Saturday, April 26, 2008


Iran's leader to visit India to deepen energy ties

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will make his first official visit to India next week in a sign of the two countries' ambitions to deepen energy ties despite opposition from the United States. Full Story

U.S. military says kills 15 gunmen in Baghdad

U.S. troops said on Wednesday they had killed 15 gunmen overnight in Shi'ite areas of Baghdad, where fighting has raged for weeks between militiamen loyal to Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and security forces. Full Story

Manila to ask Malaysia to keep monitors in south

The Philippines will ask Malaysia to reconsider a decision to quit a monitoring team that oversees a ceasefire between government troops and the country's largest Muslim rebel group, a senior official said on Wednesday. Full Story

Denmark evacuates Algeria, Afghanistan embassies

Denmark has moved staff from its embassies in Algeria and Afghanistan to secret safe locations because of an imminent threat, Foreign Ministry officials said on Wednesday. Full Story

Denmark evacuates embassy staff over cartoon row

The Danish Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that it has evacuated its staff from embassies in Algeria and Afghanistan because of threats after newspapers reprinted a cartoon depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad. Embassy employees have been moved to secret locations in both countries' capitals but continue to work, Foreign Ministry spokesman Erik Laursen said. Full Story

German police raid homes over 'jihadist' material

German police conducted a series of raids across the country Wednesday as part of their investigation into nine citizens suspected of systematically trying to convert others to radical Islam. Anton Winkler, spokesman for the Munich state prosecutor, said the suspects ranged in age from 27 to 47. Full Story

Carter-Hamas meeting achieved nothing: Palestinians

Last week's meeting between former US president Jimmy Carter and the exiled leader of Hamas militants did not produce any results, Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Malki said here Wednesday. "President Carter came to the region thinking he could achieve something. Unfortunately president Carter left without anything concrete," he told a conference in the Spanish capital. Full Story

Lebanon's Jumblatt still open to dialogue with opposition

A leading member of Lebanon's governing coalition said in comments published on Wednesday that dialogue was the only solution to the 18-month-old standoff with the opposition, but added that it must address the question of Hezbollah weaponry. Druze leader Walid Jumblatt's comments were markedly more conciliatory in tone than the position of Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, who earlier this month roundly rejected a call for dialogue from parliament speaker and opposition stalwart Nabih Berri. Full Story

21 July plotters lose appeal bid

Four men serving at least 40 years for the failed 21 July suicide bombs have lost a Court of Appeal bid to challenge their convictions. Three judges rejected applications brought by Muktar Said Ibrahim, Yassin Omar, Ramzi Mohammed and Hussain Osman for leave to appeal. Full Story

Bowlers say police 'heavy handed'

Bowls club members in South Gloucestershire have claimed police used "heavy-handed" tactics when seven officers broke up a protest match. Police said they were called to reports of a burglary in progress and a number of officers attended. Full Story

NKorea close to making nuke declaration: minister

The "last work" on securing North Korea's declaration of its nuclear activities is under way and six-nation negotiations could resume next month, South Korea's foreign minister said Wednesday. Full Story

MLA fears police station closure

A DUP assembly member has said he fears the PSNI are preparing to close a station in the north west. The Foyle MLA William Hay said he believes an ongoing consultation suggests they are considering the move because of a lack of resources. Full Story

Brown defends 'U-turn' on 10p tax

The prime minister has defended moves to compensate pensioners, young people and childless people on low incomes who lost out from the 10p tax rate's axing. Gordon Brown's offer of backdated help came amid a continuing rebellion from Labour MPs over the issue. Full Story

UK 'would back Zimbabwe embargo'

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said the UK would support proposals for a full arms embargo on Zimbabwe. Mr Brown's comments come after it was revealed that a Chinese ship was trying to get arms into the African country. Full Story

Georgia ex-minister granted asylum

A Georgian former defence minister convicted of extortion in his home country, has been granted asylum in France, his lawyer has said. Irakli Okruashvili, a prominent critic of the Georgian president, insists the charges were politically motivated. His lawyer said France had been "receptive" to his appeal for political asylum in the country. Full Story

Bosnia war crimes trio convicted

Bosnia's war crimes court has convicted three Bosnian Serbs of killing unarmed Muslim civilians, including women and children, in September 1992.The three men forced the group of 27 civilians to line up at a cliff edge in Jajce, central Bosnia, and shot them. Full Story

Georgia denounces Russian 'harassment'

