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« Reply #1785 on: June 30, 2006, 07:10:01 AM »

 Court opens new front in War on Terror
By Richard Allen Greene
BBC News, Washington


The Supreme Court has pulled the rug out from under President George W Bush in dramatic fashion with its verdict that he has no authority to try terror suspects in military tribunals.


And in his first public appearance after the announcement - alongside Japan's Junichiro Koizumi - he showed how rattled he was by the news.
"It was not always a given that the United States and America would have a close relationship," he said, trying to highlight the remarkable turnaround in relations between the US and Japan - not America - since World War II.

And his annoyance showed a moment later when not just one but two reporters asked him about the ruling.

He said he had not had time to take it in, finishing his answer to the second journalist with: "I'm sorry you wasted your question."

Senate support

But while the 5-3 decision on the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay may have thrown the president off his stride, his Senate allies soon showed they were prepared to leap hurdles to support him.

Bill Frist - Mr Bush's personal choice to lead the Republicans in the Senate, and a man who hopes to replace him in the White House - declared that he would press for a law giving the president the power to do what the Supreme Court said he could not.


Sen Arlen Specter, a moderate Republican who chairs the powerful judiciary committee, moved even faster.
Within hours of the Supreme Court ruling, he introduced an "Unprivileged Combatant Act" which would, he said, balance "the need for national security with the need to afford detainees with sufficient due process".

Predictably, defenders of the roughly 450 detainees at Guantanamo Bay hailed the Supreme Court ruling.

"Any real lawyer who isn't part of the administration knows this violates the Geneva Conventions," said Michael Mori, a military lawyer defending Guantanamo detainee David Hicks.

But the president has made it clear that he will continue trying to find a way to try the detainees by military tribunal rather than releasing them, giving them courts martial or prosecuting them in the civilian court system.

No early release

And even some of his critics implicitly concede that a change in the law may make that possible.

Democratic Sen Carl Levin said in a statement that the court ruling "firmly and appropriately establishes that the president acting alone lacks the power to unilaterally determine basic legal rights of detainees at Guantanamo Bay".


But note the caveats about the president "acting alone" and "unilaterally".
Sen Levin seems to leave open the possibility that Congress could change the law to support the president - as, indeed, the Supreme Court did in its verdict.

The court's ruling was about the powers of the president, not - technically - about the treatment of the detainees, and certainly not about the authority of Congress

Whatever the administration's next move, the Supreme Court ruling does nothing to speed the release of the detainees.

In fact, Bush spokesman Tony Snow said it might do just the opposite, keeping them there longer as the White House tries to figure out how to move forward.

Part of the problem is that it does not know what to do even with those it would like to release.

The US is afraid some will face torture in their own countries if they are sent home.

Others, it fears, will engage in attacks on Americans targets if they are freed.

And it remains determined to try some in military tribunals rather than open court so as not to reveal classified information.

In theory, the Supreme Court verdict gives the White House the option of doing nothing, simply leaving the men in Guantanamo indefinitely.

But that would definitely be challenged in court.

Wider implications

In fact, the Supreme Court verdict may have opened the way for challenges to other aspects of the "Global War on Terror", such as the alleged mistreatment of prisoners from Guantanamo to Abu Ghraib, Marty Lederman of Georgetown University Law school said.

The ruling explicitly said the Geneva Conventions apply to the detainees at Guantanamo Bay - something the administration has steadfastly denied.

"The [military] commissions are the least of it," Mr Lederman wrote in his Supreme Court blog.

"This almost certainly means that the CIA's interrogation regime is unlawful, and indeed, that many techniques the Administration has been using, such as waterboarding and hypothermia (and others) violate the War Crimes Act."

Other analysts have speculated that the ruling may have implications for the administration's surveillance of banking transfers and phone calls.

In other words, the White House may suddenly find itself fighting a raft of new legal battles as it prosecutes its ongoing war on terror.

Court opens new front in War on Terror
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« Reply #1786 on: June 30, 2006, 07:24:12 AM »

Dutch government collapses

By Lucas van Grinsven and Nicola Leske 2 hours, 7 minutes ago

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The collapse of the Dutch center-right government over immigration policy will lead to an opposition Labour victory in early elections likely to be held in a few months, an opinion poll showed on Friday.

Dutch prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende is set to hand in his government's resignation to Queen Beatrix on Friday, after a small party in his ruling coalition quit over the handling of the citizenship of a Somali-born Dutch lawmaker.

Before new elections expected as early as September or October, a minority government based on the two remaining parties in Balkenende's coalition was expected to rule, with the help of rightwing parties.

