we will not take instructions," Assad told a news conference after meeting President Vladimir Putin..."Unfortunately the situation in the (Middle East) region remains tense," Putin said. "We see that the region is practically developing from one conflict to another and that cannot but concern us."
[Full story>>]

12.19.06 France hopes to set world speed record of 342mph with new TGV

December 19 – The French railways will attempt to raise the world speed record for a conventional train to at least 342mph in the new year - smashing their own 16-year-old record. Tests with a new generation high-speed train, or train à grande vitesse (TGV), will attempt to push the speed record for steel wheels on steel rails to at least 550kph (342mph) and possibly 570kph (354mph)...The record for conventional trains is 515.3kph (320mph), which was set by the French railways, SNCF, in 1990. Monorail or magnetic levitation trains have reached higher speeds on experimental tracks...SNCF hopes to upgrade all its high-speed lines to 320kph, possibly 360kph (224mph), for ordinary service trains. [Full story>>]

12.18.06 Ten dead in fresh Aghanistan gunbattles

KHOST, Afghanistan (AFP) December 18 – Nine Taliban rebels and an Afghan soldier were killed and 14 insurgents were captured in fresh fighting across insurgency-hit Afghanistan, officials said Monday. A major fire fight broke out early Monday after nearly 200 militants crossed the border from Pakistan and attacked a border check post in the eastern Afghan province of Khost, police said.

Five Taliban fighters and an Afghan militia soldier died in the hour-long exchange of fire, provincial police official Gul Dad said, adding that four Afghan nationals were arrested. Pakistani militants "were also with them fighting our troops," Dad said, citing documents found on the bodies of the dead rebels. "It was a heavy battle."

Self-confessed Taliban spokesman Mohammad Hanif claimed responsibility for the attack on behalf of the ousted Islamists but said that only one rebel was killed. The fighting took place days after Afghan President Hamid Karzai publicly accused the Pakistani government for the first time of supporting Taliban rebels. Islamabad denies the claims. Meanwhile, four Taliban insurgents were killed in a separate clash late Sunday in the southern province of Kandahar which also left three US-led coalition soldiers injured, the US military said in a statement.

12.18.06 Blasts rock Nigeria oil compounds

December 18 – Two explosions have been reported at oil industry facilities in the south of Nigeria just hours after a group claimed it had planted three car bombs. A suspected bomb exploded at a Shell residential compound in Port Harcourt and another went off near the perimeter fence of a compound of the Italian oil company Agip. The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta said it planned to attack strategic locations throughout the oil-rich region.

"What we are fighting for is resource control and we will not stop until we achieve our objective," the group said in a statement to the Associated Press new agency...The group is currently holding four foreign oil workers, three Italians and one Lebanese, who were taken hostage on December 7. It also detonated two car bombs earlier this year, one at a military barracks in Port Harcourt and another near an oil refinery in Warri.
[Full story>>]

12.18.06 Israeli intelligence warns Hamas gunmen being trained in Iran

(AP) December 18 – Israeli military officials said Monday that dozens, perhaps hundreds, of Hamas militants recently left the Gaza Strip to receive advanced military training in Iran. The training is similar to that received by thousands of Hezbollah guerrillas from Lebanon over the past few years, and Israel fears it will greatly improve Hamas' military capability in any future battle with Israel Defense Forces troops in Gaza, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the matter.

Israel waged a five-month military offensive in the Gaza Strip over the summer, after Hamas militants kidnapped Corporal Gilad Shalit and killed two of his comrades in a cross-border raid. More than 300 Palestinians were killed in the fighting, most of them militants. One IDF soldier was killed, while 120 soldiers fell in the war with the Iranian-trained Hezbollah. Israel claimed 800 Hezbollah fighters were killed, whereas the militant organization recently claimed that just 250 of its guerillas were killed. Jerusalem accused Iran, whose president has called for Israel to be "wiped off the map," of training Hezbollah and using the guerrilla group as a proxy army to attack Israel.