Former Soviet state Georgia Wednesday accused Moscow of "harassment" for allegedly shooting down of one its spy planes, escalating tensions between the two countries ahead of a U.N. Security Council meeting. Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with his Georgian counterpart about the alleged incident. The closed door meeting follows claims by Russia that Georgia had violated U.N. resolutions in using drone spy planes to track developments in the breakaway region of Abkhazia. Full Story

AK Party to present 10 amendments

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is preparing to send a reassuring message to the EU with a new democratization package to assuage the bloc's concerns about a slowdown in Turkey's reform process. Full Story

Strike to disrupt 7,500 schools

The teachers' strike is set to close or partially close about 7,500 schools in England and Wales. Warnings to parents from 117 local authorities - two thirds of the total - so far show that 31% of schools are expected to face disruption. Full Story

Turk AKP says its defense is "very strong," rules out early election

AKP is set to defend itself in the closure case by saying the chief prosecutor prepared the indictment careless and disorderly, and failed to put concrete proofs, as the Turkish prime minister ruled out possibility of early election.

Minister Tayyip Erdogan told MPs on Tuesday their defense is very strong and ruled out the possibility of an early election. Erdogan also said they will not ask the court for additional time in defense process.Full Story

Slovenia says Turkey needs clear idea of EU process

Slovenian President Danilo Turk, who hold the EU's rotating presidency, on Wednesday advocated Turkey's bid to join the European Union, saying no country can be precluded from EU membership for cultural reasons.

Turk told the European Parliament accession negotiations with Turkey must continue. He called on fellow EU countries to show pragmatism in admitting new countries - although he said any prospective member must first fulfill all technical criteria. Full Story

Wait till Serbia ready for EU ties-EU Presidency

The European Union should offer closer ties with Serbia only when Serbs themselves are ready for this, EU President Slovenia said on Wednesday. Slovenian President Danilo Turk, whose country currently chairs EU business, said that could mean waiting until after a May 11 election, the outcome of which could hinge on public anger over the Western-backed secession of Kosovo in February. Full Story

Pressure on industry in fuel row

The dispute by staff and managers at the Grangemouth oil refinery is leading to growing pressure on commercial fuel consumers, it has emerged. Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne said it may restrict services from Thursday to conserve fuel supplies, if the planned action goes ahead. Full Story

Gunmen shoot dead Pakistani university professor: police

Gunmen shot dead a senior university professor in Pakistan's insurgency-hit southwestern province of Baluchistan, police said. Full Story

Moscow Mideast peace conference to be held in June or July

Russia's foreign minister said a Moscow-hosted peace conference on the Middle East will be held in June or July, depending on the schedules of the countries taking part. Russia, a member of the Quartet of Mideast mediators, has stepped up its role in peace brokering in the region in recent years, and offered to host a conference in its capital as a follow up to last November's meeting in Annapolis, U.S. Full Story

Deadly attacks hit Afghanistan

At least 10 people have been killed in three attacks, including two suicide bombs, in Afghanistan, officials said. A bomber killed three civilians and wounded 14 others in a crowded market in the town of Spin Boldak in Kandahar, southern Afghanistan. Full Story

Report: Female bomber suspect held in Turkey

Turkey's state-run news agency says police have detained a suspected female suicide bomber who was preparing to attack a police station in the country's south. Full Story

Transport experiment gridlocks Indian capital

A new transit scheme aimed at speeding up New Delhi's bus service has caused traffic chaos with thousands of motorists stuck for hours in gridlocks, officials said Wednesday. Engineers designated special bus lanes along a 5.8-kilometre (3.5-mile) strip to get public transport moving quicker in the city, which has an estimated 18 million people. Full Story

Protesters confront American outside French store in China

European business officials warned Wednesday that anti-French protests in China could spark a backlash against Chinese exports, while reports surfaced that protesters had confronted an American outside an outlet of French retailer Carrefour. The incident with the American occurred when dozens of protesters confronted 22-year-old James Galvin, an English teacher working in the southern city of Zhuzhou, mistakenly thinking he might have been French. Full Story

Spain awaits demands of Somali pirates

Pirates who seized a Spanish fishing trawler and 26 crew off the Somali coast have not yet made any formal demands for their release, Spain's foreign minister said Wednesday. "There has been no demand on the part of the kidnappers and we don't know what they want. We have to listen first to what they want, what are their demands, so we have to wait," Miguel Angel Moratinos said in Madrid. Full Story

