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9.07.08 US seizes Fannie and Freddie
NEW YORK, September 7 - Federal officials unveiled an extraordinary takeover on Sunday of troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, signaling the most dramatic move to date aimed at shoring up the nation's housing market. The plan, which was delivered by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and James Lockhart, director of the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise, places the twin mortgage buyers into "conservatorship" to be overseen by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Under conservatorship, the government would temporarily run Fannie and Freddie until they are on stronger footing. [More>>cnn.com]
9.07.08 Twin suicide blasts rock Afghan police building
KANDAHAR, September 7 - Two Taliban suicide bombers blew themselves up at Kandahar police headquarters in southern Afghanistan Sunday, leaving at least two people dead and dozens wounded, officials said. The blasts were a minute apart and could be heard across the city, a one-time stronghold of the extremist movement which immediately claimed responsibility. Authorities scrambled to assess the damage with initial accounts saying eight people were dead. Police and a government spokesman later said two policemen were killed and nearly 40 people were wounded. "I've lost two police and eight other of my policemen have been wounded," General Abdul Raziq, police chief for the southern border with Pakistan, told a foreign news agency. [More>>thenews.com.pk]
9.06.08 Update, 9.05.08 'Pakistan preparing for war with India: Obama
WASHINGTON (Agencies) September 5 - In a startling disclosure, US Presidential candidate Barrack Obama said that Pakistan is using US aid to prepare itself for war with India. "We need to increase pressure on Pakistan," Obama said. [>indianexpress.com; See sources of this story:
"So they’re using the military aid... Pakistan... They’re preparing for a war against India. What we say is, look, we’re going to provide them with additional military support, targeted at terrorists, and we’re going to help build their democracy....We've wasted 10 billion dollars with Musharraf without holding them accountable for knocking out those safe havens." ...
Editorial note: This story, in essence of the US funding a Pakistani attack against India, needs to be checked out a bit more. Where did Obama get his information? Was it classified? If American officials were aware that the billions given to Pakistan to fight terrorism were used to fund a military buildup or attack against India, it surely would be of considerable concern to India and provoke questions on the unruly state of US diplomacy.
9.06.08 Married at 9, slain by parents at 17
ISLAMABAD, September 6 - Despair among human rights workers in Pakistan over a rash of so-called "honour killings" intensified yesterday when it was disclosed that a girl forced into marriage with a 45-year-old man at the age of nine had been killed by her parents because she asked for an annulment. The girl, 17, who had been fighting a lonely but successful legal battle, was coming out of court in the Punjabi city of Sahiwal after being granted the annulment by a judge when she was surrounded by a group of men and shot in view of police.
The death of Saira Nusrat Bibi has added further to concerns among human rights campaigners already outraged over the case of five women — among them three teenage schoolgirls — buried alive in the province of Baluchistan because they wanted to marry men of their choice in defiance of the wishes of tribal leaders. The Baluchistan case was worsened by an attempt by a member of the country's national parliament, senator Israr Ullah Zehri, to defend it, telling colleagues that "these are centuries-old traditions and I will continue to defend them," The Weekend Australian reports. Members of the religious Jamaat-e-Islami party rounded on Senator Zehi, declaring: "We condemn this barbaric act. This is against Islam, against humanity and against civilised culture." [More>>news.com.au]
Editorial note: The conflict Islam has with the "civilized world" is complex, from bans on birthday parties, women protesting for equal rights, to the justification of rape and murder, such as the trial in India of a girl who was forced to marry her uncle and divorce her husband after her uncle raped her. See also Maravot News Editorial note, September 5, "An interesting review of the Wahhabi sect."
9.06.08 Asif Ali Zardari elected new President of Pakistan
ISLAMABAD, September 6 - Pakistan People's Party Cochairman, Asif Ali Zardari was elected as the next President of Pakistan after securing majority of votes in the presidential elections held here on Saturday. Asif Ali Zardari is Pakistan's 11th President since 1956, when the country became a republic, excluding acting presidents. According to the unofficial result out of 702 Asif Ali Zardari secured 479 votes, of which he got 281 from Parliament, 22 from Punjab, 6 from Sindh, 59 from Balochistan and 56 from NWFP.