12.18.06 Saudis' study finds Shia 'state' in Iraq: report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) December 18 – Iran has effectively created a Shia ³state within a state² in Iraq providing both logistical support of armed groups and funds for social programs, The Washington Times reported on Monday citing a security report commissioned by the Saudi government. The 40-page report says Iranian military forces are providing Shia militias with weapons and training and that Teheran is actively supporting pro-Iranian Iraqi politicians, the newspaper said. "Where the Americans have failed, the Iranians have stepped in," it said, quoting the report.

The findings were submitted to the Saudi government in March but have not been publicly distributed, The Washington Times said. The report described the Badr organization, the armed wing of the biggest party in Iraqıs government SCIRI, as the "key vehicle Iran is using to achieve its military security and intelligence aims," the newspaper said. In details on the Sunni insurgency, the report cites Iraqi tribal leaders as saying that it is run mainly by former commanders and high level-military officers of the dismantled Iraqi Baıathist government.
[More>> ; See, December 18, "Saudis' report Shi'ite 'state' inside of Iraq" : ...Citing interviews with intelligence and military officials in Iraq and surrounding region, the report states that the Sunni insurgency numbers about 77,000, while the Shi'ite militia forces total about 35,000. According to the report, Iran also is infiltrating Iraq through its al Quds forces – the special command division of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) – which specialize in intelligence operations in unconventional warfare...The Saudi security report was directed by Nawaf Obaid – who recently was fired for writing an article in The Washington Post warning that Saudi Arabia would not stand idly by and allow Iraq's Shi'ites to destroy its Sunni population...

12.18.06 Qaeda training 'English brothers' in Pakistan

NEW YORK (PTI) December 18 – The terrorist outfit al-Qaeda is training a 12-member team of Westerners in Pakistan for a special mission including plotting attacks on return to their home countries, a media report has said. The team includes nine British citizens, two Norwegian Muslims and an Australian, the Newsweek said quoting Taliban's Chief Qaeda liaison for Ghazni province in Afghanistan Omar Farooqi...Farooqi said he spent roughly five weeks last year helping indoctrinate and train a class foreign recruits near Afghanistan border in tribal Waziristan. Their mission, Farooqi said, will be to act as, underground organizers and operatives for al-Qaeda in their home countries -- and their yearlong training course is just about finished. He said the Westerners were not meant to be suicide bombers themselves as they are far too valuable to waste. [Full story>>]

12.18.06 Former US detainee in Iraq recalls torment

December 18 – One night in mid-April, the steel door clanked shut on detainee No. 200343 at Camp Cropper, the United States militaryıs maximum-security detention site in Baghdad. American guards arrived at the manıs cell periodically over the next several days, shackled his hands and feet, blindfolded him and took him to a padded room for interrogation, the detainee said. After an hour or two, he was returned to his cell, fatigued but unable to sleep.

The fluorescent lights in his cell were never turned off, he said. At most hours, heavy metal or country music blared in the corridor. He said he was rousted at random times without explanation and made to stand in his cell. Even lying down, he said, he was kept from covering his face to block out the light, noise and cold. And when he was released after 97 days he was exhausted, depressed and scared. Detainee 200343 was among thousands of people who have been held and released by the American military in Iraq, and his account of his ordeal has provided one of the few detailed views of the Pentagonıs detention operations since the abuse scandals at Abu Ghraib. Yet in many respects his case is unusual.

The detainee was Donald Vance, a 29-year-old Navy veteran from Chicago who went to Iraq as a security contractor. He wound up as a whistle-blower, passing information to the F.B.I. about suspicious activities at the Iraqi security firm where he worked, including what he said was possible illegal weapons trading. [

12.18.06 Bush signs nuclear deal with India

WASHINGTON (AP) December 18 – President Bush on Monday signed a civilian nuclear deal with India, allowing fuel and know-how to be shipped to the world's largest democracy even though it has not submitted to full international inspections. "The bill will help keep America safe by paving the way for India to join the global effort to stop the spread of nuclear weapons," Bush said. The bill carves out an exemption in US law to allow civilian nuclear trade with India in exchange for Indian safeguards and inspections at its 14 civilian nuclear plants. Eight military plants, however, would remain off-limits. [More>>]

12.18.06 Serial murders; man arrested

December 18 – A 37-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering five young women working as prostitutes whose naked bodies have been found within ten miles of Ipswich, Suffolk, over the last three weeks. Sources close to the investigation have named the man as Tom Stephens, a supermarket worker, who was arrested at his home in Trimley, near Felixstowe at 7:20 this morning. A former prostitute, Jacci Goldsmith, has known Mr. Stephens since he began visiting prostitutes 18 months ago and said that he told her he used to be a Special Constable with Norwich police between 1991 and 1997.