Britain's PM calls for world arms embargo against Zimbabwe

Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Wednesday called for an international arms embargo on Zimbabwe, following a Chinese ship's efforts to deliver arms to the southern African nation. Brown outlined the plan as he met for talks in London with Jacob Zuma, the leader of South Africa's dominant political party. Full Story

German police in Islamist swoop

German police have carried out a series of raids targeting homes and cultural associations believed to be used to spread extremist material. The raids, which took place in several areas, including Bonn and Berlin, were linked to nine suspected Islamists. Full Story

Russian police and protesters clash at Olympics site

Russian police clashed with residents protesting against plans to demolish their homes to make way for the 2014 Winter Olympics during a tour by international inspectors on Wednesday. Residents said police beat some people and detained several others at a cemetery near the site for the main Olympic venue after they began to unfurl a banner to attract the attention of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) inspectors. Full Story

Sarkozy to consult EU on whether to attend Beijing Games

Sowing more confusion than clarity, President Nicolas Sarkozy's office said Wednesday that he would consult fellow European Union leaders before deciding whether to boycott the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Beijing this August. Full Story

Over 200 slain in Sri Lanka's bloodiest battle in 18 months

Tamil rebels killed at least 100 Sri Lankan soldiers in the nation's bloodiest battle in 18 months on Wednesday, the separatists said, as the military claimed more than 100 rebels died in the fighting. Full Story

Kidnappings soar in Mexico as drug gangs seek new income

Daniel Escobedo was driving to school when he stopped for what he thought was a security check at a roadblock in the Mexican city of Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas. Worried about being late for class, he hurriedly handed his driver's license to the two uniformed men, who he thought were police officers. Full Story

Afghan police kill 9 Taliban fighters in Kandahar

Afghan police killed nine Taliban fighters in a skirmish Tuesday, a day after militants attacked a checkpoint and left six border policemen dead, officials said. Full Story

Somali regional forces rescue hijacked UAE vessel: official

Somali regional forces on Tuesday rescued a hijacked cargo vessel and arrested seven pirates after a clash in the Gulf of Aden, an official said. Full Story

Greece challenges asylum critics

Greece has rejected strong criticism of its handling of asylum seekers by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. The UN body said the most vulnerable people were often unable to claim asylum and others were not guaranteed a fair evaluation of their claims. Full Story

Air France scraps Alitalia bid

Alitalia's future is under fresh threat after Air France KLM said it would walk away from its proposed takeover bid. Air France suspended talks with the troubled Italian carrier last month after it failed to get the necessary backing from unions for its proposals. Full Story

French lawyer takes on Khmer case

A French lawyer whose previous clients have included a Nazi war criminal has agreed to represent former Khmer Rouge leader Khieu Samphan in Cambodia. Jacques Verges has defended World War II criminal Klaus Barbie, as well as Venezuelan terrorist Carlos the Jackal. Full Story

BAA airport ownership criticised

BAA's ownership of seven UK airports "may not be serving well the interests of either airlines or passengers", the Competition Commission has said. Its report said that BAA, "dominates the airports markets in the south-east of England and in lowland Scotland". Full Story

Avalanche buries street in Austria ski area

An avalanche fell on a street in an Alpine town in Austria, close to many ski resorts, covering the roadway in 3-4 meters of snow, but no one was hurt, Austrian police said Tuesday. The avalanche happened at 10:30 a.m. (3:30 a.m. ET) in the town of Imst, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) west of Innsbruck, said a spokesman for the Austrian Federal Police in Innsbruck, who declined to be named. Full Story

Bird flu resurfaces in northeast India

Authorities in a remote northeastern state of India prepared to cull thousands of chickens after a fresh outbreak of bird flu in poultry was detected on Tuesday, officials said. More than 25,000 chickens and ducks have already been slaughtered in Tripura state this month after eight villages were hit by the H5N1 strain. Full Story

Al Qaeda No. 2: Attacks on Western nations in works

Al Qaeda still has plans to target Western countries involved in the Iraq war, Osama bin Laden's chief deputy warns in an audiotape released Tuesday to answer questions posed by followers. The voice in the lengthy file posted on an Islamic Web site could not be immediately confirmed as al Qaeda No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri's. But it sounded like past audiotapes from the terror leader, and the posting bore the logo of As-Sahab, al Qaeda's official media arm. Full Story

UK's Brown: Food crisis is new credit crunch

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Tuesday that rising food prices pose as great a threat to world prosperity as the global credit crunch, warning that spiraling prices threaten to reverse progress made to alleviate poverty in the developing world.

