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World News

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by PowderLove, Aug 7, 2007.

  1. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Clan elder shot dead in Somalia
    A leading clan elder in Somalia has been shot dead, dealing a new blow to efforts to bring peace to the country.

    Maalim Harun Maalim Yusuf was shot twice in the head by three armed men outside his home in the Somali capital of Mogadishu on Saturday evening.
    The 63-year-old played a key role in a government sponsored clan reconciliation meeting in July.
    Skirmishes between government troops and insurgents have claimed hundreds of lives in recent months.
    Tribal elders are normally too revered to be considered targets.
    Mortar attacks
    Haji Abdi Iman, a senior representative to the conference from the Hawiye clan, told news agency AFP: "I don't care who committed this heinous crime but I can say this is a black day for the supporters of peace because he a dedicated negotiator despite his old age."
    Following the shooting, fighting broke out in the Horuwa district of the capital as insurgents fired mortars at police.
    Last December, the interim government, backed by Ethiopia, ousted the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), an Islamist group that had taken control of much of southern Somalia.
    Since that alliance regained control of Mogadishu in April, insurgents have mounted regular attacks against government targets. Mr Yusuf was from the same sub-clan as Somalia's interim Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Ghedi.
  2. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Uganda rejects a gay rights call
    Uganda will not give equal rights to gays and lesbians nor has it plans to legalise homosexuality, Ethics Minister James Nsaba Buturo has said.

    He was responding to a call from the Sexual Minorities Groups in Uganda (Smug) which for the first time held a press conference demanding recognition.
    They also accused the police of brutality and harassment.
    The gay community is estimated by activists to number 500,000 in Uganda where they face much discrimination.
    The BBC's Joshua Mmali in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, said many of those present at the press conference on Thursday wore masks, fearing to show their faces.

    <TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD width=5></TD><TD class=fact><!--Smva-->We have had enough of the abuse, neglect and violence
    <!--Emva--><!--Smva-->Smug leader Victor Juliet Mukasa <!--Emva--><!--So-->

    Smug leader Victor Juliet Mukasa said she had been a victim of inhuman treatment.
    She said police raided her home in 2005, took away documents and arrested her guest, whom they later forced to strip naked.
    "We were treated in a degrading and inhumane way. Many of us have suffered similar injustice," she told journalists.
    "We are here today to proclaim that these human rights violations are completely unacceptable. We have had enough of the abuse, neglect and violence."
    But Mr Buturo told the BBC News website that homosexuality was "unnatural" and denied claims of police brutality and rights abuses.
    "If they were being harassed, they would be in jail. We know them, we have details of who they are," he said.
    At the press conference, gay activist Dr Paul Ssemugoma called for education on same sex-relationships to reduce the incidence of HIV and other sexually-transmitted diseases among the gay community.
    Uganda has won praise for its vigorous campaign against HIV/Aids.
    It has helped to reduce the prevalence of the virus - which reached 30% in the 1990s - to single-digit figures.
    Activists also hit out at the church, accusing the clergy of demonising them.
    A Kenyan gay man, who had travelled to Kampala to show solidarity with his Ugandan counterparts, said homosexuals in East Africa are forced to live double lives. "These people are subjected into being in forced marriages to cover up, yet they suffer inside," he said.
  3. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Missing DR Congo gorillas 'dead'
    <!--Smvb--><TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=bottom><!--Smvb-->By Mark Kinver
    Science and nature reporter, BBC News <!--Emvb--></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

    A female gorilla and its infant that were part of a 12-strong group attacked by gunmen last month are dead, say conservationists in the DR Congo.

    Rangers patrolling the area of the Virunga National Park where four of the great apes were killed discovered the remains of the female, called Macibiri.
    Conservation group WildlifeDirect said it would continue searching the area to locate the body of the infant, Ntaribi.
    The latest casualties brings this year's gorilla death toll to nine.
    Earlier this year, two silverback male gorillas were shot dead in the same area of the park in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, while a female was killed in May.
    A census carried out in 2004 estimated that 380 mountain gorillas, more than half of the world's population, lived in the national park and surrounding Virunga volcanoes region.
    Missing infant
    The pair had been missing since the attack in July, which resulted in four members of the group, known to researchers as the Rugendo family, being shot dead.

    At the time, conservationists in the area described the killings as "executions" because the bodies were left at the scene, whereas poachers would have sold the carcasses as either food or trophies.
    Breaking the news on his Gorilla Protection blog on Thursday evening, WildlifeDirect's Paulin Ngobobo wrote: "Macibiri, the female adult who went missing the day of the attack, is dead.
    "Just 20 minutes ago, the guards came back from their patrol with her remains.
    "Her infant, Ntaribi - born 26 January of last year, has not been found. But now that the mother has been found, we are sure that the infant is dead too."
    Robert Muir, project manager for the Frankfurt Zoological Society, said the news confirmed his worst fears.
    "Seeing the bones being brought back today is equivalent to seeing the dead gorilla; it is a massive tragedy for everyone," he told BBC News.

    <TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD width=5></TD><TD class=fact><!--So--><!--Eo--><!--Smva-->We have never seen a family of mountain gorillas torn apart in this way
    <!--Emva--><!--Smva-->Robert Muir,
    Frankfurt Zoological Society <!--Emva--><!--So-->

    "We had indeed hoped to find them alive; it is very sad that we have not."
    The body of the 18-month-old infant has not been located, but Mr Muir said no-one held out any hope of finding it alive.
    "It is just the case of finding the bones, or what is left of the baby's body, and bringing it back to the station for burial with the others.
    "There is no way it would have survived without its mother."
    As for the welfare of the remaining six members of the group, he said the gun attack was unprecedented and had left conservation groups uncertain about the family's future.
    "We have absolutely no idea to how the family is going to respond. In the absence of a silverback (dominant male), the family unit has been destroyed.
    "It is quite likely that a wild silverback will try to take over the group, which will cause a fair amount of stress for the family.
    "But we just don't know because it has never happened before, we have never seen a family of mountain gorillas torn apart in this way."
    The news comes on the same day that conservation groups launched an appeal to raise funds to increase the protection of the remaining gorillas.
    The Zoological Society of London (ZSL), working with other organisations, has developed a three-month emergency action plan.
    The strategy includes providing round-the-clock monitoring, increasing the number of patrols and funding an investigation into the July killings.
    Dr Noelle Kumpel, ZSL's Bushmeats and Forests Conservation Programme Manager, said: "Shockingly, this is not the first time that gorillas in the park have been slaughtered in this way. "We are calling on the public to support our appeal for funds to help us ensure that it does not happen again."
  4. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Ethiopia opposition members freed
    The Ethiopian authorities have pardoned at least 31 opposition members detained after post-election violence in 2005.

    They were jailed along with 38 senior figures - who were freed last month - from the opposition Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD).
    All the freed CUD members and supporters signed a letter of pardon acknowledging a role in the disorder after the polls two years ago.
    Ethiopia provoked an international outcry after it jailed the CUD figures.
    Two senior CUD leaders, Hailu Shawel and Berhanu Nega, were sentenced to life in jail and then released last month.

    <TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD width=5></TD><TD class=fact><!--Smva-->It indicates the rule of law is respected in Ethiopia
    <!--Emva--><!--Smva-->Ethiopian Prime Minister's spokesman <!--Emva--></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

    The CUD accused the government of electoral fraud following the 2005 polls, which saw the opposition party claim its biggest ever gains.
    Bereket Simon, an advisor to Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, told the Associated Press news agency: "(The freed CUD members) can run for office, they can run their political organisations.
    "It is good for Ethiopia because it indicates that the rule of law is respected in Ethiopia."
    The BBC's Elizabeth Blunt in Ethiopia says things moved quickly after the government said there would be no pardons until the judicial process was over.
    Hoping for a quick release, defendants began to change their plea to guilty and all those who have signed the pardon letter have now been freed, our correspondent says. The Ethiopian authorities say nearly 200 people were killed in the violence that erupted after the elections two years ago.
  5. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Russian clinic releases activist
    A Russian opposition activist, Larisa Arap, has been discharged from a psychiatric clinic where colleagues said she had been imprisoned.