But Labour is set to grab 44 of the 150 parliamentary seats in the expected autumn elections, according to opinion polls.

This would be well ahead of either party in Balkenende's remaining coalition, the VVD and CDA, which would win up to 33 seats and 38 seats respectively, according to opinion polls if elections were held now.

But the polls show that it would be uncertain whether Labour could build a majority coalition of leftwing parties.

"Current polls show that we could have a left wing government after new elections, although it will be a close call," said economist Aline Schuiling at Fortis, adding that Labour could possibly govern with smaller leftist parties.

If Labour linked up with the Green Left and the Socialist Party, the three would not have a majority right now, needing another five to 10 seats.

The opinion polls show that Balkenende's former junior coalition D66 party, which caused the government's collapse, will be reduced to three seats from six.

SWING TO LEFT

In local elections three months ago, Dutch voters backed leftwing parties, rejecting anti-immigration populists and ruling center-right parties blamed for an economic slump.

Elections were not normally scheduled until May 2007 and the third collapse of a government since 2002 came amid rising public concerns over immigration and security. Such concerns helped Balkenende's center-right government take power, albeit through a fragile coalition, in 2003.

Balkenende's government has prided itself on tough restructuring of the welfare state and had planned a series of windfalls for its citizens in its last year in power. Early elections may make it unable to reap enough benefit.

"This was supposed to be the harvest year for this coalition government. The economy has just started to recover and CDA and VVD are slowly regaining lost ground in the polls," daily broadsheet De Volkskrant said.

In recent polls by Interview NSS/NOVA and Peil.nl Balkenende's Christian Democrats would lose six to nine of their 44 seats, and the D66 half its seats, while the VVD Liberals would gain three to five seats if elections were held now.

Labour's likely closest allies, the Socialists and Green Left, would also stand to gain.

The trigger for the government collapse was Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk's threat to revoke the Dutch citizenship of Ayaan Hirsi Ali after the popular politician admitted to lying about her name, age and refugee status on her arrival in the Netherlands in 1992.

Verdonk withdrew the threat after Hirsi Ali submitted a statement saying she had not intended to lie to authorities and that her chosen name, Hirsi Ali, was valid because it was taken from her grandfather according to Somali customs.

D66 pulled the plug on the ruling coalition at the end of a two-day debate saying Verdonk's policies and actions went beyond the limits of public credibility.

Dutch government collapses
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« Reply #1787 on: July 01, 2006, 04:32:19 PM »

Witch School Opens in Midwestern Town
City Residents Petitioned and Prayed to Keep it Away
By DURRELL DAWSON, ABCNews.com

(June 30) - In the "Harry Potter" series, the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry sits in a mystical Scotland location, shrouded by magic that hides it from unknowing humans.

Starting Saturday, in the unlikeliest of places, a real witch school opens its doors to the public in a place known as the Sweet Corn Capital of the World.

After almost five years of existence on the Internet, Witch School is expected to operate under normal business hours in the town of Hoopeston, Ill., about 100 miles south of Chicago.

The school is dedicated to educating the public in Wicca, a neo-Pagan religion that incorporates nature and magic into its theology. Until now the school has existed almost entirely on the Internet.

Ed Hubbard, the school's CEO and director, was lured to Hoopeston by what have been considered to be some of the lowest real estate prices in the country.

The town is known primarily for its annual Sweet Corn Festival; its high school mascot known as the Cornjerker; and the National Sweetheart Pageant, which has produced eight Miss America winners.

The town could soon be known as a Pagan colony, after Witch School starts letting visitors utilize its ritual space, view the studio where it produces videos for the Internet, and peruse its library of religious, metaphysical and historical texts.

It's a humble beginning, Hubbard says. The school is adorned with a "Witch School" sign and has maintained a quiet presence since moving to Hoopeston in 2003. He says that with an estimated 30 new students to 50 new students registering on the Web site every day, the "cyberministry" is rapidly growing.

The school has roughly 120,000 active students who enroll in Witch School's Internet courses, which range from Druid and Celtic history to crystal and gem magic, Hubbard says. Students then take at least one test a month to stay active and can eventually become an accredited member of the clergy.

"We're really getting to be a functional community," Hubbard said of the increasing presence of Witch School online. The school is also increasing its visibility in Hoopeston.

Not-So-Warm Welcome

When Hubbard first announced plans to house Witch School in Hoopeston, population 6,000, it caused an uproar among some residents, who feared the school would bring notoriety to the central Illinois town.