The British leader, who is meeting in London with World Food Program executive director Josette Sheeran, development charities and farmers, said urgent action to stimulate food production is needed, including a review of the impact of biofuels on global agriculture. Full Story

British soldier among 15 killed in Afghan violence

Fifteen people, including a British soldier, have been killed in Afghanistan in a series of attacks, officials said on Tuesday, in the latest violence following the traditional winter lull. All of the incidents happened on Monday. Full Story

Students blamed for Burma bombs

Burma's ruling junta has blamed an exiled student group for two bomb blasts in Rangoon over the weekend. Two small explosions went off on Sunday, damaging cars in the city but causing no injuries. Full Story

Maoists lead as Nepal heads for hung assembly

Nepal's former Maoist rebels have won half the directly elected seats in a crucial election meant to cement a shaky peace deal, but are only likely to head a minority government at the end of a complex election. The Maoists bagged 120 of 240 seats contested in a first-past-the-post constituency system, official results showed today. Full Story

One dead in communist rebel attack in southern Philippines

Communist rebels attacked an army outpost in a southern Philippine province, killing a government militiaman and wounding a soldier, officials said Tuesday. Troops had just finished dinner Monday when the guerrillas opened fire at their outpost in Santa Fe village, New Corella town, in Davao del Norte province, 960 kilometres south of Manila. Full Story

Indonesia raises alert for two volcanoes

Indonesia has raised the alert level for two volcanoes in the Sunda Strait and Mollucas island chain to the second highest following increased volcanic activities, a volcanology official said. The alert status for Anak Krakatau, a volcano formed in the Sunda Strait after the legendary explosion of Mount Krakatau in 1883, and Ibu volcano on Halmahera island in the Mollucas was raised on Monday after rumbling to life about a week ago. Full Story

Britain fires warning on rise of cyber-hackers

More than one in 10 big British businesses has detected computer hackers on their IT networks, a government report said Tuesday, warning of a rampant rise in such activity. Thirteen percent of large businesses have detected unauthorised outsiders, said the study drawn up by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, published at the Infosecurity Europe show in London. Full Story

Pakistani pro-Taliban militant leader shuns violence after release

A pro-Taliban militant leader who was freed as part of peace talks with militants in Pakistan's restive north-west valley of Swat renounced violence hours after his release from prison, media reports said on Tuesday. Maulana Sufi Mohammed, chief of the banned Movement for the Enforcement of Mohammedan Law (TNSM), was arrested in 2001 when he returned from what he had called "holy war" against US in Afghanistan. Full Story

EU's Solana says no Pakistan talks with Al-Qaeda

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said Tuesday he backed the new Pakistani government's moves to hold talks with Taliban militants, but ruled out any negotiations with Al-Qaeda. Solana arrived in Pakistan late Monday for talks on boosting cooperation between the EU and Pakistan, which is emerging from eight years of military rule but still facing the threat of Islamist violence. Full Story

Olympic torch relay held behind closed doors in Indonesia

The Beijing Olympics torch relay was held Tuesday behind closed doors under blanket security in Indonesia amid Chinese anger at protests over its human rights record. Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo began the event before a carefully selected, invitation-only crowd of several thousand cheering onlookers at the national stadium, but the flame spluttered out after a few seconds and had to be re-lit. Full Story

Russia: Georgia drone flight breached U.N. rules

Russia said on Tuesday that a Georgian unmanned reconnaissance flight over the Georgian rebel region of Abkhazia had violated United Nations ceasefire agreements. Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the drone had been shot down by separatist forces in Abkhazia -- not a Russian jet as alleged by Tbilisi. Full Story

European stocks advance on surging oil prices

European equities rose on Tuesday, with the energy sector boosted by record high oil prices, but banks fell out of favour after Britain's RBS announced a record-breaking rights issue. London's FTSE 100 index of leading companies added 0.21 percent to 6,065.60 points in early afternoon trade, Frankfurt's DAX 30 won 0.30 percent to 6,806.85 points and in Paris the CAC 40 increased by 0.27 percent to 4,923.67. Full Story

China condemns Paris honor to Dalai Lama

China condemned on Tuesday Paris's decision to make the Dalai Lama an honorary citizen, warning that the gesture had damaged ties with France just as both nations were seeking to ease bad blood over protests. Relations between France and China were strained by Tibet protests that disrupted the passage of the Beijing Olympic Games torch through Paris earlier this month. Full Story