    Ms Arap, 48, was sent to the clinic in the northern region of Murmansk on 5 July. She later went on hunger strike.
    Her case was taken up by human rights defenders, who saw in it echoes of the Soviet-era practice of locking up dissidents in psychiatric hospitals.
    She is a member of the United Civil Front (UCF) group.
    The group's leaders include the former chess world champion, Garry Kasparov.
    "Her husband Dmitry phoned me from the car and said they were travelling home," said Yelena Vasilyeva of the UCF's Murmansk branch.
    Ms Arap's release came after a Russian human rights ombudsman had looked into her case and found no reason for her to be kept in the clinic, in the town of Apatity, 300km (180 miles) from Murmansk.
    Ms Arap had told the Western media and fellow activists she was being forcibly held at the clinic. She also claimed to have been injected with drugs against her will. She saw it as punishment for having criticised health officials.
  6. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Star Wars duo 'least convincing'
    Star Wars couple Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen have been voted as having the least plausible on-screen chemistry by film fans.

    The pair beat Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez's performance in Gigli - which was made when they were a real life couple - into second place.
    Former duo Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman also made the list with Eyes Wide Shut.
    British pairing Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom were thought "too stiff upper lip" in Pirates of the Caribbean.
    The 3,000 movie-goers who were surveyed for Pearl and Dean said their screen relationship was punctuated with too much old-fashioned romance and "not enough lust".

    <!--Smva-->1 Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen - Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones
    2 Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez - Gigli
    3 Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom - Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy
    4 Madonna and Adriano Giannini - Swept Away
    5 Catherine Zeta Jones and Sir Sean Connery - Entrapment
    <!--Emva--><!--Smva-->Source: Pearl and Dean <!--Emva--></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

    Catherine Zeta Jones and Sir Sean Connery's performance opposite one another in 1999's Entrapment landed in fifth place.
    There was a 39-year age difference between the couple.
    Affleck landed inside the top 10 for a second time, with his chemistry with Kate Beckinsale in Pearl Harbor failing to convince audiences.
    Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell's relationship in romantic comedy Four Weddings and A Funeral finished sixth in the list.
    The gay romance between Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain was more convincing, with only 5% of respondents saying it failed to win them over.
    Madonna also featured highly in the poll, with her dramatic relationship with Italian actor Adriano Giannini in Swept Away not managing to draw in viewers. The pop star made the 2002 film with director husband Guy Ritchie, with the release proving to be a box office flop.
  7. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Six die in Israeli missile strike
    Six members of the Palestinian militant group, Hamas, have been killed by an Israeli missile strike in central Gaza, Palestinian officials have said.

    Hamas said the men were approaching one of its security posts near the Bureij refugee camp in a car when it was hit.
    The Israeli military confirmed its ground forces had fired upon a vehicle carrying militants who had fired Qassam rockets into its territory on Monday.
    Earlier, two rockets hit open areas in the western Negev, causing no injuries. The Hamas-run al-Aqsa TV channel said the men were members of Hamas' military wing, the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades.
  8. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    France 'ready' for role in Iraq
    France is ready to help Iraq and will push to expand the United Nations' work there, Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said during a landmark visit.

    Speaking after talks with several Iraqi leaders, Mr Kouchner said the UN was only part of the solution, and Iraqis must come together to restore peace.
    France's disagreement with the US over Iraq was now in the past, he said.
    His visit marks the first time a French minister has been to Iraq since France opposed the US-led invasion in 2003.
    Franco-US relations warmed after Nicolas Sarkozy was elected French president.
    'Historic opportunity'
    On the second day of his three-day "fact-finding" visit, Mr Kouchner held talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, President Jalal Talabani and Vice Presidents Tareq al-Hashemi and Adel Abdel Mahdi.

    <TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD width=5></TD><TD class=fact><!--Smva-->It is essential for France to listen to the Iraqis ... to preserve the sovereignty, the integrity and democracy in Iraq
    <!--Emva--><!--Smva-->Bernard Kouchner <!--Emva-->

    At a joint press conference with Mr Talabani, Mr Kouchner said France was "ready to play a role in the fight against the violence" and would help the UN work to restore democracy in Iraq.
    But he insisted that dialogue between Iraq's rival communities - in particular Shia, Sunni and Kurds - was critical.
    "It is essential for France to listen to the Iraqis, to affirm that the solutions to their problems must be Iraqi, to listen to all the communities, to preserve the sovereignty, the integrity and democracy in Iraq," he said.
    Mr Talabani said the visit was "an historic opportunity to promote French-Iraqi relations."
    Mr Kouchner's visit is highly symbolic, correspondents say, and shows Mr Sarkozy wanted to create a "clear divide" between himself and predecessor, Jacques Chirac.
    France has hosted several Iraqi leaders and has given its support to the process of political transition.
    In 2003, Mr Kouchner was a rare French voice in refusing to condemn the US-led invasion, saying France had become "America-phobic". Although Mr Sarkozy has described the war as a "mistake", he has also said France acted with "arrogance" before it began.

    They just want the oil. :flag: Let's leave them there like they left Vietnam.
  9. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Bangladesh hit by student riots
    <TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD width=5></TD><TD class=fact><!--So--><!--Eo--><!--Smva-->Student protests quickly turned into a full-scale riot <!--Emva--><!--So-->
    <!--Eo--><!--Smvtb-->Student riots flare <!--Emvtb--></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>Dozens of students and police have been injured in two days of rioting on university campuses in Bangladesh.
    Correspondents say the unrest is the most serious challenge yet to the military-backed emergency government.
    The violence took place in three universities in or near the capital, Dhaka, as well as in the southern city of Chittagong and Kushtia in the west. Late on Tuesday, officials said troops would withdraw from Dhaka university, one of the students' main demands.

    Protests are banned in Bangladesh under a state of emergency announced by the military-backed caretaker government which took power six months ago.
    Many of the demonstrators called for the country to return to democracy, which the government has promised to restore by the end of next year.

    In the worst clashes at Dhaka University, students threw stones and lit fires across the campus. Police responded with batons and tear gas.
    The students burnt an effigy of the army chief, Moeen U Ahmed, and tried to assault the vice chancellor, police said.
    Dozens of vehicles were set on fire, including an army jeep.
    The BBC's Waliur Rahman in Dhaka says that two other military governments in the past - that of Ziaur Rahman and Muhammad Ershad - were both brought down in protests that were started by students.
    The army is reported to be keeping a low profile in the clashes, leaving the job of confronting the students to the police.
    But the government has said that action will be taken against troublemakers, who it says will be removed from campuses if necessary.
    Late on Tuesday the authorities offered to remove the contentious army camp in Dhaka. They also announced a judicial inquiry into the riots and said soldiers could face prosecution.

    Troops are accused of triggering the violence at Dhaka University by picking a fight with students.
    Students in Dhaka told the BBC that they wanted the army not only to leave the university but also to withdraw from politics.
    There was widespread popular support for the interim government when it came to power in January, vowing to stamp out corruption before returning the country to democracy. But discontent has been rising in recent months, most notably over with the rapidly rising cost of living.
  10. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Judge overturns Haneef visa ban
    A court in Australia has overturned a government decision to cancel the visa of an Indian doctor briefly charged over failed bomb attacks in the UK.

    The court ruled that the government had erred when it cancelled Mohamed Haneef's visa on character grounds.
    Dr Haneef was accused of links with failed attacks in London and Glasgow.
    But all the charges against him were dropped after Australia's chief prosecutor reviewed the case and said a mistake had been made.
    The BBC's Nick Bryant, in Sydney, says the court's decision will be a major embarrassment for the Australian government.
    It first cancelled Dr Haneef's work visa after a magistrate granted him bail, then refused to reinstate it when charges against him were dropped.
    Dr Haneef, who has now returned to India, has consistently denied any wrongdoing.
    'Wrong test'
    At a hearing in Brisbane, Justice Jeffrey Spender ruled that Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews used the wrong criteria when he revoked Dr Haneef's visa.