In 2003 as he finalized plans to move from Chicago to Hoopeston, residents of the town and its surrounding areas mobilized, signing petitions in opposition to the school and lobbying the City Council to try to stop it.

"We did what we felt was our place to do at the time," said Pastor Steve Nelson of Hoopeston's First Baptist Church. He was one of several pastors who had held prayer meetings outside of Witch School's property.

Nelson says the people of Hoopeston are all too often reminded of the school's presence, because it occupies a former brick horse stable and it is in the middle of town near the Hoopeston Civic Center.

Still, he says he has come to accept the school as a permanent fixture and moved on, even though he doesn't approve of Wiccan beliefs.

"I just disagree with their anti-God approach and feel it's not good for our community," he said. "When given the opportunity, I would speak against it."

Witch School isn't the only Wicca-friendly business that has been lured to Hoopeston by low real estate prices.

Witch School Opens in Midwestern Town
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« Reply #1788 on: July 01, 2006, 04:35:05 PM »

Pakistani police rescue bride aged 9 wed to pay debt
(Reuters)

30 June 2006


KARACHI - Police in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province have rescued a nine-year-old girl who was married off by her father to clear a debt for 400 kg (880 lb) of rice.

Both the father, Jan Mohammad, and her husband of four days, Abdul Sattar, a man of around 60, have been arrested and will appear in court on Saturday, a senior officer said.

“The marriage has taken place but the girl is underage,” police officer Masroor Ahmed Jatoi in Jacobabad district, 480 Km (300 miles) north of Karachi, told Reuters on Friday.

“She was given as compensation by her father, so we are treating it as a criminal case,” said Jatoi.

The girl, Wahida, has been sent for medical examination, and would be transferred to a care centre until a court decides where she will be best looked after.

Her father had stood as guarantor for a friend who bought the rice on credit, but when the debt put at 50,000 rupees ($833) was not paid, the trader demanded that Mohammad give his daughter in marriage to his elder brother as compensation, Jatoi said.

Human rights activist and lawyer Rashid Rehman said the law bars marriages of girls under 14 and boys under 16.

“The law has defined the ages clearly. There is also a law that prevents children and women from being given in any form of compensation to settle a dispute or blood feud,” Rehman said, adding that the court could declare the marriage void.

The government says it promotes the rights of women, but it is still common in rural areas, where feudal and tribal ways hold sway, for girls to be given as compensation to settle disputes.

Earlier this week, Pakistan’s Supreme Court stopped five minor girls from being handed over as compensation in a double murder case and ordered the police to conduct an inquiry.

Pakistani police rescue bride aged 9 wed to pay debt
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« Reply #1789 on: July 01, 2006, 06:15:14 PM »

Quote
Dreamweaver Said:

Witch School Opens in Midwestern Town
City Residents Petitioned and Prayed to Keep it Away
By DURRELL DAWSON, ABCNews.com

WOW! - another sickening sign of the times! What we are really seeing is the devil coming out of the shadows and demanding acceptance and respect. To our suprise, he's getting it in some places, but a battle will be fought in many places. We can pray, pray some more, put on the armor of GOD, and keep standing until HE comes to take us home. Christians know a secret: the devil has NO REST, and the LORD of HOSTS HIMSELF will fight the final battles.

Psalms 125:3 NASB  For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest upon the land of the righteous, So that the righteous will not put forth their hands to do wrong.
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« Reply #1790 on: July 02, 2006, 11:48:58 PM »

Jihadist site: Soccer is against Islam

UK jihadists attack 'religion of soccer,' warn Muslims against taking part in 'colonial crusader scheme'
Yaakov Lappin

A British jihadist website has warned Muslims against being drawn in to what they described as "the new religion of soccer."

The Saved Sect website, which calls on Muslims to work to establish an Islamic state in Britain, has attacked "football fever," saying that soccer has "captivated the masses, dedicating their time and effort towards it."

Comparing the allegiance of soccer fans to Islam and jihad, the organization said: "Football is the deen (religion) by which people live their lives by and are willing to die for. Their jihad is to fight against those who are arch rivals against their team. Their da'wah (call, invitation) is to publicize, defend and justify their team, inviting others to support them in this."

"People will spend hundreds and thousands of pounds for this religion of theirs, traveling to other parts of the world in support of their team… showing affection, supporting and caring about… They will jump down the throats of those who so much as even dare to criticize their god rising to defend it at all costs," the Saved Sect website said.