Pirates attack Japanese tanker, Spanish boat in Gulf of Aden

Pirates in the lawless Gulf of Aden fired on a Japanese oil tanker Monday, unleashing hundreds of gallons of fuel into the sea, a day after a Spanish tuna boat was hijacked using rocket-propelled grenades. The attacks highlight an alarming increase in piracy by well-armed bandits, prompting international demands for better protection of the world's shipping lanes. Full Story

Pakistan coalition fails to agree on restoring judges: Sharif

Pakistan's ruling coalition has failed to agree on a plan to restore judges sacked by President Pervez Musharraf, but will reinstate them "soon," former premier Nawaz Sharif said Tuesday. Sharif, the head of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party, held two days of talks with Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, in a bid to thrash out details of the plan. Full Story

Police hold five over 1987 murder

The Metropolitan Police are questioning five men in connection with the unsolved murder of a private investigator during the late 1980s, one of whom is reportedly a former Scotland Yard detective. The victim, Daniel Morgan, died of multiple head wounds after being repeatedly struck by an axe in a pub car park in Sydenham, south London. The axe was found embedded in his skull. Full Story

France, Saudi Arabia to cooperate in CO2 'capture' technology

France said Tuesday it planned to cooperate with Saudi Arabia in solar energy and in technology for "capturing" and storing carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels, preventing them from being released into the atmosphere. The two countries would set up a joint top-level technical group in Paris by July, French Energy Minister Jean-Louis Borloo told reporters on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum here. Full Story

Italy: Immigrants fear backlash after brutal rape, says expert

A political backlash, which erupted in Italy after the rape and stabbing of an African student at the weekend, has driven immigrants from their homes, a leading sociologist said on Tuesday. Isabella Clough-Marinaro, from the American University in Rome, says the attack on the 31-year-old student from Lesotho, allegedly by a Romanian immigrant, has provoked widespread fear in the community. Full Story

UK to review how airports are run

The government will review the economic regulation of the UK's airport system after a report said that operator BAA may be failing airlines and consumers. Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly said the review would look at how to improve customer service, boost investment and deal with environmental concerns. Full Story

Russia says rebels downed plane

Russian authorities have said that Abkhaz rebels shot down an unmanned Georgian spy plane over the breakaway region of Abkhazia. The Russian foreign ministry also said the flight breached a 1994 peace accord which ended fighting in the province. Georgia insists a Russian plane shot down the drone on Sunday, calling it an act of "open aggression". Full Story

Russia jails US pastor over gun

A Moscow court has sentenced a US pastor to more than three years in jail for illegally importing hunting rifle ammunition into Russia. Phillip Miles, from South Carolina, was arrested on 3 February at the home of a friend in the Urals city of Perm. Full Story

Turkey uses gas pipe as leverage in EU talks

Turkey is playing hardball in the geopolitical struggle over an $8 billion pipeline at the center of Europe's efforts to cut dependence on Russian natural gas. Turkey is trying to profit from its strategic location bridging Europe and Central Asia and to become a key part of Europe's energy plan. This might bolster its push to join the European Union - if its negotiating tactics don't exhaust Europe's patience. Full Story

Lebanon postpones presidential vote again

Lebanon's parliament speaker Tuesday announced the postponement of the latest scheduled session to elect a state president amid continuing political deadlock. Full Story

Israeli forces kill 3 Palestinian militants near Gaza

The Israeli military says its forces killed three Palestinian militants who were trying to infiltrate into Israel from Gaza. Full Story

Ethiopia severs ties with Qatar

The Foreign Ministry said it was because of "Qatar's attempts to destabilise the sub-region and its hostility towards Ethiopia itself". Full Story

Somalis storm hijacked UAE ship

Forces from Somalia's Puntland region have stormed a UAE-flagged cargo ship hijacked by pirates in the Gulf of Aden, local officials say. Full Story

In Sadr City, Basic Services Falter

Even as American and Iraqi troops are fighting to establish control of the Sadr City section of this capital, the Iraqi governments program to restore basic services like electricity, sewage and trash collection is lagging, jeopardizing the effort to win over the areas wary residents. Full Story

Europe's unlikely attempt to renew a "partnership" with Russia

There is no New Cold War, the world keeps getting told, and that's nice news. Still and all, on May 5, four French Mirage 2000 interceptors will move to Iceland with a mission to meet and not-quite-greet Russian bombers penetrating the neighborhood airspace.