    <TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD width=5></TD><TD class=fact>HANEEF CASE TIMELINE
    <!--Smva-->2 July : Arrested in Brisbane
    14 July : Charged with providing "reckless support" to terrorism
    16 July : Granted bail, but kept in custody after work visa revoked
    27 July : Charges dropped
    29 July : Returns to India
    21 Aug : Court overturns government visa decision

    "The minister cancelled the visa by adopting a wrong criterion; he fell into jurisdictional error by applying the wrong test," he said.
    "That error infects the cancellation decision. It follows that the decision must be set aside."
    The new ruling does not mean that Dr Haneef's visa will automatically be reinstated. In fact, the government has already decided to appeal against the verdict.
    "When I made the decision to cancel Dr Haneef's visa, I made it in the national interest and I stand by that decision," Mr Andrews told reporters.
    UK relatives
    Dr Haneef had been working at a hospital on Australia's Gold Coast when he was arrested on 2 July. He was held for several days before being charged with giving "reckless support" to terrorism.
    A magistrate granted him bail, but within hours Mr Andrews had revoked his employment visa, allowing the authorities to keep him in detention.
    When key evidence linking Dr Haneef to the suspects in the UK attacks was found to be flawed, the charges were dropped, but not the visa ruling.
    Dr Haneef's defence team has argued that the immigration laws were applied simply to keep him behind bars while the criminal case against him was falling apart.
    Dr Haneef is the cousin of Sabeel Ahmed, one of three people charged in the UK over the failed attacks. Mr Ahmed's brother, Kafeel, was the driver of a jeep which crashed into Glasgow Airport in flames on 30 June. He died from his injuries earlier this month.
  11. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Greek riots over Nigerian's death
    Greek police have clashed with African immigrants protesting over the death of a Nigerian man in the western city of Thessaloniki at the weekend.

    Police fired tear gas at a stone-throwing crowd who had gathered outside the police station on Monday holding up photographs of the dead man.
    The Nigerian in his 20s died after he jumped from a building where he was selling pirated DVDs in a cafe.
    He had fled when he believed police in the cafe were trying to arrest him.
    Police say no officers had been in the cafe at the time.
    Protests first took place on Sunday when angry migrants gathered outside the cafe and threw stones and chairs at police, AP news agency reports.
    A local leader expressed solidarity with Thessaloniki's Nigerian community, Greece's English-language paper Kathimerini reports.
    "The tragic death of the young man from Nigeria reminds us all of the difficult days we Greeks experienced a few decades ago when we emigrated to make a living," Prefect Panayiotis Psomiadis is quoted as saying. "It is the duty of the Greek state, whose development was influenced by emigration, to show sensitivity and attribute blame where necessary."
  12. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Plans needed for Zimbabwe exodus
    The head of the UN refugee agency has told the BBC that contingency plans are needed in case the exodus of refugees from Zimbabwe increases.

    Antonio Guterres called for increased assistance from the international community to help Southern Africa cope.
    He said the UNHCR estimates that there are more than three million displaced Zimbabweans in the region.
    More and more people are fleeing the worsening economic and political situation in Zimbabwe.
    Zimbabweans are struggling to find even the most basic goods on shop shelves, as an economic crisis pushes inflation above 4,500% and unemployment is estimated at more than 80%.
    Mr Guterres has just begun a four-day tour of Mozambique, Zambia and South Africa to assess the refugee situation, where he said the situation was complex.
    There are many people seeking asylum in the region, and it is often difficult to tell who is a migrant, refugee, smuggler and trafficker, he said.
    Mr Guterres told the BBC's Network Africa that refugees come into neighbouring countries "because they need to survive to a certain extent, to find food security, to try to find some kind of economic activity that they cannot find in their own country."
    And in those cases, such as the one with Zimbabweans in Southern Africa, more needs to be done by the international humanitarian community to provide assistance to the most vulnerable, he explained.

    "So we have worked together with our offices in the region to be prepared for things that we hope will not happen."
    Mr Guterres said that movement out of Zimbabwe has been happening for many years, but that because of the recent unstable situation, more people have fled.
    He also said the general attitude in Southern Africa toward refugees was a positive one - asylum systems are being developed, several countries are offering the possibility of local integration and authorities are sharing resources.
    Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch criticised the leaders of Southern Africa for failing to take concrete measures to meet the crisis in Zimbabwe at their recent summit, describing it as a squandered opportunity. The opposition in South Africa has called for refugee camps to be established, but the government has said they are not needed.
  13. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Dean charges across Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula

    • <LI class=cnnhiliteheader>Story Highlights
    • NEW: Hurricane weakens to Category 2 storm after hitting as Category 5
    • NEW: Downed power lines, damaged buildings in Mexico, northern Belize
    • At least nine deaths blamed on storm across Caribbean
    CHETUMAL, Mexico (CNN) -- Hurricane Dean, weakened to a Category 2 storm, sprinted across Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula on Tuesday, knocking down trees and flooding streets but not inflicting catastrophic damage.
    Dean charged ashore before dawn as a monster Category 5 storm but rapidly lost strength as it traversed the peninsula and was downgraded to a Category 2 at 10 a.m. (11 a.m. ET).
    Downed power lines and damaged buildings were reported in Mexico and northern Belize, but no casualties.
    Streets were flooded outside a hotel in Chetumal, just south of where Dean's center made landfall around 4:30 a.m. (5:30 a.m. ET) with maximum sustained winds of 165 mph (266 kph), according to the National Hurricane Center.
    Two hotel workers tried to clear a clogged street drain with a garden rake in an effort to relieve the flooded streets.
    The storm's eye passed just south of the resort areas of Cozumel and Cancun, striking a rural and sparsely populated area near Chetumal, the capital of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo.
    At 10 a.m. (11 a.m. ET), the weakened hurricane had maximum sustained winds of 105 mph (165 kph) and was 90 miles (150 km) west-northwest of Chetumal, according to the hurricane center. It was moving west at 20 mph (32 kph).
    The storm is expected to lose more strength as it passes across the Yucatan, before re-emerging in the Gulf of Mexico. It is forecast to strengthen again and hit central Mexico Wednesday with winds around 100 mph (161 kph). [​IMG]See the storm's projected path »
    Electricity was out in Chetumal, where most of the 130,000 residents in the coastal city appeared to have heeded government warnings to seek shelter or evacuate. [​IMG]Watch Dean blow into Chetumal »
    Telephones were working in Chetumal, and three radio stations were still broadcasting the location of the storm to residents early Tuesday, Quintana Roo Gov. Felix Arturo Gonzalez Canto told CNN's "American Morning."
    "This information is very essential to the people of the area where the hurricane is hitting," Gonzalez Canto said. He said the reports give people "assurance of what's happening and also a lot of tranquillity."
    Of the 20,000 tourists in Quintana Roo, about 13,000 had been evacuated as of Monday evening, said Rosario Ortiz Yeladaque, the state's secretary of government.
    About 20,000 tourists remained in Cancun hotels. Security guards at the Gran Melia Hotel prevented guests and journalists from going outside into the storm by chaining and barricading exits, according to CNN's Jason Carroll.
    Deanis so large -- about the size of Texas -- that its tropical winds and waves affected the entire Yucatan and neighboring Belize to the south.
    Jeff Spiegel, owner of the Azul Resort in Amerbergris Caye, Belize, said it was "incredibly windy" and the ocean surge was "very, very high." Most of the docks and piers have been washed away on the western side of his narrow island, he said.
    Douglas Podzun, owner of the Corozal Bay Inn, said he traveled outside early Tuesday to rescue a relative and witnessed some of the damage in the northern Belize town of Corozal.
    "There are downed power lines, there's a lot of trees down, a lot of streets with roofing laying around that have been blown off of houses, and cars shaking," Podzun said. "[There's] nobody on the street at all, not even the police. The police said if anybody needs help they're on their own because they're not going out anymore."
    The Mexican government deployed 4,000 troops Monday, and a state of emergency was declared in the state of Campeche, where residents were bracing for as much as 20 inches of rain in some places.
    Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who was in Canada for a trilateral meeting with President Bush and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, cut short his visit and prepared to return home Tuesday to deal with the storm.
    In anticipation of the storm, parts of Belize, including Belize City, were put under a curfew Monday night, and Prime Minister Said Musa froze prices of goods and services to prevent price gouging. People were being evacuated from low-lying, coastal and valley areas to hurricane shelters, the prime minister's office said.
    Forecasters do not believe the storm presents a threat to the United States, although officials in Texas continued to make storm preparations just in case Dean's path takes an unexpected turn.
    Along the northern Yucatan coast, winds were only expected to reach tropical-storm force, above 39 mph (63 kph).
    Meanwhile, in Jamaica, residents cleaned up fallen trees and debris Monday as the island nation started to recover from its brush with Dean on Sunday. [​IMG]See I-Reports of what Dean has done across the Caribbean »
    While electric service was still out and most stores were closed, the international airport in Montego Bay reopened Monday night, allowing tourists who had been caught in the storm to begin leaving.
    Although parts of Jamaica were pounded with sustained winds of 114 mph (183 kph), the eye of the hurricane passed to the south of the island, sparing its 2.8 million residents from a direct hit. Two deaths were reported in Jamaica, and the storm caused property damage and triggered landslides in some rural areas.
    Dean is being blamed for at least seven other deaths in its march across the Caribbean, including two fatalities in Haiti, two in both Martinique and Dominica, and one in St. Lucia.
  14. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Germans probe assault on Indians
    German authorities are trying to identify the suspects and motives behind a mob assault on eight Indians in a small eastern German town.