Claiming that soccer plants the seeds of nationalism, and is therefore part of a "colonial crusader scheme" to divide Muslims and cause them to stray from the vision of a unified Islamic identity, the website told readers: "The sad fact of the matter is that many Muslims have fallen for this new religion and they too carry the national flag.

The statement, aimed at calling on British Muslims to disassociate themselves with the World Cup in Germany, ended with a quote by Islam's prophet, Muhammad, condemning nationalism.

Jihadist site: Soccer is against Islam

« Last Edit: July 02, 2006, 11:50:54 PM by DreamWeaver » Logged

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« Reply #1791 on: July 02, 2006, 11:55:31 PM »

UK Islamists: Make Jihad on Israel

British Jihad group declares 'Israel is cancer, Islam is answer,' calls on followers to carry out holy war
Yaakov Lappin

Radical Muslims in Britain have blasted Hamas for failing to carry out a "real" Islamic holy war, and have called for a Jihad against Israel following the recent escalation of the Israeli – Palestinian conflict in the Gaza Strip.

A number of British-based Muslim organizations have in recent days called on followers to wage war on Israel.

"What the Jews are doing in Palestine today will no doubt disturb any true Muslim," a statement authored by 'Abdul Aziz al-Dimashqi' said on the website of the Saved Sect group.

"However, what hurts us equally as much is to see the Muslims in Palestine calling for an independent Palestinian state, Palestinian constitutions, man-made law, democracy, freedom and so on. Hamas… have no intention of establishing the sharia (Islamic code), and are only concerned with having their own nationalistic state," the statement said.

In a direct warning to Hamas, the Jihadists organization wrote: "The Messenger of Allah also promised humiliation and disgrace for those who abandon jihad and become busy with the worldly life and seeking wealth."

The group also said that there few "real mujaahideen (holy fighters) in Palestine at the moment."

Calling on Muslims around the world to answer the call for jihad, the statement concluded: "If a terrorist is a person who resists occupation, calls for the implementation of Islam and fights for his rights, then we are terrorists."

In an earlier statement, the same group said that "Israel is a cancer, Islam is the answer."

During protests against the Danish cartoons of Islam's prophet, Muhammad, members of the organization held similar signs declaring that "Europe is a cancer." British police have since made a number of arrests of those suspected of organizing the demonstration.

'Fight, don't boycott'

"The only solution and divine method to liberate Muslim land is jihad. Jihad, in sharia, means fighting, not boycotting Coca-Cola or Fanta, and definitely not voting for man-made laws – as suggested by many hypocrites," the Saved Sect declared.

The organization also said that Jihad was a means to bring about its long-term vision of an enormous Islamic state occupying the whole of the Middle East.

"The Khilaafah (Islamic state) is undoubtedly the permanent solution for the Muslim Ummah," the statement said.

In pro-Jihad forums used by British Muslims, anti-Israel hatred peppered discussions.

"I'm so fed up with these dirty, filthy Israeli dogs. May Allah curse them and destroy them all, and may they face the same fate as Banu Qurayzah!" Wrote one user on the Muntadaa Islamist forum.

Qurayzah was the name of a seventh century Jewish tribe living in the Arabian Peninsula whose members were said to be killed by Islam's prophet.

British Muslims: Make Jihad on Israel
=======================================

Are Muslims becoming the new voice of Europe?
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« Reply #1792 on: July 03, 2006, 12:57:54 AM »

Saddam's wife, daughter on wanted list

By BUSHRA JUHI, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 28 minutes ago

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Saddam Hussein's wife and eldest daughter are among 41 people on the Iraqi government's most wanted list, along with the new leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, a top official announced Sunday.

National security adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie also said the former al-Qaida boss, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, had been buried secretly in Baghdad despite his family's demand that the body be returned to Jordan. Al-Zarqawi died June 7 from a U.S. airstrike northeast of Baghdad.

Al-Rubaie told reporters the government was releasing the most wanted list "so that our people can know their enemies."

Saddam's wife, Sajida Khairallah Tulfah, was No. 17, just behind the ousted leader's eldest daughter, Raghad. Sajida is believed to be in Qatar, and Raghad lives in Jordan, where she was given refuge by King Abdullah II.

"We have contacted all the neighboring countries and they know what we want. Some of these countries are cooperating with us," al-Rubaie said. "We will chase them inside and outside Iraq. We will chase them one after the other."

Iraqi officials have long alleged that Saddam's relatives who fled the country have been financing insurgent groups linked to the former ruling Baath party. Raghad has played a leading role in organizing her father's legal defense against charges stemming from his 23-year rule.