9.06.08 Suicide blast, other attacks kill 17 in Afghanistan
KABUL, September 6 - At least 17 people were killed in a suicide attack and other incidents of violence on Saturday. A disguised bomber gunned down a security guard and then detonated explosives at the government offices, with two state prosecutors also among his victims, Nimroz provincial governor Ghulam Dastgir Azad said. The blast brought down the single-storey building in the town of Zaranj on the southwestern border with Iran, the governor said. "We have recovered so far six bodies," he said. The dead were provincial attorney Anwar Shah Khan, his 20-year-old son, his deputy and three civilians, Azad said. "The whole building has collapsed. There might be more casualties," he added.
9.06.08 Bomber strikes Peshawar checkpoint
September 6 - At least 17 people have died and 40 were wounded after a car bomb went off next to a police checkpoint in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar, officials said. The toll is expected to rise as a building nearby collapsed as a result of the blast on Saturday. A senior police official said: "A vehicle laden with explosives went off near the police post which has been totally destroyed."
Al Jazeera's correspondent in Islamabad, Kamal Hyder, said the 4x4 had targeted the post and a spokesperson for Tehrik-e-Taliban, a Pakistani fighter group, claimed responsibility for the attack. The group says it has carried out several similar attacks in the past, among them the recent double explosion at a weapons plant. [More>>aljazeera.net]
9.06.08 Six killed in Iraq bomb
(AP) September 6 - Ex-Iraqi deputy prime minister and former Pentagon favorite, Ahmad Chalabi, escaped a suicide car bomb attack on his convoy in Baghdad, an official in his office said today. Mr. Chalabi was not wounded, but the explosion last night in the western Baghdad neighbourhood of Mansour killed six of his bodyguards, said the official, Ayad Kadhim Sabti. Police said more than a dozen other people were wounded in the blast. Mr. Chalabi, a secular Shiite who was once viewed by Washington as a possible successor to Saddam Hussein, was on his way to his headquarters in the area when the bomb exploded, his office said. [More>>independent.co.uk]
9.06.08 Pakistan blocks fuel to US forces
September 6 - Pakistan has reportedly blocked a major fuel supply route for Western forces in Afghanistan in response to a raid by US forces in northwest Pakistan earlier this week, the defence minister said. US forces attacked suspected fighter groups inside Pakistani territory on Wednesday, killing 20 people including women and children, Pakistani officials said, drawing a furious response from the Pakistani government. Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, Pakistan's defence minister, said on Saturday: "We have told them that we will take action and we have already taken action today. [More>>aljazeera.net]
9.06.08 Gaddafi meets Rice on historic Tripoli visit
TRIPOLI, September 6 - US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi on a landmark visit to Tripoli Friday, heralding a new chapter in Washington's reconciliation with the former enemy state. Gaddafi welcomed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to his compound with incense and a genteel bow. The compound in the Libyan capital of Tripoli is the same one that the United States bombed in 1986 in retaliation for what president Reagan claimed was Libya's involvement in a terror bombing that killed two US servicemen. Rice described her brief visit — the first to the oil-rich north African country by a US secretary of state in more than half a century — as "historic" and a sign the United States does not have permanent foes. [More>>alarabiya.net]
9.06.08 Wild monkey continues to elude Tokyo police
TOKYO, September 6 - Japan's most-wanted fugitive has been eluding police for nearly a month. He slips urban dragnets. He runs through crowded train stations, shocking commuters. He even urinates in public. That may not be too surprising — since the culprit is a wild monkey. The cheeky, red-faced primate has been giving Tokyo authorities a headache since it showed up on city streets a few weeks ago, repeatedly eluding capture by net-wielding police. "This monkey is driving us crazy," said Tadayoshi Toyama, police official in the Tokyo neighborhood of Kanda, where the monkey was seen last weekend. "It's so agile, and we only have dignets."...The monkey has not hurt anyone so far, and Tokyoites have been delighted rather than alarmed by its appearances. At Shibuya, scores of commuters and high-schoolers snapped photos of the animal with their cell-phones. But for the police, chasing the monkey has been time-consuming work. [Full story>>japantoday.com]
9.05.08 'Change is coming,' McCain says
St. PAUL, Minnesota, September 4 - Accepting GOP Nomination, Veteran Senator Calls For Putting Country's Interests Before Party Loyalty. Sen. John McCain of Arizona completed a long and often improbable journey to the Republican presidential nomination Thursday night, offering himself as an "imperfect servant" who will never surrender in his fight to change Washington and the country.