France, which is deploying the jets until late June, is the first country to send combat aircraft to the Iceland Air Policing Area under a rotating NATO plan that will involve the United States, Denmark, Poland and Spain in the next two years.Full Story

Turkey may be in EU in 10 years, says Rehn

The European Unions commissioner in charge of the blocs enlargement program said he expected Turkey could be a member of the union in a decade. EU enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn said as long as Ankara maintained its progress in implementing reforms, he expected Turkey to join the EU within 10 to 15 years. Full Story

Armenia cold to Turkey's call for dialogue

Foreign Minister Babacan writes a letter to his newly elected Armenian counterpart, saying that Turkey is open to dialogue for normalization of troubled ties. Yerevan also says it is for dialogue, but calls for the re-opening of closed borders first. Full Story

AK Party mulls early election for constitutional reform

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), which is planning to pass a constitutional reform package to counter a state prosecutor's indictment to shut it down, is seriously considering calling early polls this year to help it do so, sources close to the party administration say. Full Story

PKK separatists kill 3 Turkish soldiers - sources

Three Turkish soldiers were killed when their vehicle drove over a mine laid by Kurdish separatist guerrillas near the Iraqi border on Tuesday, security sources said.The explosion, in Hakkari province in Turkey's southeast corner, also wounded two soldiers, the sources said. Late on Monday, another soldier was killed in the same province also by a mine blast, the General Staff said on its website. Full Story

Thousands march to protest attacks on Christians in Iraq

Thousands of people demonstrated outside EU headquarters on Saturday to demand protection for Christians in Iraq, saying they were increasingly being targeted in cold-blooded attacks. Iraqi religious leaders led the protesters, whom police prevented from marching toward U.S. Embassy. Organisers said 4,000 to 7,000 had come for the demonstration from several European countries. Police put the turnout figure at 3,750. Full Story

Kyrgyzstan: Russian Soldier's Shooting Sparks Diplomatic Row

A Russian soldier serving at a CIS counterterrorism base in Kyrgyzstan is in serious condition after what local authorities are describing as a justified shooting at the hands of a Kyrgyz policeman. But the Russian Embassy is providing a significantly different version from the official account, and alleges that the Russian serviceman and his companions were the victims of an unprovoked attack.

An embassy spokesman said Moscow will lodge a complaint with Kyrgyzstan's Foreign Ministry over the incident. The Kyrgyz Prosecutor-General's Office has launched an investigation and said it might allow investigators from the Russian Interior Ministry to participate. Full Story

International efforts needed to tackle Somali pirates

The EU presidency on Monday called for "a strong international effort" to tackle piracy off the Somali coast where Spanish and French vessels have been attacked recently. The EU's Slovenian presidency expressed "deep concern for the violent nature of those acts which have been taking place repeatedly in the last months". Full Story

Terror jail extension turned down

The Attorney General has lost an appeal to extend the jail term of convicted would-be terrorist Sohail Qureshi. Qureshi, 30, from Forest Gate, east London, is expected to be freed in about a year after the Court of Appeal refused to increase his sentence. Full Story

Spain investigating 198 people in Liechtenstein tax evasion case

Spanish tax authorities say 198 people are under investigation for tax evasion as part of a wide-ranging probe centring on transactions in Liechtenstein. Spain's Tax Agency says prosecutors have been given the names of holders and beneficiaries of accounts in the principality. Full Story

Countries Rise Up to Counter Somali Pirates

After years of running amok off the coast of Somalia, pirates are suddenly facing far more than the usual crew of fishermen or sailors as opponents. Governments are taking action, in concert at the United Nations and individually, including Somalia itself. Full Story

German railway privatization clears another hurdle

The move by the SPD national executive to sign off on party chief Kurt Beck's proposal to allow private investors to buy up to 24.9 percent of Deutsche Bahn's passenger and logistics operations came despite stiff opposition from the SPD's influential leftwing faction. Full Story

US forces holding German Afghan on suspicion of terrorism

The US military have been holding a German citizen of Afghan origin since early January for being on a US base without authorization, the German Foreign Ministry said in Berlin Saturday, confirming a news report. The German government was working to secure his release, Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger said. Full Story

Darling 'promises to act on tax'