Jordanian Prime Minister Marouf Al-Bakhit said Sunday Raghad was not engaging in any political or media activities in Jordan.

"Raghad Saddam Hussein and her children are in Jordan for purely humanitarian reasons, hosted and protected by the Hashemite (Jordanian Royal Family) as foreigners," al-Bakhit said in remarks carried by Jordan's official Petra news agency.

Al-Bakhit said Jordan had not received any official request from Iraq with regard to Raghad's wanted status.

The No. 1 spot on the list went to Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, formerly Saddam's top lieutenant and the highest-ranking regime figure to elude capture. The U.S. has offered $10 million for al-Douri, who is alleged to be among the key organizers of the insurgency.

Although U.S. and Iraqi officials often draw attention to religious extremists in the insurgency, such as the members of al-Qaida in Iraq, most of those on the list had close links to Saddam's regime. They include Baath party leaders, intelligence officials and Republican Guard officers.

No. 30 on the list is Abu Ayyub al-Masri, also known as Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, who was endorsed by Osama bin Laden as leader of al-Qaida's operations in Iraq in an audiotape posted Saturday on the Internet.

The government offered a $50,000 reward for al-Masri. Last week, the U.S. administration approved a reward up to $5 million for al-Masri, who is believed to be Egyptian.

"Those people are carrying out bombings and random killings as they aim to inflict damage on the Iraqi people and ignite a sectarian war between Shiites and Sunnis," al-Rubaie said.

Al-Zarqawi was blamed for many of Iraq's worst terror bombings before he was killed.

Confirming Al-Zarqawi burial, the U.S. military said only that he had been interred "in accordance with Muslim customs and traditions." It gave no more details, saying the issue was in the hands of the Iraqi government.

Al-Rubaie told The Associated Press that al-Zarqawi's body was in a secret grave in the capital but would give no other information.

In neighboring Jordan, al-Zarqawi's older brother demanded the body be sent to his homeland and accused President Bush's administration of lying about the burial.

"Bush took his body to the United States," Sayel al-Khalayleh told AP from his home in Zarqa. "Even if he is buried in Iraq, we will continue to ask for the body to be transferred and buried in Jordan. He should be buried in his own country."

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a member of Iraq's Shiite majority, was touring neighboring countries to bolster support for his new government and assure Sunni Arab leaders of his commitment to reconciliation among Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds.

He was holding talks after a deadly car bomb exploded Saturday at an outdoor market in a Shiite district of Baghdad, killing at least 66 people and wounding about 100. It was the deadliest attack since the new national unity government took office in May.

Al-Maliki met Saturday night with Saudi King Abdullah and Crown Prince Sultan, who expressed their support for his government, according to the official Saudi news agency.

Iraq's Arab neighbors fear sectarian tensions could spill over into their countries, which are dominated by Sunnis but have Shiite communities.

The Iraqi leader told the independent Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas that if his government falters in the battle against terrorism, "there will be no Iraq left."

Al-Maliki's reconciliation initiative includes an offer of amnesty to many of the fighters the insurgency, which is dominated by the disgruntled Sunni Arab minority.

Spokesmen for two insurgent groups — the Islamic Army in Iraq and the 1920 Revolution Brigade — told Al-Jazeera television Sunday that they would reject the initiative unless it included a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S.-led forces.

The spokesman for the Islamic Army, Ibrahim al-Shammari, also called for direct talks between insurgents and the United States.

Another militant leader, Abu Abdullah Rashid al-Baghdadi of the Mujahideen Shura Council — an umbrella group that includes al-Qaida in Iraq — urged Sunni insurgents to stay away from talks aimed at persuading them to abandon their weapons.

"We call on all the honest and faithful brigades who have chosen jihad to stick to their stances and be patient," said the statement read by a council spokesman, Abu Ammar al-Dulaimi. The message, the authenticity of which could not be verified, was posted on a Web site frequently used by militant groups.

Al-Maliki's government has so far made little progress in healing the rift between Shiites and Sunnis, which has widened dramatically recently.

The largest Sunni Arab bloc in parliament announced Sunday it was suspending participation until a Sunni female lawmaker was freed by kidnappers who seized her and seven bodyguards in a Shiite part of eastern Baghdad on Saturday. Sunni politician gotcha98 al-Dulaimi urged other lawmakers to join the boycott, saying security officials bore responsibility for Tayseer al-Mashhadani's abduction.

Moderate Shiite legislator Iyad Jamal al-Din also survived an assassination attempt on Sunday when a roadside bomb missed his convoy in Baghdad.