In a speech to the Republican National Convention that was interrupted by boisterous applause and occasional protests, McCain said his record demonstrates a dedication to remaking Washington and an instinct for putting the people's interests over party loyalty. McCain has spent nearly 26 years in Congress and, at 72, would be the oldest president elected to a first term, but he presented himself as an agent of revival for a political system in disarray. "Let me offer an advance warning to the old, big-spending, do-nothing, me-first, country-second Washington crowd," he said in his speech. "Change is coming."
9.05.08 Ahmadinejad threatens West with sanctions
TEHRAN (RIA Novosti) September 5 - Iran could impose unilateral sanctions against Western powers in response to measures to punish Tehran over its nuclear program, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said. "Any sanctions against our country are illegal," he said in an interview with Japanese broadcaster NHK, carried by Iranian national media. "We have not so far demonstrated a tough response to sanctions...the Iranian nation might respond, and Iran might impose sanctions against those states," Ahmadinejad said, without elaborating.
Iran, which holds the world's third-largest proven oil reserves, is already under three sets of UN sanctions over suspicions it seeks to build nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian program. It is facing more stringent punitive measures for its refusal to halt uranium enrichment. Tehran has repeatedly denied allegations it is seeking a nuclear bomb and insists on its right to civilian nuclear research. [More>>en.rian.ru]
9.05.08 UNCTAD report warns of gloomy outlook for world economy
GENEVA, September 4 - Instability in international financial, currency and commodity prices are contributing to a gloomy outlook for the world economy, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) warned in a report on Thursday. The ongoing global financial crisis and the possibility of tighter monetary policies in some major developed countries presage major difficulties for the world economy for the remainder of 2008 and in 2009, warned the annual trade and development report.
9.05.08 Pakistan officials report missile strike
(AP) September 5 - An explosion possibly caused by a missile strike killed five suspected foreign militants near the Afghan border on Friday, Pakistani officials said. The blast occurred in a village in the North Waziristan region, part of Pakistan's wild tribal belt that serves as a base for Taliban militants and fugitive al-Qaeda leaders. US commanders who blame those sanctuaries for rising violence in neighboring Afghanistan appear to be stepping up their efforts to hit militants inside Pakistan. Two intelligence officials, citing local informers, told The Associated Press that drone aircraft were seen above the village of Gurwak before Friday's blast and that they believed the aircraft had fired missiles.
9.05.08 Afghan anti-drugs chief judge murdered
KABUL (Reuters) September 5 - The head of Afghanistan's anti-drug court was shot at on his way to work and died later in hospital, his office said. Judge Alim Hanif, director and chief judge of the Central Narcotics Tribunal appeals court, was leading a campaign to bring influential drug traffickers to court and punishing them for their crimes. The Criminal Justice Task Force, which announced the judge's death on Thursday, did not give any details of the attack.
9.05.08 Egyptian ship hijacked near Somalia
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) September 5 - Pirates off Somalia's coast hijacked an Egyptian cargo ship with 25 crew members, the 10th vessel to be seized in the region in less than two months, a global maritime watchdog said Friday. Noel Choong, head of the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting center in Kuala Lumpur, said the Egyptian ship was seized late Wednesday in the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden. The attack occurred on the same day that a French sailboat was seized in the area, he said. No other information was immediately available.