    All eight Indian men were injured in the attack, in which about 50 Germans chased them through the streets of Muegeln after a fair early on Sunday.
    Four assailants and two police officers were also hurt. Witnesses say there were racist chants during the attack.
    The Indians fled to a pizzeria before being rescued by police.
    Muegeln mayor Gotthard Deuse said that "if this was a far-right incident, then the assailants did not come from Muegeln".
    Eastern Germany has seen sporadic racist attacks on foreigners since German reunification in 1990.
    Most of the Indians were traders selling goods at open markets in the region, said a police spokeswoman quoted by the Associated Press news agency.
    According to some witnesses quoted by police, the slogans "Foreigners out!" and "national resistance rules here!" were chanted during the assault.
    The deputy speaker of the German parliament (Bundestag), Wolfgang Thierse, warned that such incidents could harm Germany's image abroad. "The worse Germany's reputation is, the less people will come here - people we need for our progress and welfare," he said.
  15. BFISA

    BFISA Well-Known Member

    Nov 16, 2005
    Bigamist ordered to give pig and buffalo

    Aug 22 10:53 AM US/Eastern

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - A Malaysian villager who took a second wife has been ordered by a court to compensate his first wife and their children with a buffalo and a pig, an official said Wednesday.

    The Native Court in Penampang district on Borneo island annulled the man's 10-year marriage to his first wife and granted her custody of their three children Tuesday, said District Native Court Chief Innocent Makajil, who presided over the panel deciding the case.

    "It is a symbolic punishment because he violated his people's customs by marrying more than once," Makajil said by telephone.

    The identities of the couple are not being revealed due to a request by the wife, Makajil said.

    The man, a self-employed 30 year old, is from Borneo's Kadazan-Dusun indigenous community. His second wife, whom he married earlier this year, is a Muslim, and he converted from Christianity to Islam, Makajil said.

    Polygamy is rare within the group, he added.
  16. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Bush in Vietnam warning over Iraq
    <TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD width=5></TD><TD class=fact><!--So--><!--Eo--><!--Smva-->Mr Bush called for more time to complete the task in Iraq <!--Emva--><!--Smvtb-->Bush speaks on Iraq <!--Emvtb--><!--So-->
    <!--Eo--><!--Smiiib--></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>President George W Bush has warned a US withdrawal from Iraq could trigger the kind of upheaval seen in South East Asia after US forces quit Vietnam.
    "The price of America's withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens," he told war veterans in Missouri.
    Mr Bush said the Vietnam War had taught the need for US patience over Iraq. His speech comes amid an apparent rift with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, but Mr Bush said Mr Maliki was a "good man with a difficult job".

    Hours earlier, Mr Maliki called recent US criticism of his work "discourteous".
    The White House was swift to respond, saying in a statement that Mr Bush still believes that Mr Maliki is the right person to lead Iraq.

    <TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD width=5></TD><TD class=fact>THE VIETNAM WAR
    <!--Smva-->Ran from 1959-1975
    Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) defeated US-backed Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam)
    Estimated four million Vietnamese civilians killed
    1.1 million communist fighters killed
    200-250,000 South Vietnamese troops killed
    58,200 US troops killed or missing in action

    Mr Bush began his speech at the annual convention for the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) group, in Kansas City, by flagging up US successes in staying the distance in other conflicts - particularly in turning Japan from an enemy into a key ally.
    "The ideals and interests that led America to help the Japanese turn defeat into democracy are the same that lead us to remain engaged in Afghanistan and Iraq," Mr Bush said.
    "The defence strategy that refused to hand the South Koreans over to a totalitarian neighbour helped raise up an Asian Tiger that is a model for developing countries across the world, including the Middle East."
    Legacy of defeat
    Mr Bush compared current calls for withdrawal from Iraq with what happened at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.
    "Many argued that if we pulled out, there would be no consequences for the Vietnamese people," Mr Bush said. "The world would learn just how costly these misimpressions would be.

    "Three decades later, there is a legitimate debate about how we got into the Vietnam War and how we left.
    "Whatever your position in that debate, one unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America's withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens," Mr Bush said, mentioning reprisals against US allies in Vietnam, the displacement of Vietnamese refugees and the massacres in Cambodia under Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge.
    He warned that in Iraq there was the added danger that a US withdrawal would signal victory for al-Qaeda, emboldening its leaders and drawing in new recruits.
    Short-term problem
    BBC world affairs correspondent Nick Childs says Mr Bush's speech will fuel the controversy over whether he is drawing the right or wrong lessons from history.

    <TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD width=5></TD><TD class=fact><!--Smva-->We care for our people and our constitution and can find friends elsewhere
    <!--Emva--><!--Smva-->Iraqi PM Nouri Maliki <!--Emva--><!--So-->

    Opinion polls suggest that many Americans clearly do not see the stakes or the struggle in the same way, our correspondent says.
    Mr Bush is pressing home these broad themes even more forcefully than before because he faces a very specific short-term political problem, with less than 18 months left as president.
    Whether his successor will see things in the same ideological and historic terms is, at the very least, open to question, our correspondent adds.
    In other news in Iraq:
    • Fourteen US soldiers were killed when a Black Hawk helicopter in which they were travelling crashed in northern Iraq. The military said a mechanical fault was to blame.
    • At least 24 people were killed and 50 injured when a suicide bomber rammed a fuel tanker into a police station in the northern oil city of Baiji.
    • The deputy US commander in Iraq told the BBC that the US had recruited 20,000 civilian volunteers to act as local police in sensitive areas of the country.
    'Seeking friends elsewhere'
    Mr Bush's speech came as Mr Maliki was moved to defend his administration in the face of US criticism.
    "No-one has the right to place timetables" on the Iraqi government's performance Mr Maliki said, blaming the US presidential election campaign for many of the negative comments being made.