Saddam's wife, daughter on wanted list
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« Reply #1793 on: July 03, 2006, 01:00:36 AM »

Mexico presidential race too close to call

By TRACI CARL, Associated Press Writer 10 minutes ago

MEXICO CITY - Mexico's presidential election was too close to call Sunday, with a leftist offering himself as a savior to the poor and a conservative free-trader both declaring themselves the winner. Officials said they won't know who won for days.

Electoral officials said they could not release the results of Sunday night's quick count of the votes, which they previously said would happen only if the leading candidates were within one percentage point of each other. Luis Carlos Ugalde, president of the Federal Electoral Institute, said an official count would begin Wednesday, and a winner will be declared once it's complete.

Felipe Calderon, 43, of outgoing President Vicente Fox's National Action Party, had been running an exceedingly close race with Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, 52, of the leftist Democratic Revolution Party. The Institutional Revolutionary Party's Roberto Madrazo, 53, had been trailing in third place.

Fox appealed for calm amid fears that a close result would raise the potential for violence.

Thousands of Lopez Obrador supporters, waiting for hours in the cold rain in Mexico City's central plaza, began shouting "Fraud! Fraud!" when Ugalde came on live television to announce the delay. Lopez Obrador said late Sunday that he would respect the delay in declaring a winner, "but I want the Mexican people to know that our figures show we won."

Calderon spoke minutes later, saying he too will respect the results — but that the official preliminary results, as well as the exit polls, show that he's the winner.

"We have no doubt that we have won," he said.

The race exposed deep divisions between Mexico's rich and poor in a nation desperately trying to match the success of its northern neighbor.

Mexico presidential race too close to call
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« Reply #1794 on: July 03, 2006, 01:05:35 AM »

Russia Warns Against NATO Taking in Former Soviet Ukraine and Georgia

Created: 08.06.2006 10:27 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 12:21 MSK

MosNews

Russia warned against NATO taking in the former Soviet republics of Ukraine and Georgia, saying such a colossal geopolitical shift would threaten relations, the AFP news agency reported.

“Membership in NATO for countries like Ukraine or Georgia would mean a colossal geopolitical shift,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said during questioning in the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament.

“We evaluate all possible consequences first and foremost from the point of view of the national interest of Russia, interests in the area of security, our economic interests and interests in relations with countries which relate to Russia in one way or another,” Lavrov said.

The Russian parliament, often a mouthpiece for the Kremlin, passed a resolution Wednesday which stated: “Ukraine’s accession to the military bloc will lead to very negative consequences for relations between our fraternal peoples.”

The statements came as 200 U.S. troops, who are in the predominantly Russian-speaking southern Ukrainian region of Crimea to prepare for NATO exercises due to start next Wednesday, remained stuck in their barracks, The Guardian reported. Protesters greeted their arrival last week with barricades and slogans reading “occupiers go home!”, and reportedly harass them if they step outside the military base.

The marine reservists are in the region to prepare for the Sea Breeze 2006 NATO maneuvers in the Black Sea, intended as a key sign of the West’s slow embrace of Ukraine. The Crimean parliament declared the region a “NATO-free zone” on Tuesday, a move it said was intended to support the anti-NATO protests.

Brent Byers, a spokesman for the U.S. embassy in Kiev, said the unarmed troops, who are working on the Feodosiya military base’s plumbing and other infrastructure, could not leave the barracks. “They are safe and sound and anxious to get on with their work,” he said, adding they were keeping a low profile to avoid inciting tensions. “We really don’t understand what is going on down there,” he said. “They would like to get out to enjoy the restaurants and buy some souvenirs.”

Ukraine’s NATO ambitions are long-standing and were entertained by President Viktor Yushchenko’s predecessor, Leonid Kuchma, who was unseated in the so-called orange revolution in November 2004. But pro-western protests that ushered Yushchenko into power have heightened Kremlin sensitivities about losing influence over former Soviet satellites.

Russia Warns Against NATO Taking in Former Soviet Ukraine and Georgia
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« Reply #1795 on: July 03, 2006, 01:07:33 AM »

Russia to Expand Atomic Energy Home and Abroad

Created: 02.07.2006 11:19 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 16:35 MSK, 16 hours 28 minutes ago

MosNews

Russia is planning to expand the share of atomic energy in its total energy consumption from the current 16 percent to up to 24 percent in the coming decade, Minister for Energy and Industry Viktor Khristenko quoted by AP has revealed.