The French foreign ministry said it believed there were two French nationals aboard the sailboat. Choong said the distress signal report to the bureau showed there was a third non-French crew member on the boat. The information could not be confirmed. "The number of ships hijacked has risen dramatically. This is the 10th ship to be seized since July 20," Choong said, urging the United Nations and the international community to "take immediate action before it gets out of control." Somalia is the world's piracy hotspot. The latest incidents bring the number of attacks on ships off its coast to 41 this year, most of which occurred in the Gulf of Aden, Choong added. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]
9.05.08 Saudi cleric says celebrating birthdays un-Islamic
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, September 5 - When Hala al-Masaad invited her girlfriends over to celebrate her 18th birthday with cake and juice, the high school student was stepping into an unusual public debate. Is celebrating birthdays un-Islamic? Saudi Arabia's most senior Muslim cleric recently denounced birthday parties as an unwanted foreign influence, but another prominent cleric declared they were OK. That has left al-Masaad with mixed feelings about her low-key celebration last month. She loves birthday parties, she says, because they make her feel that she has “moved from one stage of life to another.”
Although the Koran itself advocates murdering unbelievers (kafirs) the teachings of the Wahhabi sect put a more distinct focus on this view of God and the restoration of the Caliphate. This is the teaching behind al-Qaeda's and other Sunni suicide attacks. About 80% of the mosques built in the US are of the Wahhabi sect and financed by the Saudis:
The oil money we have been sending to the Saudis has been financing Wahhabi institutions in our midst that teach the destruction of Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. Today another broadcast from al-Qaeda called for more attacks on the West. Al-Qaeda has not just been reaching out to radicals who subscribe to their beliefs but also to the children in the Wahhabi mosques that already believe in the teachings that justify the murder of infidels. The latest al-Qaeda broadcast is carried by Reuters, found in many newspapers including:
I don't know to what extent the "Wahhabi" teachings in American mosques endorse the overthrow of American culture and values, or the destruction of its people. I was, myself, not aware of the extent of the teachings until receipt of an email article from Kamal Nawash of the "Free Muslims Coalition against Terrorism" May 23, 2006. I published a portion of his article in Maravot News 9.14.06 relating to an article 9.09.06 "Saudi Arabia's religious police ban sale of pet cats and dogs." The Wahhabi religious police are not just involved in banning pets or holidays, for they follow teachings that advocate banning people and cultures that don't follow their distorted view of God, and these views may be in the textbooks down your street. It is also perhaps worth noting that just as in the US the Ivy League schools are preferred institutions for Western teachings, the mosques and madrassas in Pakistan have been the preferred institutions where Islamists go to hone their knowledge. The call to jihad has been from Pakistan.
9.04.08 Palin comes out fighting
ST. PAUL, Minnesota, September 3 - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin electrified the Republican convention Wednesday night, pitching herself as a champion of government reform, mocking Democratic candidate Barack Obama as an elitist and belittling media criticism of her experience. In a speech that served as her introduction to most of the nation after Sen. John McCain's surprise decision to pick her as his vice presidential running mate, Palin pitched herself as the product of small-town America and laced her address with sarcastic digs at Sen. Obama. She said it is his experience, not hers, that is lacking, and she embraced the role of leading the attack against the Democratic ticket.
"I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a 'community organizer,' except that you have actual responsibilities," she deadpanned. "I might add that in small towns, we don't quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they are listening, and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren't listening."
Palin, who would be the first woman elected to the vice presidency, said she will ignore the "Washington elite" who do not consider her qualified for the post, and she served notice that she will not wilt in the face of critical coverage that followed McCain's announcement...Palin focused on almost every tactical misstep Obama's campaign has made, painting a caricature of the Democrat as an out-of-touch elitist and a lightweight celebrity with no sense of what matters to average Americans...
She leaned heavily on her own biography, introducing her husband, Todd, as a commercial fisherman, a union member, a world-champion snowmobile racer and an Eskimo. She described herself as a mom-turned-politician with the "same challenges and the same joys" as other families. She also offered at least one apparent ad-lib: "The difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull?" she asked. "Lipstick." [Full story>>washingtonpost.com; See also:
9.04.08 Sarkozy: 'Attack on Iran could be catastrophic'
September 4 - The Iranian nuclear program is a dangerous gamble which may lead to a "catastrophic" Israeli military strike, French President Nicholas Sarkozy warned on Thursday. "Iran is taking a very big chance when it continues with the process of attaining nuclear weapons — and on that we are certain," Sarkozy said during a press conference in Damascus. "We may wake up to the day when Israel — regardless of who is in charge — attacks."