    Speaking at the end of a visit to Syria, he said Iraq would pay no attention and could "find friends elsewhere".
    After Mr Bush's latest address, in which he praised the Iraqi prime minister, a spokesman for Mr Maliki said they welcomed the president's comments:
    "His speech yesterday was a bit ambiguous and confusing, but he clarified things in his speech today," the spokesman told the BBC.
    "Mr Maliki said in Syria that he agrees with President Bush that the people of Iraq have the final say in changing their government. So our reaction is positive."
    On Tuesday, Mr Bush had appeared to distance himself from Mr Maliki's government for the first time. Mr Bush said the people of Iraq had made a great step towards reconciliation. However he added that there was "a certain level of frustration with the leadership" of Mr Maliki and that his government now had to perform.
  17. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Turks elect ex-Islamist president
    <TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD width=5></TD><TD class=fact><!--So--><!--Eo--><!--Smva-->Abdullah Gul has pledged to respect Turkey's institutions <!--Emva--><!--So-->
    <!--Eo--><!--Smvtb-->Reaction to election <!--Emvtb--></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>Turkey's controversial Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul has been sworn in as the country's new president.
    He is the first politician with an Islamist background to become head of state since the creation of the deeply secular Turkish Republic in 1923.
    His swearing-in follows a third round of voting in parliament, which he won by a clear majority. Mr Gul took his oath at a ceremony in parliament, pledging loyalty to democracy and to the secular Republic.

    "As long as I am in office, I will embrace all our citizens without any bias," he said.
    Mr Gul used to belong to an Islamist party, and his candidacy split Turkey for months, inspiring street protests and forcing an early general election.
    On Monday the military warned about threats to the secular constitution.
    Boost for EU talks
    The European Union welcomed Mr Gul's election, calling it a positive step in the country's campaign to join the bloc.

    <TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD width=5></TD><TD class=fact><!--So--><!--Eo--><!--Smva-->Mr Gul's wife has been criticised for wearing the headscarf <!--Emva--><!--So-->

    European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso said the election was "an opportunity to give fresh, immediate and positive impetus to the accession process to the European Union through progress in a number of key areas".
    Turkey was made a candidate for EU membership in October 2005, but the talks are blocked on a number of fronts.
    Joost Lagendijk, the Euro-MP who leads the EU-Turkey delegation, called on Mr Gul to reassure critics he posed no threat to Turkey's secular order.
    Mr Gul, whose wife wears a Muslim headscarf, has pledged to respect Turkey's secular institutions.
    The headscarf is currently banned from public institutions in Turkey and Mr Gul has said wearing it is a matter of personal choice.
    Mr Gul secured 339 votes in the 550-seat parliament, which is dominated by the AKP, following the party's triumph in an early general election last month. He had needed a simple majority of 276 votes in the third round.
    Two earlier rounds after the election had not produced the two-thirds majority that Mr Gul needed.
    Mr Gul, who has established himself as a skilled diplomat by steering Turkey towards European Union entry talks, has pledged to be a ruler for all Turks.
    Military anxiety
    Turkey's military chief warned on Monday that "centres of evil" were trying to undermine the state.
    Gen Yasar Buyukanit did not name those he said were "trying to corrode the secular nature of the Turkish Republic."
    But analysts said the statement was clearly aimed at Mr Gul, a devout Muslim.
    The army, which sees itself as the guardian of Turkey's secularism, has ousted four governments in the past 60 years.
    It was the second warning issued by the military in recent months.
    In April, the army expressed its concern after Mr Gul only narrowly failed to gain enough support from MPs to become president in a first round.
    Secularist politicians also organised mass demonstrations by their supporters in an effort to block Mr Gul's presidential bid.
    The stand-off between the AKP and secularist parties triggered a political crisis that led to snap elections in July.
    The AKP won those polls convincingly with 47% and again nominated Mr Gul for the post of president.
    Turkey's military and secular establishment suspect he might harbour a secret Islamist agenda. The founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, banished religious influence from public life when he founded the modern Western-style republic on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire.
  18. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Wildfires rage on across Greece
    <TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD width=5></TD><TD class=fact><!--So--><!--Eo--><!--Smva-->At least 63 people have died in the fires so far <!--Emva--><!--So-->
    <!--Eo--><!--Smvtb-->Battling the fires <!--Emvtb--></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>Firefighting teams from across Europe are continuing to battle forest fires raging across southern Greece, which have claimed at least 63 lives.
    Several EU countries have sent their own firefighters, backed by planes and helicopters, to help tackle the blazes.
    Some 27 villages have been entirely abandoned and many parts of the Peloponnese peninsula are still ablaze. The Greek opposition has attacked the government's response to the crisis, calling it "totally incompetent".

    The EU help is said to be the union's largest offer of emergency assistance to a member state.

    Rescuers have evacuated villages in the Peloponnese as the fires threatened to engulf them, but there have been no fatalities since Monday, reports say.
    "The fires are still out of control. At the moment there is no threat to the villages, but the direction of the wind is impossible to predict," a fire service spokesman told the AFP news agency.
    On Monday, terrified residents in Frixa in the western Peloponnese were airlifted to safety by helicopters after being cut off by fire and thick black smoke.
    Isolated villages have been cut off in the region, sparking fears that the death toll could rise further.
    The government declared a state of emergency over the weekend as new fires, fanned by hot, gusting winds, continued to break out around Greece.
    From heaven to hell
    The village of Artimeta in the Peloponnese has become known as the "crematorium", says the BBC's Malcolm Brabant who is in the village near the town of Olympia.
    Burnt-out wrecks of cars are testament to local people's bid to escape the flames "in a convoy of death".
    Just across the road is a fire truck that is on its side, in which three firemen were killed.

    <TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD width=5></TD><TD class=fact><!--Smva-->I've been coming here for the last 15 years on holiday with my children. It was a paradise here and now it is hell
    <!--Emva--><!--Smva-->Fire survivor <!--Emva--><!--So-->

    The ground is charred and the surrounding countryside looks as though a bomb has been dropped on the area, our correspondent adds. No birdsong can be heard.
    "I've been coming here for the last 15 years on holiday with my children. It was a paradise here and now it is hell," one woman who escaped the blaze told the BBC.
    "The fire travelled faster than us when we tried to escape. In 10 minutes, the fires were all over the village."
    In one car, a woman and her four children were burnt alive as they tried to flee the blaze. If she had stayed at home, she would have survived as her house was untouched by fire.

    "She was my best friend, she was trying to escape with her children but the fires cut them off," one woman who knew her told the BBC.
    "We raised our children together. My little girl Ara asked me today 'why isn't Constandinos with us to play?'. And I told her that they are near God now, in heaven."
    Political fallout
    Correspondents say the fires are likely to dominate political debate ahead of a general election on 16 September.
    The PM said the poll would proceed as planned, but his priority was the victims, not political point-scoring.

    <TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD width=5></TD><TD class=fact><!--Smva-->The people here are angry, frustrated and sad
    <!--Emva--><!--Smva-->Jona Desselberger
    BBC News website reader, in Athens <!--Emva--><!--So-->

    "We are continuing a determined struggle against the fires," Costas Karamanlis said.
    In Athens, hundreds of people took to the streets in protest.
    Some of the demonstrators said they believed the fires were deliberately started by property developers in order to clear the land for development.
    However, the president of the Hellenic Property Federation, Stratos Paradias, told the BBC that the suspicions were unfounded.
    "That's absolutely nonsense, this allegation, because if there is a company which wants to get its hands on some piece of land, to burn this land is the worst way to do it.
    "Once a forest is burnt, according to our constitution, within three months the Forestry Service is obliged to pass a decree according to which this land is reforested."
    Meanwhile, seven people have been charged with arson and a further 26 face lesser charges linked to the fires that have blighted Greece since July. Anti-terrorist squads are involved in the investigation, and a 1m euro (£678,000) reward has been offered to help catch those responsible.
  19. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Iraqi city cleared after clashes
    Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims have been ordered to leave a Shia festival in the Iraqi city of Karbala after heavy shooting broke out in the city.

