Thursday, December 20, 2007

CONFLICT & TERR0R 12/20

US approves 785 million dollar aid for PakistanPosted on Wednesday, December 19, 2007 at 5:39amThe US House of Representatives has passed a 785 million dollar aid package for Pakistan for the fiscal year 2008 despite its reservations over the state of emergency imposed on November 3. The US Senate is also expected to approve the package, which includes 300 million dollar of military assistance. The other major item on the approved list is that of 350 million dollar for economic support fund. Full Story

Senior Maoist 'arrested' in IndiaPosted on Wednesday, December 19, 2007 at 7:09amA senior Maoist leader has been arrested in the southern Indian state of Kerala, police say. Full Story

Hamas seeks truce talks with IsraelPosted on Wednesday, December 19, 2007 at 7:56amGaza's embattled Hamas leaders are seeking a cease-fire after months of Israeli attacks and sanctions, going so far as to make an unprecedented appeal through the Israeli media, a Hamas official confirmed Wednesday. Full Story

More than 30 political parties vie for parliamentary seats in Thai electionPosted on Wednesday, December 19, 2007 at 8:51amThailand has more than 30 political parties, and in all, 3,894 candidates are vying for parliamentary seats in Sunday's general elections. House-to-house canvassing in the Thai capital's Don Mueang district is how parliamentary candidate Thanawit Palakawong Na Ayutthaya reaches out to voters living outside the city centre. Full Story

Pakistan train mishap: 50 feared killedPosted on Wednesday, December 19, 2007 at 8:54amn express train crowded with holiday travellers derailed in southern Pakistan early on Wednesday morning killing at least 50 people and injuring many more. The overnight train was going from Karachi to Lahore when its bogies came off the tracks at Mehrabpur in Sindh province. Full Story

Lee claims S Korea election winPosted on Wednesday, December 19, 2007 at 9:10amLee Myung-bak has claimed victory in the South Korean general elections after initial results showed a landslide majority for his GNP party. Both his main rivals had earlier conceded defeat. Exit polls showed that Mr Lee, the candidate for the conservative GNP party, had won more than 50% of the vote. Full Story

Spanish court convicts 47 over links to armed group ETAPosted on Wednesday, December 19, 2007 at 9:13amSpain's anti-terrorism court Wednesday convicted 47 members of Basque separatist groups over their links to the armed organization ETA and sentenced them to prison terms of between two and 20 years each. The rulings were issued following the biggest ever trial linked to ETA, which lasted from November 2006 to last March. The 47 belong to various groups campaigning for Basque independence. Full Story

Suspected rebels bomb Sri Lanka trainPosted on Wednesday, December 19, 2007 at 9:18amSuspected rebels bombed a mail train in eastern Sri Lanka, a region the army said it liberated from Tamil Tiger control six-months ago. The bomb damaged the train engine but caused no casualties, said the military. Full Story

U.S. frees Iranian prisoner held in IraqPosted on Wednesday, December 19, 2007 at 9:44amThe United States has released one of about 10 Iranian prisoners it is holding in Iraq, U.S. forces and the Iranian embassy said on Wednesday. The embassy named the prisoner as Hayder Alami, while U.S. forces gave his name as Hadir Alwai Mohammed.

Both said the prisoner had been held since July 2004 and was freed on Tuesday. The U.S. detention of Iranians in Iraq is one of the issues dividing the two countries. The United States freed nine Iranian prisoners on Nov. 9 and said at the time that it had held 20. Full Story

Skirting the Abyss in IraqPosted on Wednesday, December 19, 2007 at 9:47amWith its volatile mix of Kurds, Turkmens and Arabs, this city is often described as a sectarian time bomb. But for now, the bomb is ticking a little more slowly thanks to that rare Iraqi event -- a compromise. Iraq has had too few of these political accommodations during its downward spiral over most of the past four years. But the Kirkuk deal announced yesterday illustrates that there can be virtuous cycles, too, even in a country as bitterly divided as this one. The success of the U.S. troop surge seems to be bolstering, ever so slightly, the advocates of conciliation and weakening the partisans of sectarian war. Full Story

Iran Continues to Support Shiite Militias in Iraq, Pentagon SaysPosted on Wednesday, December 19, 2007 at 9:49amA new Pentagon report has concluded that Iran continues to provide money, training and weapons to Shiite militias in Iraq, although U.S. commanders previously stated that attacks using lethal bombs linked to Iran have fallen in recent months. "There has been no identified decrease in Iranian training and funding of illegal Shi'a militias in Iraq," said the report, released yesterday. Full Story

Greek journalists strike over pension reformsPosted on Wednesday, December 19, 2007 at 9:51amGreek journalists' unions staged a 24-hour strike Wednesday, to protest pension fund reforms proposed by the conservative government. The strike  the second in a week  halted television, radio and Internet news programs and updates as well as the printing of newspapers. Full Story

Six unions representing state workers call Jan. 24 strike in FrancePosted on Wednesday, December 19, 2007 at 9:53amSix labor unions representing France's public sector workers announced Tuesday plans for a nationwide strike next month to demand higher pay. The walkout, planned for Jan. 24, follows three strikes this fall by transportation sector workers, which snarled road and rail traffic across the country. Full Story

