Monday, December 22, 2008


Arrests show fears of Saddam followersPosted on Friday, December 19, 2008 at 9:46amThe arrests of more than 20 security officials for allegedly trying to revive Saddam Hussein's banned political party show how the Shiite-led government believes that supporters of the old regime still pose a threat  perhaps as much as al-Qaida or Iranian-backed militias. Full Story

Telecommunications Cable Fails, Cutting Data to Middle EastPosted on Friday, December 19, 2008 at 9:47amA telecommunications cable failed between Italy and Egypt, cutting the flow of data of various kinds between Europe and the Middle East, said Sanjeev Gaur, director of assurance at Reliance Globalcom Ltd., in an interview. Full Story

Hamas declares Israel truce overPosted on Friday, December 19, 2008 at 9:48amThe Islamist militant group Hamas says it has ended its six-month ceasefire with Israel in the Gaza Strip. Full Story

Arrests in Iraq Seen as Politically MotivatedPosted on Friday, December 19, 2008 at 9:48amIraqi politicians said Thursday that the arrests of government officials accused of supporting a group linked to Saddam Hussein's Baath Party was an attempt by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to demonstrate his power. Full Story

Youth protests escalating in southern SwedenPosted on Friday, December 19, 2008 at 10:46amPolice say youths in southern Sweden set fires and hurled rocks at police in unrest sparked by the closure of an Islamic cultural center. Full Story

Youths attack French Institute in AthensPosted on Friday, December 19, 2008 at 10:47amMasked youths attacked the French Institute in Athens with firebombs Friday, while Greek union members and university professors geared up for new anti-government rallies outside Parliament. Full Story

Oil drops below $36, touches fresh four-year lowPosted on Friday, December 19, 2008 at 10:56amThe price of oil fell below $36 on Friday to its lowest level in more than four years. US light crude for January delivery were down 51 cents at $35.71 a barrel. London Brent crude was trading 59 cents up at $43.95. Full Story

'One family, one villa' rule hits young professionalsPosted on Friday, December 19, 2008 at 10:56amMunicipality's "one family, one villa" rule was introduced ostensibly to avoid another tragedy like the one earlier this year when 11 men died in a villa fire in Naif. Full Story

Gaza ceasefire endsPosted on Friday, December 19, 2008 at 10:57amA truce between Palestinian factions and Israel ended on Friday, raising fears of more violence. Full Story

UAE keen to address issues affecting Iran tiesPosted on Friday, December 19, 2008 at 10:58amThe UAE is committed to maintaining good bilateral relations with Iran, Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Foreign Minister, told Gulf News on Thursday. Full Story

Employer vows to give better housing for staffPosted on Friday, December 19, 2008 at 10:59amThe Labour Department has resolved a dispute between several Egyptian workers and their sponsoring construction company, with the owner signing a written pledge to pay the workers unpaid salaries and improve their housing conditions within the next three days. Full Story

Currie & Brown cuts 18 staff as Dubai downturn takes holdPosted on Friday, December 19, 2008 at 11:01amCurrie & Brown has become the latest building management consultant to lay off staff in the Middle East as the region continues to be hit by the downturn. Some of the firms schemes have been put on hold, and there is also understood to have been a drop in workload over the past year, with the firm losing out on several key projects. The group has cut 18 jobs in its Dubai office, equivalent to 15% of staff. Full Story

Hezbollah supporters in Lebanon protest Gaza siegePosted on Friday, December 19, 2008 at 11:02amThousands of Hezbollah supporters in Lebanon are protesting the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip. The militant group held the rally Friday in Beirut's southern suburbs. Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah has called on people across the Muslim and Arab world to hold demonstrations demanding the blockade be lifted. Full Story

Rockets and gunfire on Gaza border as truce endsPosted on Friday, December 19, 2008 at 11:03amSporadic violence is flaring along the Gaza-Israel border as a shaky truce expires. The Israeli military says Gaza militants fired two rockets into Israel on Friday morning, following heavy rocket fire in recent days. The military also says troops guarding Israeli farmers in fields along the border came under sniper fire from inside Gaza. Full Story