"The question here is not whether an attack of this sort is legitimate or worthwhile," he continued. "The question is what will be done in that instance." "It would be a catastrophe and we must prevent it," Sarkozy concluded. [More>>jpost.com; See also
9.04.08 Women teachers petition Saudi king for equality
DAMMAM, Saudi Arabia, September 4 - A group of Saudi teachers said they will present a petition to King Abdullah to demand the Ministry of Education give them employment equality, from job opportunities to wages. Sarah Mohamed, cofounder of the Human Justice Campaign for Lifting Oppression against Female Teachers, said the campaign had collected more than 1000 signatures in a petition for functional equality.
9.04.08 Polygamy bill provokes controversy in Iran
TEHRAN (AP) September 4 - A bill that would allow men in Iran to take additional wives without the consent of their first wife has generated so much controversy that parliament had to postpone a vote for more debate. Polygamy is not practiced in mainstream Iranian society, but the government of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has pursued amendments to a landmark women's rights bill to allow multiple marriages, as it seeks to enshrine elements of Islamic law into the country's legal system.
The Family Protection Bill was drawn up by the judiciary with the intention of allowing women to serve as judges for the first time since the 1979 Islamic revolution. As initially drawn up, it would also impose prison sentences for men who marry girls before they have reached legal age. But the government's push to add articles allowing multiple marriages raised so much ire from women's rights groups and the judiciary that a vote in parliament had to be postponed Tuesday. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]
9.04.08 Afghan leader vows punishment for deadly US raid
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) September 4 - The Afghan president said a deadly raid on a village by American and Afghan commandos has put new strain on relations with the United States and promised Thursday to punish those responsible. US officials have said that at least 30 militants, including a Taliban commander, and no more than seven civilians were killed during the Aug. 22 raid. Afghan officials, backed by the United Nations mission, insist that more than 90 civilians died, including dozens of children. President Hamid Karzai's comment come a day after he spoke to President Bush about the raid and how to prevent civilian casualties, his office said. [More>>indianexpress.com: hosted.ap.org]
9.04.08 Paris Match Taliban photoshoot shocks France
September 4 - Politicians of the right and left blasted the magazine Paris Match today for publishing a photograph of a Taliban guerrilla dressed in the combat uniform of one of the ten French soldiers killed in Afghanistan last month. The defence minister, Hervé Morin, accused the magazine of taking part in a Taliban "propaganda" exercise. The Green politician, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, a leader of the French student revolt 40 years ago, said that Match was guilty of "abject voyeurism."
The photograph was taken by a Paris Match photographer a few miles from the scene of the ambush in which ten French paratroopers were killed 30 miles from Kabul on 18 August. It showed Taliban fighters, who claimed to be part of the force which attacked the French troops. One of them was entirely dressed above the waist in French uniform, helmet, goggles and bullet-proof vest.
Further pictures in the magazine's ten-page spread showed Farouki, the "leader" of the Taliban force amid seven young men holding assault rifles and other “trophies” taken from the bodies of the French soldiers. Anger and revulsion in France at the pictures was deepened when the newspaper Le Monde reported this afternoon that Taliban fighters had cut the throats of four of the French soldiers as they lay wounded on the ground.
The French military has insisted until now that the dead men died instantly. Le Monde, quoting the report of an official investigation and other military sources, said that three paratroopers had died from their wounds because other French, and other NATO, forces were slow in reaching the battle scene. Four other wounded men had their throats slit by Taliban fighters. [More>>independent.co.uk; See also lemonde.fr, September 4, (video) "Afghanistan, le choc des photos."]