Ms. Goldsmith said that he came to see her on Friday night as he was so upset about the murders. She told Times Online: "He is not dangerous or violent and used to look after the girls, driving them around to get their drugs and in return they had sex with him. I have slept in his bed a couple of times because I was on the street and he let me stay at his house but we never had sex.

12.18.06 Regular folks, shooting history

GLASGOW, Scotland, December 18 – At 2:42 p.m. on Oct. 11, Dean Collins heard a thunderous explosion as he worked at his computer in his 30th-floor apartment in Manhattan. Collins looked out his window and saw a small plane crashing into a building right in front of him -- the accident that killed New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle and his flight instructor. Instinctively, he recalled, he pulled his Fuji digital camera from a drawer and started shooting, thinking to himself, "This is going to be on the news."

Collins, a consultant for a software company, said he remembered reading about Scoopt, a year-old agency in Scotland that brokers photos for "citizen journalists." Within minutes, he had e-mailed his digital shots to Scoopt. Hours later, his picture of a smoking Manhattan high-rise was in three British newspapers, including a front-page splash in the Times of London. He earned $650 for his work.

The rapid rise of digital technology, which enables ordinary people almost anywhere to record images and post them quickly on the Internet, is changing the way the world witnesses history, not to mention the dependable misbehavior of celebrities. Events that once were recorded only by human memory may now endure in full, pixelated detail, available in seconds around the globe.

12.17.06 Iraqi death sqad leader evades capture as more US troops die

BAGHDAD, December 17 – A special Iraqi army unit backed by US troops killed one militant and arrested six people during operations against a death squad leader in a Baghdad Shia stronghold yesterday. The target, who appears to have evaded capture, was believed to lead a group of 100 militants who conducted kidnappings and killings from Sadr City. The US military said that three more US troops died in fighting this week, raising to 54 the number of Americans killed in Iraq in December.

The month is shaping up to be one of the deadliest for Americans since the war started. At least 25 of the US troops killed this month died in the vast stretch of desert that extends from the capital to the borders with Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The large number of casualties reflects the strength of Sunni insurgents, including al-Qaida in Iraq, in the region, even as violence in Baghdad shifts to a fight between Sunni and Shia extremists. It also comes despite a decision by some US commanders in the area to pull troops out of combat missions and partner them with Iraqi army units as advisers and mentors. At least 2,942 members of the US military have died since the invasion in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

12.17.06 Ahmadinejad allies fail to sweep Iran vote

TEHRAN (AFP) December 17 – Ultra-conservatives close to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have failed to sweep twin Iranian elections with embattled moderate forces recording a respectable performance, initial results showed on Sunday. Centrist cleric Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani appeared to have sprung a surprise by reaping by far the most votes and beating a hardline rival in the election for the Assembly of Experts, the body that chooses the supreme leader.

In the keenly-watched race for Teheran city council, reformists were on course to take a handful of seats and end total conservative domination of the body which has prevailed since the last local vote in February 2003. However the authorities were most keen to emphasize an unexpectedly high turnout, which appeared to have topped 60 percent for both votes, far higher than in similar elections in the past.