    Gunmen exchanged fire with police near the holy Shia shrine of Imam Hussein, causing panic among worshippers.
    Iraqi police say 25 people have been killed and 65 injured - mostly pilgrims or Iraqi security forces - since clashes erupted on Monday evening.
    Police have stopped people entering Karbala and have sealed off the shrine.
    An indefinite curfew has also been imposed on the old city, which houses the holiest shrines.

    <TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD width=5></TD><TD class=fact><!--So--><!--Eo--><!--Smva-->We have seen hotels going up in flames due to rockets being fired at them by the militants
    <!--Emva--><!--Smva-->Karbala pilgrim <!--Emva--><!--So-->
    <!--Eo--><!--Smvtb-->Pilgrim video footage <!--Emvtb--></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

    A member of Karbala city council told the Associated Press news agency that the latest fighting had sparked pandemonium, sending pilgrims running in all directions to escape.
    One pilgrim in Karbala contacted the BBC website to describe what he could see and hear from his hotel opposite the shrine of Imam Hussain.
    "Shots are being fired everywhere including at hotels. We have recently seen hotels going up in flames due to rockets being fired at them by the militants," he said.
    "We cannot tell who is behind this. If we try to look down to see what is going on from our hotel rooms they tell us to close the curtains. We are not allowed to leave the hotel and the shrines have been closed down."
    Reinforcements being sent
    Interior ministry spokesman Major General Abdul Karim Khalaf told the BBC that "the next two to three hours will be decisive" in the confrontation between the security forces and gunmen, though he maintained that the security forces were now in full control.
    Maj Gen Khalaf said entry and exit points into the area had been secured and that military reinforcements were being sent to the holy city.

    There have been reports that the gunmen include members of the Mehdi Army militia, loyal to Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, but Maj Gen Khalaf declined to speculate on who the gunmen were, describing them repeatedly as lawless criminals who had been paid to undertake the attack.
    Shias flock to Karbala each year to mark the birthday of the 9th Century Imam Mahdi, the last of 12 imams whom Shias venerate as saints, believing that they never died and will return to Earth to save mankind.
    The celebrations had been due to reach their climax on Tuesday evening.
    Tight security has been put in place because Sunni insurgents often launch attacks on such festivals.
    Cause unknown
    Violence began on Monday night when Shia pilgrims became angry at delays caused by the strict security measures.
    According to witnesses, as scuffles broke out among the restive crowd, police opened fire killing at least five and wounding dozens.
    But the BBC's Mike Wooldridge, in Baghdad, says that the motive for the latest clashes is not yet clear.
    At least one pilgrim was also killed on Monday by gunmen taking shots at people driving to the festival.
    Another nine people were killed on Monday, when a suicide bomber blew himself up after evening prayers in a mosque in the town of Falluja, west of Baghdad.
    The violence comes just two days after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki announced a deal between Iraqi Shia, Sunni and Kurdish politicians aimed at building national unity. US President George W Bush welcomed the deal, but warned that much work remained to quell sectarian violence in the country.
  20. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Taleban 'agree to free Koreans'
    Taleban militants say they have agreed to free 19 South Koreans held hostage for more than a month in Afghanistan.

    Seoul said the agreement was reached on condition its troops were withdrawn as scheduled by the year's end.
    South Korea also agreed to end all missionary work in Afghanistan and stop its citizens from travelling there.
    The rebels kidnapped 23 Christian charity workers from Ghazni province on 19 July. They subsequently killed two male hostages, and freed two women.
    The BBC's Alastair Leithead, in Kabul, says no exact release date has been given, but the Taleban have said they will start working straight away to free them.
    There has been no mention of money being paid, our correspondent adds, but it is thought that a ransom may have been part of the deal.
    A Taleban representative, an official from the South Korean government and mediators issued a statement in Ghazni - where the 19 are being held - saying that they had come to an agreement and the hostages would be released as soon as possible.
    Koreans rejoice
    The announcement was greeted with celebrations in South Korea, where families have been waiting anxiously for news of their loved ones.

    Cho Myung-ho, whose 28-year-old daughter Lee Joo-yeon is being held hostage, told the Associated Press: "I would like to dance."

    The Christian church that the hostages belonged to, near Seoul, said all the families were "rejoicing".
    "They are busy calling other family members and friends at the moment to pass the news," Bang Yong-kyun, pastor at the Saemmul Church, told Reuters.
    Tuesday's agreement came after South Korean negotiators met Taleban representatives in the central town of Ghazni.
    Tribal elders and two diplomats from the Indonesian embassy in Kabul also took part in the talks.
    Withdrawal plan
    It was the fourth time the two sides had held direct negotiations - all of the meetings being mediated by members of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

    But it was the first time the sides had met since two of the female hostages were freed two weeks ago.
    The South Koreans were seized in Ghazni province as they travelled by bus along the main Kandahar to Kabul highway.
    In late July, the Taleban murdered two of the male hostages - the group's pastor, 42-year-old Bae Hyung-kyu, and former IT worker Shim Sung-min, 29.
    Seoul had already said it planned to withdraw its troops by the end of the year. Some 200 South Korean non-combat personnel are deployed in the country to help with reconstruction efforts.
  21. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Emergency threat in Sierra Leone
    Sierra Leone President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah has threatened to impose a state of emergency if election violence between rival parties does not stop.

    Two days of clashes have marred campaigning for the second round of Sierra Leone's presidential elections.
    In a TV address, Mr Kabbah said the country - which endured a brutal civil war - had suffered too much to allow chaos and civil unrest again.
    He urged the two rival candidates to call for calm among their supporters.
    "All those responsible for the violence and lawlessness should be prepared for the consequences," President Kabbah warned.
    "The government shall not hesitate for one moment to declare a state of public emergency if the current state of intimidation, molestation and violent acts is not stopped immediately."
    Tension grows
    Police have stepped up their patrols around the capital, Freetown, after firing tear gas to disperse rival supporters who clashed in the streets on Sunday and Monday.

    They also fired tear gas in the diamond-rich eastern town of Kono when hundreds of rival supporters clashed. Several people were injured.
    Police Inspector General Brima Acha Kamara says all is now very calm.
    BBC West Africa correspondent Will Ross says that should a state of emergency be declared it is possible that the presidential run-off election could be postponed or all campaigning banned.
    He adds that with both political parties blaming each other for inciting violence in what is a very close contest there is a danger of the violence escalating.
    The first round of landmark elections on 11 August was judged free and fair by observers.
    The opposition APC candidate, Ernest Bai Koroma, took 44% of the vote in the first round, and the ruling SLPP candidate and Vice-President Solomon Berewa, polled 38%.
    But tensions are high ahead of the 8 September second round, with opposition supporters confident of winning.
    The APC won control of the national parliament and Mr Koroma has also secured the key support backing of the third placed candidate in the first round presidential poll, Charles Margai, who polled 14%.
    Our reporter says suspicions of foul play are inevitable given the closeness of the elections and those who believe the APC candidate is a shoe in for the presidency are suspicious that the governing party would not be willing to give up power. President Kabbah's speech and threat to declare a state of emergency has increased some people's suspicion, he adds.
  22. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Court demands Red Mosque answers
    Pakistan's Supreme Court has demanded the government explain its decision to send troops into the controversial Red Mosque in Islamabad last month.

    More than 100 people were killed when security forces stormed the mosque to flush out Islamic militants.
    The attack marked the end of an eight-day siege after vigilante attacks by mosque students seeking to impose Islamic Shariah law in the capital.
    Since the operation attacks on the security forces have soared.

    Judge Javed Iqbal ordered the interior ministry and other government departments to provide answers about the siege and storming of the mosque.
    "The legality of the operation needs to be explained," he said.