Israel opposition leader dismisses Syria talksPosted on Friday, December 19, 2008 at 11:04amIsraeli right-wing opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday dismissed peace efforts with Syria led by interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. "The concessions made by the Olmert-Livni government to the Syrians do not and will not obligate a government that I shall head," Netanyahu, a former prime minister, told Israeli public radio. Full Story

Police stage biggest ever riot drillPosted on Friday, December 19, 2008 at 11:06amFrom a distance, it resembles any Arab village, complete with minarets, oriental architecture and narrow alleyways. But in reality it is the Tze'elim urban combat training zone in the western Negev. On Thursday, the largest police drill in Israeli history took place there. Full Story

Thousands prepare for their longest break in yearsPosted on Friday, December 19, 2008 at 11:07amThe longest Christmas break for 16 years begins in earnest today as the recession forces tens of thousands of workers to take a holiday lasting up to a month. Many will not return to work until January 19 after their employers shut down for an extended break. Thousands of workers at car companies such as Ford, Aston Martin and Vauxhall have already been sent home after their plants were temporarily closed to save money. Full Story

Fears increase over the economy as borrowing reaches new highPosted on Friday, December 19, 2008 at 11:10amThe Treasury suffered a record #16 billion plunge into the red last month as the recession hit tax revenues. The news came as the pound fell to a low against the euro, and the rapidly worsening state of the Government's finances added to anxieties about Britain's long-term prospects. Full Story

Police disperse Bahrain protestPosted on Friday, December 19, 2008 at 11:10amWitnesses say Bahraini security troops have fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse thousands of protesters demanding Arab governments take action to end the closure of the Gaza Strip. Full Story

China to send warships to SomaliaPosted on Friday, December 19, 2008 at 3:17pmChina's state-run newspaper Global Times announced on 18 December that the country would send two destroyers and a supply ship to Somalia to protect Chinese shipping. The announcement came one day after a Chinese-operated cargo vessel, Zhenhua 4 , was subject to a pirate attack in the Gulf of Aden.

With no assets in the region, Beijing was compelled to request assistance from the International Maritime Bureau, which organised a multinational rescue effort. The ship was recovered and no crew members were injured. Full Story

Terrorism Cases Hinge on Paid InformantsPosted on Friday, December 19, 2008 at 3:22pmThe trouble started for Mohamad Shnewer and his old high school buddies from Cherry Hill, NJ in a Circuit City store in Mount Laurel in January 2006. When a store clerk saw the videotape that a customer wanted transferred to DVD - showing men shooting assault weapons into the woods while shouting in Arabic - he called the police.

Police called in the FBI, which in turn recruited Mahmoud Omar, an Egyptian-born used-car salesman who had entered the United States illegally and was on probation for bank fraud. Full Story

Terrorist hit-list revealedPosted on Friday, December 19, 2008 at 3:24pmAN AL-QAIDA death squad based in Manchester had a hit-list of government ministers and aides to Tony Blair. It included the then Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon, former MI5 chief Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, author Salman Rushdie and prominent Jewish businessman and Labour Party donor Sir Trevor Chinn. Full Story

Online Jihadists Plan for 'Invading Facebook'Posted on Friday, December 19, 2008 at 3:25pmOnline jihadists have already used YouTube, blogs and other social media to spread their propaganda.

Now, a group of internet Islamic extremists is putting together a plan for "invading Facebook." "We can use Facebook to fight the media," notes a recent posting on the extremist al-Faloja forum, translated by "We can post media on Facebook that shows the Crusader losses." Full Story

Report: Afghan police should focus on crime, not militantsPosted on Friday, December 19, 2008 at 3:27pmEfforts to reform the Afghan National Police force have been stymied by "corruption and lack of political will," and police are wrongly being used to help fight the insurgency instead of crime, an independent research group said in a report. Full Story

Employee fraud, theft cost firms $40 billion a yearPosted on Friday, December 19, 2008 at 3:28pmt's not something business folks like to discuss, but as many as one-third of all business failures annually can be attributed to employee theft, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The cost of theft and fraud to American business nationally hovers around $40 billion a year, and "some experts believe as much as 40 percent of the losses are internal," said Tim Zehring, a retired Mesa police officer and director of the International Crime Free Association. Full Story

UN-backed court fails to prove Rwanda genocide planned: analystsPosted on Friday, December 19, 2008 at 3:29pmThe acquittal of Rwanda's ex-army colonel Theoneste Bagosora by the UN war crimes tribunal of conspiracy to commit genocide marks the court's failure to prove the massacre was planned, analysts said Friday.