12.17.06 Russia to seek Korea peninsula nuclear-free status at talks

BEIJING (RIA Novosti) December 17 – Russia will seek the Korean peninsula's nuclear-free status at six-nation talks on North Korea's nuclear program, a source close to a Russian delegation in Beijing said Sunday. The Russian delegation led by Russia's Ambassador to China Sergei Razov arrived December 17 in Beijing to hold consultations with the parties to six-nation talks on the North Korea nuclear problem. The six-party talks are scheduled to resume December 18. The negotiations, involving North and South Korea, Russia, Japan, China and the US, were launched in 2003 to persuade North Korea to give up its controversial nuclear program after Pyongyang withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. [More>>]

12.17.06 Thirty Taliban rebels killed in NATO Afghan raid

KANDAHAR, December 17 – A NATO-led airstrike in southern Afghanistan this week killed up to 30 Taliban fighters including two commanders, the governor of the troubled Kandahar province said Sunday. Warplanes from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) bombed a compound serving as a Taliban command post in the Panjwayi district of the volatile Kandahar province on Wednesday. [More>>]

12.16.06 Update, 12.15.06 Diplomat's suppressed document lays bare the lies behind Iraq war

December 15 – The Government's case for going to war in Iraq has been torn apart by the publication of previously suppressed evidence that Tony Blair lied over Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. A devastating attack on Mr. Blair's justification for military action by Carne Ross, Britain's key negotiator at the UN, has been kept under wraps until now because he was threatened with being charged with breaching the Official Secrets Act.

In the testimony revealed today Mr. Ross, 40, who helped negotiate several UN security resolutions on Iraq, makes it clear that Mr. Blair must have known Saddam Hussein possessed no weapons of mass destruction. He said that during his posting to the UN, "at no time did HMG [Her Majesty's Government] assess that Iraq's WMD (or any other capability) posed a threat to the UK or its interests." Mr. Ross revealed it was a commonly held view among British officials dealing with Iraq that any threat by Saddam Hussein had been "effectively contained." He also reveals that British officials warned US diplomats that bringing down the Iraqi dictator would lead to the chaos the world has since witnessed. "I remember on several occasions the UK team stating this view in terms during our discussions with the US (who agreed)," he said. "At the same time, we would frequently argue when the US raised the subject, that 'regime change' was inadvisable, primarily on the grounds that Iraq would collapse into chaos."
; See also, December 15, "The full transcript of evidence given to the Butler Inquiry." ;

Update 12.16.06,, December 16, "John Major leads calls for inquiry into conflict" : Sir John Major led calls for an independent inquiry into Tony Blair's decision to go to war in Iraq after the revelations by a former British senior diplomat that contradict the Prime Minister's case for the conflict. The former Conservative prime minister said the inquiry was needed into the "new information" reported yesterday in The Independent from the secret report to the Butler inquiry by Carne Ross, a key negotiator for Britain at the UN.

"The more we learn about the beginning of the war, the more uncertain its rationale seems to be," Sir John said. He said there was "no doubt" that the new Democrat-dominated US Congress would hold an inquiry into the war. "I do think it is important in due course we do precisely the same," he added. "I would like an independent inquiry that would examine all the information dispassionately."

12.16.06 Manhunt targets five key suspects – Suffolk murders

December 16 – An intensive search and surveillance operation has been mounted on as few as five key suspects in the hunt for the Ipswich serial killer. Detectives are increasingly confident that they are closing in on the murderer, who has dumped the naked bodies of five women around the edge of the Suffolk town. One man in particular has come to the fore. A senior police source described him to The Times as "very interesting." Despite the progress, the investigation is likely to be a lengthy and painstaking one as police amass sufficient evidence – especially from closed circuit television footage – to make an arrest. The movements of some of the prime suspects are being monitored closely but the exact whereabouts of others is not known.

Operation Sumac, the code name for the inquiry into the murders of Anneli Alderton, 24, Gemma Adams, 25, Paula Clennell, 24, Tania Nicol, 19, and Annette Nicholls, 29, is moving fast and the list of suspects is being constantly whittled down as information is analyzed. They include known sex offenders from Suffolk and other areas, men who travel to Ipswich to pick up prostitutes and people associated with the drugs trade.