    The court also heard a petition filed by the national association of seminaries (madrassas), which says it wants to establish who was responsible for casualties during the siege and raid on the mosque.
    The association has put forward 25 questions it wants answered.

    <TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD width=5></TD><TD class=fact>RED MOSQUE STAND-OFF
    <!--Smva-->3 July: Clashes erupt at mosque, 16 killed, after long student campaign for Islamic Sharia law
    4 July: About 700 students leave mosque, now besieged by security forces; mosque leader caught trying to flee wearing woman's burka
    5 July: More than 1,000 students surrender to security forces
    6 July: Women are allowed to leave the mosque; students' deputy leader says he would rather die than surrender
    8 July: Ministers say wanted militants are holding women and children inside the mosque
    9 July: Negotiators talk to mosque leader via loudspeaker without progress; three Chinese workers are killed in Peshawar over siege
    10 July: Pakistani troops storm mosque after failure of talks; army says Ghazi killed
    11 July: Pakistani army says all militants cleared from mosque

    These include whether an agreement was reached with the deputy head of the mosque, Abdul Rashid Ghazi, and, if so, why was it thrown aside.
    Judge Iqbal ordered the government to submit comprehensive answers to all the questions.
    Security forces raided the mosque and its attached Jamia Hafsa seminary on 10 July.
    Officials say about 100 people were killed during the raid. These include women and children who were inside the mosque at the time.
    But media reports and right-wing groups have suggested the figure was actually much higher.
    "We intend to file murder cases against officials including President Musharraf," a lawyer for the petitioners, Iftikhar Gillani, said in court.
    "They are all responsible for the bloodbath in the Red Mosque."
    The Supreme Court has given the government four weeks to submit a detailed reply on the matter.
    Meanwhile, the government has released all but one of the remaining detainees held during the mosque operation.
    The only exception is Maulana Abdul Aziz, the head of the mosque, who is still in custody. He was arrested while trying to flee the complex dressed in a burka.
    On Monday, 19 seminary students along with Maulana Aziz's daughter and wife were granted bail.
    In addition, Khalid Khawaja, an ex-secret services official and now a human rights activist who is also charged in the case, was granted bail and freed.

    <!--So--><!--Eo--><!--Smva-->1 Special forces attack compound from three sides and breach mosque walls
    2 Fierce fighting between military and militants on mosque roof
    3 Military take control of mosque and clear building
    4 Militants fire from mosque minarets as action switches to madrassa
    5 Remaining militants holed up in its basement, with women and children
  23. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Indonesia jet black boxes found
    The flight recorders from an Indonesian airliner that crashed on New Year's Day with 102 people on board have been recovered, officials say.

    The discovery of the so-called black boxes comes after a US-operated ship arrived last week to help the search.
    The Adam Air Boeing 737 was flying between Java and Sulawesi when it came down off the Sulawesi coast in one of Indonesia's worst air disasters.
    The body of the plane is believed to be at a depth of 1,700m (5,600ft).
    Despite a massive search, no bodies have ever been found although some wreckage made its way to the surface in the weeks following the crash.
    While a signal from the black boxes was thought to have been heard soon after the crash, their retrieval has been held up by disagreements between the government and the airline over who should pay for it.
    False leads
    "They have retrieved two black boxes," Tatang Kurniadi, of the National Transportation Safety Commission, said on Tuesday.
    He said the data recorders - which include vital information about the flight and conversations in the cockpit - had been sent to Makassar port in Sulawesi and would be heading to the US for analysis.

    "God willing they are still readable," he was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.
    He was speaking after a salvage ship operated by US firm Phoenix International joined the search off Sulawesi island last week.
    The plane disappeared after battling strong winds and twice changing course during a flight from Surabaya in Java to Manado in northern Sulawesi on 1 January 2007.
    A massive air, land and sea operation got under way with several other countries offering help with the search. But the hunt was hampered by bad weather as well as false leads. The government had to apologise for erroneously saying, soon after the plane's disappearance, that the wreckage had been found.
  24. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Kazakh firm in Romanian oil deal
    Kazakhstan's state-owned energy group, KazMunaiGaz, has agreed to buy 75% of Romanian oil firm Rompetrol in a deal estimated to be worth $2.7bn (£1.3bn).

    Rompetrol chairman and chief executive Dinu Patriciu said the deal offers Europe "an energy bridge that does not depend on Russia".
    His comments were in regard to European fears over the long-term security of Russian gas and oil imports.
    The West has accused Russia of using energy policy to bully its neighbours.
    This is in regard to Russia's state-owned gas monopoly cutting supplies to Ukraine during the winter of 2006/07 in a dispute over how much Kiev should pay.
    The reduction in supplies to Ukraine had a knock on effect on the level of Russian gas going through the country to western Europe.
    Pan-European stations
    Gazprom has also threatened to cut supplies to Georgia, and in recent months, Belarus.
    Moscow and Gazprom executives counter that the firm is merely wishing to gain a fair market price for its gas following years of subsidised exports to Russia's former Soviet allies.
    Under the deal, KazMunaiGaz gains control of the Romanian firm's 630 petrol stations in seven countries including Romania, Georgia, Bulgaria, Spain, Moldova and France.
    However, the sale still requires final approval from the European Union. Russia currently supplies a quarter of Europe's oil, and more than two-fifths of its gas.
  25. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    S Africa recalls faulty condoms
    South Africa's health department has recalled millions of condoms given out under a programme it funded.

    The company that produced the condoms, Zalatex, allegedly bribed a government official to certify almost four million faulty condoms as up to standard.
    The government is now recalling all 20 million Choice brand condoms produced by the company.
    Zalatex's attorney, James Ndebele, from Fluxmans Attorneys, said the company strongly denied the allegations.
    He told the BBC News website that the allegations were "untrue... offensive and defamatory".
    He said Zalatex was fully prepared to co-operate with the investigation.
    About five million people in South Africa are believed to be infected with the HIV virus. Every year, the South African government distributes hundreds of millions of condoms in a bid to control both birth rates and sexually transmitted diseases.
  26. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Russian soldier in kennel death
    The head of Russia's elite space troops has vowed to punish those responsible for the death of a conscript.

    Pte Sergei Sinkonen was beaten by two drunken superiors, then thrown into a kennel with guard dogs, officials say.
    He was found in a coma the next day and underwent an emergency operation, but died of his head wounds.
    Bullying incidents are frequent in the Russian armed forces, sometimes resulting in the deaths of soldiers, either by killing or by suicide.
    Sinkonen, 21, was a conscript from the northern city of Petrozavodsk, serving with the space troops at Plesetsk, a cosmodrome used to launch mainly military satellites.
    Two weeks ago, he and another soldier were beaten by two officers who had been drinking heavily at a wedding celebration. Doctors said belt buckles had been used to inflict severe injuries on Pte Sinkonen's head.
    Dozens of deaths
    Russian military prosecutors are investigating the case as one of "exceeding professional authority" - a vague Russian legal definition most often applied to torture cases, BBC Russian affairs analyst Steven Eke reports.
    Harsh physical discipline has historically been a feature of Russian military life, he adds, but bullying now claims the deaths of dozens of young men every year. It is the major reason why most Russian families do everything possible to help their sons avoid military service, he says.

    "Elite space troops?" lol
  27. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Israeli anger over holy site work
    <!--Smvb--><TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=bottom><!--Smvb-->By Martin Asser
    BBC News, Jerusalem <!--Emvb--></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    <!--Emvb-->A group of Israeli archaeologists is protesting about fresh excavations at Jerusalem's holiest religious shrine, saying it threatens priceless relics.

    Muslim authorities at al-Aqsa mosque, also venerated by Jews as the Temple Mount, are digging a 150-metre trench for water pipes and electricity cables.
    Israeli critics say the work is causing irreparable damage, indiscriminately piling up earth and carved stones.
    Mosque officials insist it is urgent infrastructure work doing no damage.
    The Aqsa Mosque/Temple Mount compound is the Middle East's most sensitive disputed religious site.
    Competing claims have been a catalyst for violence in the recent past and determining its fate lies at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.
    Jewish tradition reveres the area as the remains of King Solomon's temple, while Muslim tradition has it as the location of the Prophet Muhammad's ascent into heaven.