“In the next 13 years within the overall growth of energy consumption in Russia the share of atomic energy will increase from today’s level of 16 percent to reach almost 23 or 24 percent,” Khristenko said in a transcript of a television interview released Saturday by the state-run RIA-Novosti news agency.

Russia will start building new atomic energy reactors next year, with the reactors due to begin operating in 2011 or 2012, Khristenko said, without stating the overall number of reactors to be built.

The head of Russia’s atomic energy agency, Sergei Kiriyenko, said in an interview published Saturday that the top priority was to replace a reactor at the Leningrad power station in northwest Russiarts.

Second in line was construction of a new reactor at the Volgodonsk power station in southern Russia, followed by construction of a new reactor at the Kalininsk power station in the western province of Tver, Kiriyenko told the Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper.

Russia is keen to expand its nuclear industry at home and abroad and has made bringing energy to developing countries a theme of its chairmanship of the G8 (Group of Eight) nations.

Moscow is building Iran’s first nuclear power station at Bushehr, in the southwest of the country, amid international criticism of Iran’s nuclear program.

Russia to Expand Atomic Energy Home and Abroad
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« Reply #1796 on: July 03, 2006, 01:08:18 PM »

North Korea vows "annihilating strike" if attacked
Mon Jul 3, 2006 5:51am ET172


SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea ratcheted up the rhetoric in its war of words with Washington by promising an "annihilating strike" with its nuclear deterrent should the United States launch an attack, its media said on Monday.

Over the weekend, North Korea said it would bolster its deterrent in response to a U.S. threat, marking the first time it has so specifically mentioned the subject since a crisis began over its suspected plans to test-fire a long-range missile.

"The army and people of the DPRK are now in full preparedness to answer a pre-emptive attack with a relentless annihilating strike and a nuclear war with a mighty nuclear deterrent," its communist party newspaper said on Monday.

DPRK is short for North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The report carried on the KCNA news agency said the U.S. had increased tension by bringing new spy planes to the peninsula.

North Korea said in February 2005 it possessed nuclear weapons. It has threatened to build up its nuclear arsenal several times since then in response to what it perceived as increased U.S. threats.

U.S. officials have said North Korea is preparing to test a long-range ballistic missile that some experts say could reach parts of the United States.

North Korea vows "annihilating strike" if attacked
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« Reply #1797 on: July 08, 2006, 09:38:08 AM »

 India to test-fire Agni-III shortly
New Delhi, July 8, IRNA

India-Agni-III-Test-fire
India's most sophisticated intermediate- range ballistic missile 'Agni' is likely to be test-fired shortly, defence sources hinted.

Preparations were on for launching of the missile from the intergrated test range at Wheeler Island off the Orissa coast, a PTI report said here quoting sources.

However, they refused to confirm whether it would be Agni-III which was to be launched.

Recently, M Natarajan, scientific advisor to Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, had revealed that Agni-III, which is capable of hitting targets more than 4,000 kilometers away, was technically ready for launch.

The nuclear-capable, surface-based Agni-III with solid and liquid propellent has never been fired and tests have repeatedly been put off since November 2004.

Other Agni missiles, AGNI-I (700-800-km range) and Agni-II (2,000-km range) had already been inducted into the army as part of the country's minimum deterrent.

The integrated test range in Wheeler island was recently visited by President A P J Abdul Kalam during his three-day visit to Orissa.

The launchpad in the island is referred to as launch complex IV while part of the test range is located at Chandipur-on-sea in Balasore district.

India to test-fire Agni-III shortly
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« Reply #1798 on: July 08, 2006, 02:26:21 PM »

U.S. deploys missile destroyer to Japan

TOKYO, Japan (AP) -- A new top-of-the-line U.S. guided missile destroyer was deployed to Japan on Saturday, amid tensions over North Korea's missile tests.

The USS Mustin sailed into the port of Yokosuka, home to the Navy's 7th Fleet, with a crew of 300 for permanent assignment to the region, 7th Fleet spokeswoman Hanako Tomizuka said.

The Mustin, commissioned in 2003, is one of the most advanced in the fleet.

Its deployment to Yokosuka was previously planned and not in response to North Korea's missile tests, Tomizuka said.

Pyongyang stunned the region on Wednesday by test-firing seven missiles.

In August, Yokosuka will also welcome the USS Shiloh, which last month demonstrated its ability to shoot down missile warheads in a landmark test off the coast of Hawaii.

Both the Mustin and the Shiloh are equipped with radar systems that employ so-called Aegis technology, which is geared toward tracking and shooting down enemy missiles.