Chancellor Alistair Darling has told MPs he will act "within this financial year" to answer concerns about ending the 10p tax rate, the BBC has learned. He made the commitment during a meeting aimed at quelling a rebellion which could see the government lose a Commons vote next week, several MPs said. Full Story

Oil prices spike after attack on Japanese tanker

A rocket attack on a Japanese oil tanker off the coast of Yemen prompted oil prices to hit a record $117.40 US a barrel Monday. Full Story

Malaysia to withdraw peacekeepers from Philippines

Malaysia will withdraw its peacekeepers from the southern Philippine region of Mindanao in September, the government said on Monday, dealing a blow to multinational efforts to secure peace in the troubled region. Unarmed Malaysian soldiers have been in Mindanao since 2004 as part of an effort to end nearly 40 years of conflict that has killed more than 120,000 people and displaced 2 million. Full Story

Spain in hostage hunt off Somalia

A Spanish naval frigate is heading for the area off Somalia where pirates seized a Spanish fishing boat with 26 crew on board, officials say. The captain of the trawler - contacted by Spanish radio - said the crew were "all well". The Somali pirates have demanded a ransom. Full Story

Anti-French rallies across China

Protesters in several Chinese cities have gathered to demand a boycott of French products and denounce campaigns for Tibetan independence. Hundreds of people demonstrated in cities including Beijing, Wuhan, Hefei, Kunming, and Qingdao - often outside stores of the French chain Carrefour. Full Story

Nigeria rebels say attacked oil pipelines, defy US

A rebel group from Nigeria's oil producing Niger Delta said it attacked two major oil pipelines there on Monday in what it called a message to the United States to stop supporting "injustice" in the troubled region. Full Story

Italy's Northern League resurgent

Italy's centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi won a return to power this week with a majority that - by Italian standards - looks very comfortable. But he did so with the help of a formerly troublesome and often controversial right-wing ally, the Northern League. Full Story

Torch relay begins in Malaysia

The Malaysian leg of the Olympic torch relay has begun, amid tight security over fears of pro-Tibet protests. About 1,000 police officers have been deployed to protect the torch as it makes its way through Kuala Lumpur. Full Story

Jakarta court deems JI a terrorist group

An Indonesian court has declared Jemaah Islamiah a "forbidden corporation" for the first time, in a move analysts say will have huge implications for the fight against terrorism. South Jakarta District Court found the lethal regional terror network guilty of being an organisation that permits terrorism, and fined it 10 million rupiah ($A1,165). Full Story

French aid group leaves Sri Lanka

French aid group Action Against Hunger has pulled out of Sri Lanka due to concerns the government is not seriously investigating the massacre of 17 of its workers nearly two years ago, a spokeswoman said Monday. The withdrawal of the group, which helped with reconstruction following the 2004 tsunami, was the latest blow to the government's investigation of those killings and several other alleged human rights abuses during its war with Tamil rebels. Full Story

Pakistan orders release of pro-Taliban militant leader

A prison official says Pakistan has ordered the release of a pro-Taliban leader who sent thousands of fighters against the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan. There was no immediate comment from the government on the freeing of Sufi Muhammad. But it appears to be part of efforts to broker peace with Islamic militants in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Full Story

Sarkozy tries to mend China ties

France's president has expressed sympathy for a disabled Chinese athlete who was jostled by a pro-Tibet activist as she held the Olympic torch in Paris. In a letter to 27-year-old Paralympian fencer Jin Jing, Nicolas Sarkozy told her she had shown "outstanding courage" in the face of the assault. Full Story

Three arrested over fan's death

Police investigating the murder of a football fan who was fatally struck by a car after the Birmingham derby have arrested three men. Aston Villa fan Christopher Priest, 26, of Sutton Coldfield, died in City Hospital after being hit in Aston Hall Road by a Volkswagen Golf on Sunday. Full Story

British dealers supply arms to Iran

Investigators have identified a number of British arms dealers trading with Tehran, triggering alarm among government officials who fear Iran's nuclear programme may be receiving significant support from UK sources. The probe by customs officers suggests that at least seven Britons have been defying sanctions by supplying the Iranian air force, its elite Revolutionary Guard Corps, and even the country's controversial nuclear ambitions. Full Story

Bomb attack 'racially motivated'

A woman who is eight months pregnant was among four people targeted in a petrol bomb attack in County Tyrone. Two men and two women were in the living room of their house in Millburn Park, Cookstown, when the device was thrown at about 0030 BST on Sunday. Full Story