9.04.08 Asian markets fall amid global economic jitters
HONG KONG (AP) September 4 - Asian markets faltered Thursday as investors dumped shares in shipping and technology companies amid ongoing worries about a global economic slump. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index shed 1.04 percent to 12,557.66 — its lowest close since March 24. Taiwan's market led the region's declines as the main index fell 2.6 percent following lower-than-expected second-quarter results from major tech companies earlier this week. Hong Kong's benchmark slid to its lowest close in more than a year. Also lower were stock measures in Singapore, India and Australia. China and South Korea's benchmarks ended flat. [More>>thejakartapost.com; See related stories:
9.04.08 Chinese vets cure elephant of drug addiction
BEIJING (RIA Novosti) September 4 - Chinese vets have put an Asian elephant who was fed with drugged bananas by animal smugglers through a detox program to cure the animal of his addiction, the Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday. The four-year-old elephant, known as Big Brother, was illegally captured in 2005 in southwest China by the smugglers, who fed him with bananas laced with heroin to keep him under control. Several months later police arrested the smugglers and freed the elephant, but after monitoring Big Brother noticed repeated signs of distress.
Medics confirmed that the elephant was suffering from drug withdrawal symptoms, and sent it for a three-year detox program in a wild animal protection center in the Hainan province. The elephant received methadone injections at five times the maximum human dosage. After a year of treatment, the dose was gradually reduced, and the animal recovered from his addiction, the agency said. The elephant is expected to arrive at a wildlife park in Kunming, the capital of southwest China's Yunnan province, on Saturday along with three other elephants that had been held by the smugglers. [>en.rian.ru]
9.03.08 Sarkozy in Damascus: French president treads in Bush absence
September 3 - French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrives in Damascus Wednesday on a long-awaited visit as Paris tries to fill the diplomatic vacuum created by Washington's policy of exclusion. The two-day trip, which was announced after Syrian President Bashar Assad attended France's national day ceremonies last July represents yet another step in the ongoing reconciliation process between Paris and Damascus. The two nations have historically been close, if only because France ruled over Lebanon and Syria in the aftermath of the break-up of the Ottoman Empire and until the end of World War II. More recently, Sarkozy's predecessor, President Jacques Chirac, visited Damascus twice during his presidency, in 1994 and 2002. But that was before relations between the two countries began to sour with the United Nations Security Council passing Resolution 1559 calling for the end of Syria's occupation of Lebanon in October 2004...
...Reports have indicated that Sarkozy will be joined on Thursday by Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Thani to discuss regional developments reaching as far as Israeli-Palestinian relations. Yet, despite his willingness to bring his numerous political counterparts together, Sarkozy's leadership remains embryonic at best. As Barah Mikaïl, a research fellow at the Paris-based Institute for International and Strategic Relations, put it to the Middle East Times, "France was not surpassed by Turkey or by any other actor; instead, it has some capacity for action, but this capacity remains relatively indecisive in the face of regional as well as international power structures. [Full story>>metimes.com]
9.03.08 Ukraine government teeters amid President Yushchenko 'coup' claim
September 3 - The shock waves from the war in Georgia sparked a new crisis in Ukraine today as the pro-Western Orange coalition fell apart in acrimony. President Viktor Yushchenko accused his former ally, Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko, of forging a pro-Russian alliance to curtail his powers. He claimed that a "coup" was under way, just a day before Dick Cheney, the US Vice-President, is due to visit the Ukrainian capital Kiev.
Mrs. Tymoshenko fired back that the President had destroyed the pro-Western Government after deputies from Mr. Yushchenko's party quit her ruling coalition. Mr. Yushchenko threatened to call a snap election unless a new coalition was formed within 30 days. The crisis erupted after parliament passed new laws restricting the powers of the President and making it easier to impeach him. The Tymoshenko Bloc voted with the Party of Regions, the pro-Moscow opposition led by the former Prime Minister, Viktor Yanokovych, to pass the legislation.