The system was instrumental in identifying and assessing Wednesday's missile launchings, which all fell apparently harmlessly into the Sea of Japan.

The U.S. Navy now has eight Aegis-equipped vessels at Yokosuka.

U.S. deploys missile destroyer to Japan
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« Reply #1799 on: July 08, 2006, 02:32:49 PM »

Hundreds in Rahat, Nazareth protest IDF's incursion into Gaza
By Yoav Stern, Haaretz Correspondent, and News Agencies

Hundreds of demonstrators took part in protest rallies Saturday in Nazareth as well as the Bedouin town of Rahat against the Israel Defense Forces' operation in the Gaza Strip.

In a march in Nazareth - which included Jewish supporters of the Hadash party - participants repeated the chant: "All government ministers are war criminals."

The Rahat rally was attended by council heads and leading Israeli-Arab figures in the Negev.

MK Talab al-Sana, the chairman of Ra'am-Ta'al Knesset faction, called on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to immediately accept Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's call for ceasefire negotiations and to remove IDF troops from Gaza.

"It's impossible to solve the problem by means of tanks, helicopters, and the killing of innocents," al-Sana said. "These are the deeds of pirates."

"It is possible to bring back [kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit] only through dialogue and negotiation," al-Sana said.

The Israeli-Arab leadership has expressed its fierce opposition to the IDF operations in Gaza. Since the outbreak of the latest crisis, Arab MKs have called on the government to enter talks with the Palestinians as well as to cease harming innocent civilians.

"Sooner or later, the government of Israel will release Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Gilad Shalit," Knesset Deputy Speaker MK Ahmed Tibi (Ra'am-Ta'al) told Radio Monte Carlo on Saturday. "Why not spare the bloodshed?"

Demonstrators stage protest, counter-protest in L.A.
Hundreds of Israeli and Palestinian supporters exchanged shouts across a busy street during demonstrations in response to recent violence in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian backers holding graphic signs showing Israeli soldiers involved in the conflict prayed outside a federal building in West Los Angeles on Friday.

Across the street, pro-Israel activists staged a counter-protest, waving American, English and Israeli flags and displaying Al-Qaida signs and fake rockets.

Israel launched an offensive almost two weeks ago after Palestinian militants carried out a brazen cross-border attack on a military outpost, capturing a 19-year-old Israeli soldier.

Indonesians protest IDF's incursion into Gaza
Hundreds of Muslims torched Israeli and U.S. flags in Indonesia's second-largest city on Saturday to protest Jerusalem's continuing military operation in the Palestinian territories.

The demonstrators briefly scuffled with police at the rally in front of the U.S. mission in Surabaya, 800 kilometers (600 miles) east of the capital, Jakarta, after trying to enter the building.

"The world has to stop the Israeli invasion," said Abdul Rohim, who helped organize the 300-strong protest. "Otherwise, the Jews and America will continue attacking Palestine and Muslims all over the world."

Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, has long supported Palestinian independence efforts and there is little affection for Israel across the nation of 220 million people.

Thousands march in Morocco
Thousands of Moroccans massed in Rabat on Saturday to demand Arab governments unite behind the Palestinians in light of an Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Organisers claimed 100,000 people turned out, but a government official said it was probably around half that.

"Arab people, rise up from the Atlantic to the Gulf," the demonstrators chanted. "Revolt against the dictators."

"Jews: Mohammed's soldiers will return," shouted a group of bearded Islamists.

U.S. ally Morocco, which supports an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel, helped broker secret peace talks between the two sides in the 1990s.

65 U.S. citizens leave Gaza Strip
Sixty-five U.S. citizens, many of Palestinian origin, left violence-torn Gaza on Saturday in a convoy escorted by U.S. diplomatic officials.

Many had been staying with relatives in Gaza and cut short their visits, spooked by the fighting.

The U.S. visitors left Gaza City in three white UN buses before dawn. After daybreak, they passed through the Erez crossing between Gaza and Israel, with Israeli officials checking the travelers' American passports against lists prepared by the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem.

On the Israeli side of Erez, they boarded two buses and were to be driven from there to Jordan, for a flight home, said Micaela Schweitzer-Bluhm, a consulate spokeswoman.

One U.S. citizen at the crossing, who gave her name as Haula Luzan, said she and her three children had been frightened by the sound of shelling and stun grenades.

The spokeswoman said it took nearly two weeks to arrange the exodus. She said about 150 Palestinian Americans had contacted the consulate, asking for help in getting out of Gaza.

Hundreds in Rahat, Nazareth protest IDF's incursion into Gaza
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