    <TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD width=5></TD><TD class=fact><!--So--><!--Eo--><!--Smva-->They should be using a toothbrush, not a bulldozer
    <!--Emva--><!--Smva-->Dr Gabriel Barkai, Bar-Ilan University <!--Emva--></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    With the rest of east Jerusalem the shrine was occupied by Israel in the 1967 war. Now the compound is run by the Muslim Waqf authorities under Israeli security control.
    The Waqf resumed working this week, using a mechanical digger on a metre-deep trench, cutting through the subsoil and piling it up beside the trench.
    Israeli archaeologists say such material should be carefully sifted and documented, as it would be even at sites of far less significance than this most sensitive cultural and religious location.
    Gabriel Barkai of the Committee Against the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount calls it an act of barbarism.
    "They are digging in the most crucial and delicate point of the Temple Mount - of the whole country," the Bar-Ilan University senior lecturer told the BBC.
    "They should be using a toothbrush, not a bulldozer."
    Living shrine
    Dr Barkai identifies the area currently under excavation as the outer courts of the Second Temple, built by Herod the Great in the First Century BC.
    He maintains it is where the best preservation of antiquities was anticipated, since other parts of the compound are built on exposed bedrock.
    He accuses the Islamic authorities of wanting to "show who is the boss" by destroying Jewish remains in al-Aqsa mosque.
    He also lambastes the Israeli Antiquities Authority, meant to supervise any work at archaeological sites, for apparently giving the work legitimacy.
    Yusuf Natsheh of the Islamic Waqf dismisses such claims, saying the area has been dug many times and arguing that remains unearthed would be from the 16th or 17th century Ottoman period.
    He says the work is urgently needed to maintain the al-Aqsa compound as an important religious institution.
    Saturated by history
    "We regret some Israeli groups try to use archaeology to achieve political ends," Dr Natsheh told the BBC.
    "But their rules of archaeology do not apply to the Haram (compound); it is a living religious site in an occupied land."
    The Israeli Antiquities Authority has not commented on the issue. "They filled their mouths with water," as Dr Barkai puts it.
    "The earth here is saturated by history. All we can do is alert the world to what is happening and try to stop the next disaster," he says.
    As far as Dr Natsheh is concerned the Israeli government has no authority over what is happening, as the Muslim authorities do not recognise its legitimacy in the occupied territory. "We inform the Israeli police about what we intend to do, and then go ahead, so they have no excuse to prevent us," he says.
  28. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    France ready to apologise to Iraq
    French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has offered to apologise to Iraq if he had meddled in its affairs.

    The statement comes a day after Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Maliki demanded an official apology because Mr Kouchner had suggested he resign.
    Meanwhile President Nicolas Sarkozy has called for a clear timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq.
    He was making what was described as his first major foreign policy speech since becoming president in May.
    Mr Sarkozy said such a timetable would force the various Iraqi parties to accept responsibility for the country's future.
    'Fresh look'

    <TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD width=5></TD><TD class=fact><!--Smva-->If the prime minister wants me to apologise for having interfered so directly in Iraqi affairs, I'll do it willingly
    <!--Emva--><!--Smva-->French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner <!--Emva--><!--So-->
    Last week Mr Kouchner said the Iraqi government was "not functioning" and was quoted saying he had told the US that there was strong support in Iraq for Mr Maliki to resign and he "has got to be replaced".
    In an interview with RTL radio on Monday, Mr Kouchner said: "I think that he [Mr Maliki] misunderstood, or that I was not clear enough that I was referring to comments I heard from Iraqis I talked to."
    "If the prime minister wants me to apologise for having interfered so directly in Iraqi affairs, I'll do it willingly," he said.
    Mr Kouchner visited Baghdad last week to promote France's role in efforts to solve the Iraq crisis and mend relations with Washington damaged by France's opposition to the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.
    In an article in Monday's International Herald Tribune, Mr Kouchner said France was well-placed to "provide a fresh look" at Iraq.
    "A broad-based government of national unity must be established," he wrote. "France is prepared to act as a mediator in this endeavour."
    'Magnificent performance'
    On Sunday, the White House welcomed a new pledge by Iraqi leaders to take steps to help national reconciliation.
    Leading Shia, Kurdish and Sunni politicians signed a reconciliation deal on Sunday and held further talks where they reported progress towards agreement on holding provincial elections and easing a ban on former Baath party members.
    But there was more criticism from US politicians, with Republican Senator John Warner saying Mr Maliki and his government had utterly failed to improve security while US troops had performed "magnificently".
    Mr Warner said the Senate would wait for next month's update on the US troop surge, supposed give the Iraqi government extra time to make political progress, before making any moves. But he added that US military support for Iraq's Shia-led government must be re-evaluated because of what he said was its failure to deliver greater security and sectarian reconciliation.
  29. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Yahoo plea over China rights case
    Internet giant Yahoo has asked a US court to dismiss a lawsuit accusing it of complicity in rights abuses and acts of torture in China.

    The firm filed a motion for dismissal saying its Chinese subsidiary had no choice but to comply with local laws.
    Yahoo is being sued by the World Organization for Human Rights for sharing information about its users with the Chinese government.
    The information has led to the arrests of writers and dissidents.
    One journalist cited in the case was tracked down and jailed for 10 years for subversion after Yahoo passed on his e-mail and IP address to officials.
    Ethical responsibilities
    In its 40-page response to the lawsuit, filed with a federal court in San Francisco, Yahoo acknowledged releasing information to the Chinese government.

    <TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD width=5></TD><TD class=fact><!--Smva-->Even if it was lawful in China, that does not take away from Yahoo's obligation to follow... US law and international legal standards as well,
    <!--Emva--><!--Smva-->Morton Sklar
    World Organization for Human Rights <!--Emva--></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

    But it argued that there was little connection between the information the firm gave and the ensuing arrests and imprisonment of its users.
    Yahoo said that while it did not condone the suppression of people's liberties, the firm had been compelled by local laws to hand over the information that was requested.
    "Defendants cannot be expected, let alone ordered to violate another nation's laws," the company said in its filing.
    But Morton Sklar of the World Organization for Human Rights said the company had failed to meet its ethical responsibilities.
    "Even if it was lawful in China, that does not take away from Yahoo's obligation to follow not just Chinese law, but US law and international legal standards as well, when they do business abroad," he said.
    De-listed sites
    The human rights group brought the case on behalf of several plaintiffs, including the Chinese journalist, Shi Tao, and another named Wang Xiaoning.
    Shi Tao, who worked for the Contemporary Business News in China, was jailed for 10 years in 2005 for "divulging state secrets".

    He is believed to have posted an internal Communist Party message warning journalists about the dangers of social unrest resulting from the return of dissidents for the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square uprising.
    Wang Xiaoning was also given a 10 year sentence for "incitement to subvert state power" after publishing pro-democracy material online.
    The BBC's David Willis in California says the case has prompted debate about the responsibility of US internet companies to protect the anonymity of users in the countries in which they operate.
    Yahoo is not the only internet company accused of collaborating with the Chinese authorities, which operate strict laws to regulate the internet.
    Rival Google freely admits to blocking politically sensitive items on their China website.
    Whole websites - including media sources - are eliminated from Yahoo and Google in China.
    De-listed sites are skipped over when the search engine trawls the web for results. The internet firms argue it is better to offer Chinese users some information than none at all.
  30. cranberry

    cranberry BoltTalker

    Oct 3, 2006
    Thank you Powder Love
    for such a lot of world news. I like to read newspapers every morning
    but do you think visitors on bolttalk are interested in reading
    political news from all over the world.

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