Deal reached for 3-month interim government in BelgiumPosted on Wednesday, December 19, 2007 at 10:08amBelgian leaders cobbled together a five-party interim government Wednesday that will tackle urgent economic issues, ending a six-month political deadlock. The crisis had revealed how differently Dutch-speaking and Francophone Belgians see the future of their bilingual nation. Full Story

France Guantanamo five convictedPosted on Wednesday, December 19, 2007 at 10:21amFive Frenchmen who spent time at the US detention centre at Guantanamo Bay have been convicted of having links to terrorism by a court in Paris. All five were sentenced to one year in jail plus a suspended sentence, but will not return to jail having spent more than a year in US custody. Full Story

Israel considers new settlementPosted on Wednesday, December 19, 2007 at 10:25amIsrael says it is examining plans for a new settlement in East Jerusalem, after facing heavy criticism for expanding an existing Jewish settlement there. Housing minister Zeev Boim said it was a preliminary look at possible housing development in the Atarot area. He played down its significance, saying such checks were done year round on areas with building potential. Full Story

Guantanamo three detained in UKPosted on Wednesday, December 19, 2007 at 3:15pmThree British residents held by the US at Guantanamo Bay for four-and-a-half years have been detained after arriving back in the UK. Omar Deghayes and Abdenour Samuer were arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000 after they arrived at Luton Airport. Jamil el-Banna was not arrested but is being detained under the act and questioned at a Luton police station. Full Story

Philippine police arrest Egyptian 'bomber'Posted on Wednesday, December 19, 2007 at 4:34pmPolice in the southern Philippine city of Cotabato said on Wednesday they had arrested an Egyptian man allegedly plotting a bomb attack on Christmas day. The suspect, identified as Egyptian national Mohamad Sayed, was arrested on Tuesday during a raid on an apartment inside the Majad Islamic School in Cotabato, police said. Full Story

India, China hold counter-terror exercisesPosted on Wednesday, December 19, 2007 at 7:46pmIndia and China are set to begin five days of joint counter-terrorism exercises in an initiative to expand defense cooperation between the countries. The joint training exercises, held in Kunming, China, will focus largely on joint battle decision making and anti-terrorism drills. Officially titled "Hand in Hand 2007," the exercises were established after a memorandum of understanding on exchange and cooperation was signed between the two countries in 2006. Full Story

Canada Confirms Eleventh Case of Mad-Cow DiseasePosted on Wednesday, December 19, 2007 at 7:47pmCanada confirmed its 11th case of mad-cow disease, in an animal born before a ban on feed ingredients that can spread the brain-wasting illness. The sick animal was a 13-year-old beef cow from Alberta, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said today in a statement on its Web site. No part of the animal entered the human food or animal feed systems, it said. Full Story

Turkey Says US Intelligence Led to Strikes on PKKPosted on Wednesday, December 19, 2007 at 7:49pmA senior Turkish diplomat says U.S. intelligence shared with Turkey led to recent raids inside northern Iraq against Kurdish rebels from the Kurdistan Workers Party or PKK. From Washington, VOA's Margaret Besheer has more. Turkey's Ambassador to Washington, Nabi ┼×ensoy, told reporters Wednesday that about 50 Turkish fighter planes were involved in two waves of air strikes early Sunday morning against PKK targets inside northern Iraq. Full Story

New Solomons prime minister electedPosted on Thursday, December 20, 2007 at 12:04amSolomon Islands lawmakers voted in opposition candidate Derek Sikua as prime minister Thursday, the government said, a week after Parliament ousted the volatile South Pacific nation's former leader. Troops and police patrolled the capital, Honiara, as Parliament voted, but no trouble was reported. Rioters had looted and burned part of the city last year after an unpopular prime minister was chosen. Full Story

New Twist In Al Qaeda's Media CampaignPosted on Thursday, December 20, 2007 at 12:05amA new video, purporting to come from al Qaeda, has invited journalists to send questions to the organisations number two Ayman al-Zawahri. If genuine it represents the first such offer by the terror network to interview one of its leaders since attacks of September 11, 2001. Full Story

Commander: Al-Qaida still able to attackPosted on Thursday, December 20, 2007 at 12:07amThe top U.S. commander in northern Iraq warned Wednesday that al-Qaida in Iraq was still capable of staging spectacular attacks despite a 50 percent drop in bombings and other violence in his region. Army Maj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling said al-Qaida in Iraq was being pushed north by the increased numbers of U.S. troops that surged into Baghdad over the summer and fall. Full Story

Iraq says Turkey unlikely to extend operationPosted on Thursday, December 20, 2007 at 12:09amIraq said on Wednesday it believed Ankara was unlikely to conduct an extended operation inside northern Iraq to flush out the members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) who are fighting for self-rule in southeastern Turkey. "We believe Turkey is not going to extend the operation. It is a limited operation," Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh told AFP. Full Story

'Jihad' bomb plotter's appeal dismissed by Australian courtPosted on Thursday, December 20, 2007 at 12:11amA Pakistan-born architect convicted of plotting a "jihad" or holy war bombing campaign in Australia had his appeal dismissed in a Sydney court Thursday. Faheem Khalid Lodhi was sentenced to 20 years jail in August 2006 after a jury found him guilty of planning to blow up the electrical grid in Australia's biggest city. Full Story

Courtesy Terrorism Research Center, Inc.

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