Bagosora, jailed for life by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Thursday, had been accused by prosecutors of being the "brains" behind the 1994 genocide when some 800,000 people were killed in a 100-day spree. Full Story

DHS to expand US-VISIT biometric collectionPosted on Friday, December 19, 2008 at 3:31pmThe Homeland Security Department will soon begin collecting digital fingerprints and photographs from lawful permanent residents of the United States and people seeking to enter the country on an immigration visa or as refugees. Full Story

Australia warns of Malaysian piracyPosted on Friday, December 19, 2008 at 3:33pmAustralia has toughened its warning about piracy in its travel advisory for Malaysia. It strongly advises Australians to reconsider travelling to islands, dive sites and coastal areas off Eastern Sabah. Full Story

Iran deploys warship in Gulf of AdenPosted on Monday, December 22, 2008 at 9:39amIran has sent a warship on a patrol mission to the Gulf of Aden amid continued reports of ship hijacking by Somali pirates in the region. According to a report by Fars News Agency, the Iranian warship arrived in the Gulf of Aden after traveling some 4,000 maritime miles and carried out a naval exercise in preparation for a potential clash with the pirates. Full Story

Courtesy Terrorism Research Center, Inc.


A suspected pilotless American drone has fired two missiles in a border area of Pakistan, killing at least seven people, Pakistani officials have said.

Reports say two vehicles and a house were hit in South Waziristan. The identity of those killed is not known.

US-operated pilotless drones have launched more than 20 missile attacks in Pakistani tribal areas since August.

The Pakistani government is under huge public pressure to defend its territory against such attacks.

The latest missile strikes came as America's top military commander, Admiral Mike Mullen, made his second visit to Pakistan this month.

Adm Mullen, the chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, arrived from Afghanistan where he met President Karzai and discussed the deployment of additional US forces.

At the weekend, Adm Mullen said the US could send up to 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan by the middle of next year, more than previously mentioned.

'Anti-aircraft fire'

Reports quoted unnamed officials as saying that the missiles struck two villages in South Waziristan on the border with Afghanistan.

Reports said a drone began circling at about 0300 local time, and then struck a few hours later.

Witnesses say that one of the targets was a vehicle mounted with an anti-aircraft gun, and that militants had been using the weapon to fire at the drone.

Four people are believed to have been killed as missiles tore into both the vehicle and an adjacent building.

Soon afterwards there was another strike in a second village nearby, with another vehicle targeted. Witnesses say that Taleban fighters gathered to bury the bodies.

A resident of one of the villages told Reuters by telephone that local tribespeople had "opened fire on the drones after the attacks".

A security official told AFP news agency that it was not clear whether the missile attacks had targeted any senior al-Qaeda or Taleban members.


US drone attacks are believed to have been largely on target, hitting Taleban and al-Qaeda hideouts in the north-western Waziristan tribal region.

There have been few civilian casualties, officials say.
But Pakistani media and opposition parties view these attacks as a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Last month, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said his government was considering "a number of options" to counter attacks by US drones inside its territory.

His statement came after Pakistan's air force chief said his force was equipped to tackle the drones militarily.

The opposition has been pressing the government either to counter US strikes militarily, or to at least raise the issue at the United Nations.

The Pakistani government says these attacks are counter-productive as they help offset the negative popularity the militants have gained in areas under their control.

However, it has been reluctant to move either diplomatically or militarily to stop these strikes.

This has fuelled speculation that the attacks may be part of a secret pact between Pakistan and the US.

Courtesy BBC

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