Government warning over fuel row

The UK Government has warned that a strike by workers at the Grangemouth refinery could cause "disruption" to fuel supplies. Energy Secretary John Hutton said the first stage of contingency plans to ensure fuel supplies were now active. Full Story

Terror suspect's timetable check

The head of an alleged terrorist cell was seen looking up flight information shortly before being arrested, a court has heard. Abdulla Ahmed Ali was watched by an undercover officer as he checked flight timetables in an internet cafe. Full Story

Spain appeals to NATO, US to help end Somali hostage crisis

Spain appealed to France, the United States and NATO on Monday for help in ending a crisis sparked when pirates seized 26 crew members of a Spanish fishing boat off the Somali coast. The defence ministry said a Spanish military frigate was heading to the area off east Africa, where the pirates have demanded money for the release of the crew, a day after storming the vessel armed with grenade launchers. Full Story

Georgian leader tells Putin to halt "aggression"

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili accused Russia on Monday of committing an act of aggression against his country and telephoned President Vladimir Putin to demand Moscow stop "aggressive attacks." "Today I spoke to the Russian Federation's President Vladimir Putin. This was an uneasy talk," Saakashvili said in a televised address. Full Story

Economic Woes Won't Affect Europe Security Spending

Western Europe will increase spending on IT security products despite the shaky economic conditions caused by the credit crisis, according to new figures released on Monday by IDC. Companies still have "gaps" in identity and access management, threat mitigation and compliance, IDC said in a five-page research note. Full Story

9 killed when bus carrying Finnish tourist crashes in Spain

The death toll from the crash of a bus filled with Finnish tourists in southern Spain has risen to nine, the Finnish Foreign Ministry said Sunday. The bus collided with another vehicle and overturned on a coastal highway near the resort town of Benalmadena late Saturday. Full Story

Poland wants U.S. to be 3rd leg of its security plan

Neither NATO nor the European Union can provide sufficient security to calm Poland's fears, particularly with Russia now resurgent to its east, and so the government in Warsaw wants the United States to base part of its planned antimissile system here to provide an American guarantee of safety, according to Poland's defense minister. Full Story

Care workers go on strike in Sweden for better salaries

The Swedish health care system was hit by a strike Monday when 2,500 nurses, midwives and radiographers walked off the job at noon after pay negotiations failed. The Swedish Association of Health Professionals has demanded a pay raise of at least 1,700 kronor, or $288, a month for all members this year and next year as well as a minimum entry wage of 22,000 kronor a month, a union spokesman, Tor Enqvist, said Monday. The previous salary accord expired March 31. Full Story

UN refugee agency censures Greece

The United Nations refugee agency has advised European Union countries to stop sending asylum seekers to Greece until further notice, a step that amounts to a condemnation of Greece's treatment of people fleeing conflict and persecution. Full Story

Pirates 'demand money' for seized Spanish crew

Pirates who seized a Spanish fishing boat Sunday off the coast of Somalia have apparently demanded money for the release of the 26 crew members, Spanish state radio RNE said Monday. RNE phoned the ship several times Monday and, in one of the brief conversations, a man who is apparently a pirate said, in English, that the demand was for "money," according to Ana Rosa Alonso, the master control room chief for RNE's all-news channel 5 in Madrid. Full Story

Justice tainted by western laws, says ayatollah

Iran's chief prosecutor, Ayatollah Dori Najafabadi says that his country's justice is tainted by the west, and does not work. Full Story

Clashes Intensify Between Shiite Militia, U.S. Forces

Heavy fighting broke out in Baghdad on Sunday following a particularly deadly night in the eastern part of the city. The clashes came a day after Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr threatened to wage an open war against U.S.-backed Iraqi security forces. Full Story

Israeli-Syrian peace talks broached, but border tension high

Only 200 yards separate Syrian soldiers from Israeli troops in the Golan Heights. Full Story

Gaza Strip crossings shut after attacks

Israel is planning to tighten controls even further over goods allowed into the Gaza Strip, after a series of Hamas attacks on border crossings. Some of the crossings will remain shut today, and may remain so for several days. Full Story

UN closes some offices in Yemen, citing security concerns

The United Nations has put up blast walls around its main headquarters and closed some of its offices in Yemen because of security concerns in the country, U.N. and Yemeni officials said Sunday. Full Story

Courtesy Terrorism Research Center, Inc.

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