Members of the President's Our Ukraine party then withdrew from Mrs. Tymoshenko's coalition Government, which formed after elections that ended a similar political crisis 12 months ago. In an address on national television, Mr. Yushchenko declared: "A political and constitutional coup d'état has started in the parliament." He appeared to accuse Moscow of interfering in Ukraine's politics, saying: "The Tymoshenko Bloc has accepted union with the Regions Party and the Communists. The basis of this formation is not Ukrainian, I underline not Ukrainian." [More>>timesonline.co.uk]
9.03.08 Pakistan PM escapes assassination attempt
ISLAMABAD (AFP) September 3 - Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani escaped an apparent assassination attempt when two shots hit his motorcade on Wednesday, just three days before the country's presidential election. Officials said Gilani was not in the car at the time, but the brazen daytime attack underscored the political turmoil and violence that have been shadowing the world's only nuclear-armed Islamic nation.
Gilani's spokesman initially said he was in the vehicle but later declined to confirm that, amid the confusion surrounding the shooting in Rawalpindi, the garrison town home to Pakistan military headquarters. "Two bullets hit the window glass of the bulletproof car," the spokesman, Zahid Bashir, told AFP. "By the grace of Allah, the prime minister is safe." [More>>khaleejtimes.com; See also:
9.03.08 US ambassador summoned over Angoor Adda incident
ISLAMABAD, September 3 - Pakistan on Wednesday lodged strong protest over the incident of Angoor Adda which claimed 20 innocent lives. After the incident, Pakistan's Foreign Ministry summoned the United States ambassador Anne W. Patterson and vehemently condemned the attack of Coalition forces on a village near Angoor Adda inside Pakistan and termed it a gross violation of Pakistan's territory.
9.03.08 Rival Cyprus leaders begin talks
September 3 - Cyprus leaders launched talks today seen as the best chance in decades to reunite their divided island and end a conflict threatening Turkey's EU membership hopes. Cypriot President Demetris Christofias, representing the Greek Cypriot community, and Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat, who met in the no man's land dividing their capital Nicosia, represent what diplomats and analysts say is the first opportunity for a breakthrough in years. "We must, at long last, put an end to the suffering of our people and reunite our country," Christofias told reporters as he headed for the meeting.
The partitioned status of Cyprus is a headache for the EU. Effectively represented in the bloc by its Greek Cypriots, the island has veto rights over the membership bid of Turkey, a key western ally in the Middle East. Analysts agree this is the best chance for a solution not least because the two leaders come from leftist parties and, unlike previous negotiators, have little to do with the roots of the island's violent conflict. [More>>independent.co.uk]
9.03.08 Anti-radical Islam reporter killed in south Russia
(Reuters) September 3 - Gunmen in the Russian republic of Dagestan killed a television journalist who promoted an officially approved form of Islam, police said today. Abulla Alishayev was the second journalist to die in three days in Russia's north Caucasus, a region scarred by fighting between federal forces and Muslim rebels. Unknown assailants shot Alishayev — an editor at an Islamic television station who made a documentary countering the radical Wahabist form of Islam — as he drove through Dagestan's capital last night. He died today.
Analysts say predominantly Muslim Dagestan is fertile ground for radical Islam to attract disenfranchised young men, a trend they say could spread further through Russia's north Caucasus. "Alishayev received wounds to the shoulder and head. He was operated on, but his life could not be saved," Dagestani police said. Dagestan, with a population of about 2.5 million, lies between the Caspian Sea and Chechnya. It is one of the most heavily populated and poorest republics in Russia. Unemployment is widespread and power cute this winter paralysed the capital Makhachkala. [More>>independent.co.uk]
9.03.08 Wall dating to Second Temple unearthed
September 3 - Remains of the southern wall of Jerusalem that was built by the Hasmonean Kings during the Second Temple period have been uncovered on Mount Zion, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Wednesday. The 2,100-year-old wall, which was destroyed during the Great Revolt against the Romans that began in 66 CE, is located on Mount Zion just outside the present-day walls of the Old City of Jerusalem and abuts a Catholic cemetery which was built in the last century and where the Righteous Gentile Oskar Schindler is buried.