12.16.06 UN to register Palestinians' complaints over West Bank fence

December 16 – The United Nations General Assembly on Friday overwhelmingly approved plans for a UN registry to record and process claims of damages caused by Israel's construction of its West Bank barrier. Israel rejected the move, saying it had set up a mechanism to help those harmed by the structure, which it says is to keep out suicide bombers but which Palestinians see as a land grab to preempt talks on the borders of an eventual Palestinian state. The barrier, a mix of electronic fences and walls, has been under construction since 2002 and eventually will stretch more than 400 miles, curling around Israeli settlements as it cuts deep into Palestinian lands. [More>>]

12.16.06 Fatah-Hamas clashes break out following Abbas speech

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) December 16 – Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday announced new presidential and parliament elections to end an increasingly violent standoff with Hamas - a huge gamble that could strengthen the Islamic group, drive his people into civil war and further put off peace talks with Israel. Hamas accused Abbas of trying to topple its government in an illegal maneuver, vowed elections would not be held and urged its supporters to take to the streets in protest. "This is a real coup," said Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar, a Hamas hard-liner. Later Saturday, in Gaza, thousands of Hamas supporters marched in protest and 18 Palestinians were wounded in clashes between the two political camps. [More>>Jerusalem Post]

12.16.06 Maliki calls on Saddam officers to return to army

BAGHDAD (Reuters) December 16 – Iraqıs Shia prime minister called on Saturday for the return of all officers of Saddam Husseinıs disbanded army in a political overture to disaffected Sunni Arabs aimed at reducing sectarian violence. Nuri Al Maliki made the call at a national reconciliation conference of Shias, Sunni Arab and Kurdish politicians meant to halt communal bloodshed that has raised the spectre of civil war and was a major reason for US President George W. Bushıs decision to review his Iraq strategy.

A senior politician from the powerful Shia Alliance said representatives of some Sunni Arab insurgent groups were in attendance, but delegates said participantsı names would remain undisclosed. "The new Iraqi army is opening the door to former Iraqi army officers. Those who do not come back will be given pensions," Maliki said, in remarks in which he also told leaders to embrace reconciliation as a "safety net from death and destruction."

12.16.06 Gunmen kill Philippines congressman

MANILA, Philippines (Reuters) December 16 – Two men on a motorcycle shot dead a Philippines congressman and his bodyguard in their car in central Manila, police said today. Luis Bersamin, a political ally of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, was leaving a Roman Catholic church in Quezon City after attending a wedding when gunmen blocked his car and fired at him several times.

"He was killed on the spot," said a police investigator. "His bodyguard exchanged gunfire but was also killed." Bersamin's driver was wounded in the shootout, police said. "We're still trying to establish the motive for the killing and the identities of the gunmen," an investigator said. Soldiers and police officers have been on alert since yesterday because of a demonstration organized by Roman Catholic bishops in Manila's main public park tomorrow to express opposition to moves by Arroyo's allies in Congress to change the constitution.
[More>> ; See more details,, December 16, "Solon shot dead at church."]

12.16.06 Police break up discussion on Marxism

BANDUNG, Indonesia, December 17– A youth organization, with backing from the police, raided a bookstore in Bandung on Thursday night that was hosting a discussion on Marxism. About 20 members of a group calling itself the Anti-Communist Society (Permak) took part in the raid on Ultimus bookstore. They had the full support of the police, who arrested nine people in the store, including the person who organized the discussion, Sadikin, and a speaker at the event, Supratman Marhaen, who is also known as Haryanto Darmawan.

All nine are being held by the Bandung Police. They are accused of violating Article 107 of the Criminal Code, on spreading Marxism, Leninism and communism. If found guilty of the charge they could be sentenced to between five and 12 years in jail. Communism has been banned in Indonesia since the coup attempt on Sept. 30, 1965, which was blamed on the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). An attempt to lift the ban in 2003 by the People's Consultative Assembly met with strong opposition from the political establishment and was eventually dropped.