The sturdy wall, which is believed to have run 6 km around the Old City, was previously exposed by an American archeologist at the end of the 19th century, the state run archeological body said. The Israeli archeologist who carried out the year and half long ongoing excavation also uncovered the remains of a city wall from the Byzantine Period (324-640 CE) which was built on top of the Second Temple wall hundreds of years later at a time when ancient Jerusalem reached its largest size after its southward expansion. [More>>jpost.com]
9.03.08 Arctic melting shows global warming serious
OTTAWA, Canada (Reuters) September 3 - The incredibly rapid rate at which Canada's Arctic ice shelves are disappearing is an early indicator of the "very substantial changes" that global warming will impose on all mankind, a top scientist said on Wednesday. Researchers announced late on Tuesday that the five ice shelves along Ellesmere Island in the Far North, which are more than 4,000 years old, had shrunk by 23 percent this summer alone. The largest shelf is disintegrating and one of the smaller shelves, 55 square km, broke away entirely last month.
"Climate models indicate that the greatest changes, the most severe changes, will happen earliest in the highest northern latitudes," said Warwick Vincent, director of the Centre for Northern Studies at Laval University in Quebec. "This will be the starting point for more substantial changes throughout the rest of the planet.... Our indicators are showing us exactly what the climate models predict," he told Reuters in an interview. Global warming is forecast to generate more damaging weather extremes such as hurricanes, cyclones and floods. Vincent, who has visited the ice shelves along Ellesmere Island every year for the past 10 years, said the impact of higher temperatures this year was "staggering." [More>>thestar.com.my]
9.03.08 Review: Google's Chrome needs more polish
NEW YORK (AP) September 3 - (By Peter Svensson) Google Inc.'s new Web browser, called Chrome, does much of what a browser needs to do these days: It presents a sleek appearance, groups pages into easy-to-manage "tabs" and offers several ways for people to control their Internet privacy settings.
Yet my initial tests reveal that this "beta," or preliminary release, falls short of Google's goals, and is outdone in an important measure by the latest version of Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer. Chrome is a challenge to Microsoft's browser, used by about three-quarters of Web surfers. But it could equally be called a challenge to Microsoft's Office software suite, because what Google really wants to do is to make the browser a stable and flexible platform that can do practically everything we want to do with a computer, from word processing and e-mail to photo editing.
9.02.08 Ice clouds in Martian arctic
September 2 - Clouds scoot across the Martian sky in a movie clip consisting of 10 frames taken by the Surface Stereo Imager on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander. This clip accelerates the motion. The camera took these 10 frames over a 10-minute period from 2:52 p.m. to 3:02 p.m. local solar time at the Phoenix site during Sol 94 (Aug. 29), the 94th Martian day since landing. Particles of water-ice make up these clouds, like ice-crystal cirrus clouds on Earth. Ice hazes have been common at the Phoenix site in recent days.
9.02.08 Pakistan army 'just miss' Zawahiri
September 2 - Pakistan's security forces have missed the opportunity to capture al-Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, a senior government official has said. Rehman Malik, the adviser to Pakistan's prime minister on security affairs, said on Monday they also received a report al-Zawahiri's wife had been in the tribal region of Mohmand. Pakistani forces stormed the location but did not find the couple, he said, without indicating when the raid took place.
9.02.08 Israel foils Hezbollan kidnap plots: reports
JERUSALEM (AFP) September 2 -
9.02.08 Britain is set to fall into recession this year
September 2 -The UK economy will fall into recession during the second half of this year, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Britain is expected to perform the worst of the world's richest nations, with its economy predicted to shrink by 0.3 per cent in the third quarter and by 0.4 per cent in the final three months of the year. The definition of a recession is two successive quarters of negative growth, according to the Paris-based economic organization. According to official UK data released last month, the economy came to a standstill during the second quarter of 2008. The longest period of uninterrupted economic growth in British history has ended, leaving the country on the brink of recession. [More>>timesonline.co.uk]
9.02.08 Cancer, diabetes leave fingerprints in blood, serum
HONG KONG, (Reuters) September 2 - Diseases such as cancer and diabetes leave "fingerprints" in the serum and blood plasma of patients and these may provide a valuable and non-invasive diagnostic tool in time to come, according to a Chinese study. In an article published in the latest issue of Cell Research, the Chinese researchers described how they found such altered molecular biomarkers, called microRNAs, to be stable in the serum and blood of people who were ill.
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