12.16.06 Women lose ground in the New Iraq

BAGHDAD, December 16 – Once they were encouraged to study and work; now life is 'just like being in jail.' Browsing the shelves of a cosmetics store in the Karrada shopping district, Zahra Khalid felt giddy at the sight of Alberto shampoo and Miss Rose eye shadow, blusher and powder. Before leaving her house, she had covered her body in a billowing black abaya and wrapped a black head scarf around her thick brown hair. She had asked her brother to drive. She had done all the things that a woman living in Baghdad is supposed to do these days to avoid drawing attention to herself. It was the first time she had left home in two months. "For a woman, it's just like being in jail," she said. "I can't go anywhere." [More.>]

12.16.06 Anti-Putin rally in Moscow

December 16 – About 2,500 Russians rallied in central Moscow to protest recent electoral law changes that the demonstrators said is enlarging the Kremlin's growing authoritarianism. The protesters were met by thousands of helmeted riot police, soldiers, attack dogs and a circling helicopter. Opposition leaders said the show of force revealed the Kremlin's fear of dissent. The demonstration, organized by several opposition groups who united under the banners of the Other Russia movement, was dubbed the "March of Those Who Disagree." The activists held banners reading "Russia without [president Vladimir] Putin" and other placards criticizing his government. A police helicopter made an almost continuous low circle over the crowd, drowning out chants of "We need a different Russia!" and "defend the constitution!" [More>> ; See also, December 16, "Security high at anti-Putin rally."]

12.15.06 No Middle East peace without Syria, Iran: Assad

ROME (Reuters) December 15 – The United States and Europe must talk to Syria and Iran if they want a comprehensive solution to Iraq and other Middle East conflicts, Syrian President Bashar Al Assad said in an interview published on Friday. Assad told Romeıs la Repubblica newspaper Damascus was ready to cooperate with Washington to resolve regional issues and challenged Israel to open up to Syria. He also said Europe had a ²complex² over the Jewish Holocaust.

"The fact is that we (Syrians) live in this region, we know it well," he said in the long interview, adding that Washington "needs our help" to formulate a plan for Iraq. Asked if he was ready to work constructively with Washington, he said: "Certainly we are ready to do so. Because if you donıt resolve regional questions – Iraq, Lebanon, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – it will be we bordering countries that will pay the highest price."

Syria had "excellent relations" with many factions in Iraq and could support a national conference on the future of the country, he said. Assad also said the United States and Europe "must talk to Teheran." A report released last week in Washington by a special panel recommended the United States engage Syria and Iran to bring about stability in Iraq.
[More>> ; See related story,, December 15, "Rice rejects overture to Iran and Syria" : Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday rejected a bipartisan panel's recommendation that the United States seek the help of Syria and Iran in Iraq, saying the "compensation" required by any deal might be too high. She argued that neither country should need incentives to foster stability in Iraq. "If they have an interest in a stable Iraq, they will do it anyway," Rice said in a wide-ranging interview with Washington Post reporters and editors. She said she did not want to trade away Lebanese sovereignty to Syria or allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon as a price for peace in Iraq...

12.15.06 Russia to re-equip its new mobile ICBMs with multiple warheads -1

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) December 15 – Russia's Strategic Missile Forces is set to start re-equipping its single-warhead mobile Topol-M (SS-27) intercontinental ballistic missile systems with multiple re-entry vehicles, its commander said Friday. Colonel-General Nikolai Solovtsov said: "We will begin to equip the Topol-M mobile missile system with multiple re-entry vehicles in a few years." Solovtsov said his forces conducted six ICBM launches in 2006, and 12 launches are scheduled for 2007. The latest firing was held in November to test the performance characteristics of the RS-18 (SS-19 Stiletto) to extend its service life by one year, from 29 to 30 years.

Following numerous test launches, RS-18 missiles are considered to be highly reliable. About 360 silo-based Stiletto missiles are currently deployed in the Russian Strategic Missile Forces, with each missile carrying six warheads...The first regiment of Topol-M mobile ICBMs was put on active duty in the Ivanovo region in Central Russia in early December...As of January 1, Russia possessed 927 nuclear delivery vehicles and 4,279 nuclear warheads for strategic offensive weapons, while the United States owns 1,255 and 5,966, respectively, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.
[Full story>>; See facts on Topol-M: " range of 11,000 kilometers (6,900 miles)"]


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


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Launched: 10.25.04 / 11.02.04
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