Monday, March 31, 2008

CONFLICT & TERROR 03/31

Iran, Indonesia angry over Dutch Koran filmPosted on Friday, March 28, 2008 at 7:58am

Iran and Indonesia on Friday condemned a film by a Dutch lawmaker that accuses the Koran of inciting violence, while Dutch Muslim leaders urged restraint. Islam critic Geert Wilders launched his movie on Thursday evening. Titled "Fitna", an Arabic term sometimes translated as "strife", it intersperses images of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and other Islamist bombings with quotations from the Koran. Full Story

Dutch MP posts Islam film on webPosted on Friday, March 28, 2008 at 7:59am

Dutch right-wing politician Geert Wilders has posted a controversial film critical of Islam's holy book, the Koran, on the internet. The opening scenes show a copy of the Koran, followed by footage of the attacks on the US on 11 September 2001. Full Story

Second day of baggage chaos at T5Posted on Friday, March 28, 2008 at 8:02am

Further chaos is expected at Heathrow's Terminal 5 after its opening day was marred by a catalogue of errors which left many stranded overnight. So far, more than 30 departures have been cancelled, queues are building and frustrated passengers have missed flights - blaming lack of information. Full Story

Former IRA leader set to join DPPPosted on Friday, March 28, 2008 at 8:04am

A former IRA leader is to join Fermanagh District Policing Partnership (DPP). Sean Lynch, who was jailed for 12 years for attempting to bomb an Army patrol, survived an SAS ambush. The appointment has angered Ulster Unionist councillor and MLA Tom Elliott. Full Story

Gunmen kill two Pakistani counterterrorism agentsPosted on Friday, March 28, 2008 at 8:32am

Gunmen shot dead two Pakistani counterterrorism intelligence agents in Karachi late on Thursday in an apparent "target killing", police said. "Both men were working for the Intelligence Bureau," said Niaz Ahmed Siddiqi, the city's police chief. Full Story

Scotland flights axed in T5 chaosPosted on Friday, March 28, 2008 at 8:38am

Several flights to and from Scotland have been cancelled in the second day of chaos at Heathrow's newly-opened Terminal 5. British Airways has drafted in extra staff to try to ease the problems that hit the launch of the #4.3bn terminal on Thursday. Full Story

North Korea test launches missilesPosted on Friday, March 28, 2008 at 8:43am

North Korea underscored its anger over South Korea's tough new stance toward the communist country with the test-firing of short-range missiles. Full Story

Italy murder fuels 'mafia' fearsPosted on Friday, March 28, 2008 at 8:46am

The murder of a man in southern Italy has fuelled concern about an escalation of a blood feud among the Calabrian mafia or 'Ndrangheta. Police say the victim, Francesco Capicchiano, 33, was carrying a pistol but did not even have time to draw it as two gunmen opened fire. Full Story

France bans some mozzarella salesPosted on Friday, March 28, 2008 at 8:47am

The French agriculture ministry has told shops to withdraw some Italian mozzarella cheese from sale amid a scare over dioxin contamination. The affected cheese is made from buffalo milk in the Campania region, near Naples. Full Story

Sri Lanka bombs LTTE basesPosted on Friday, March 28, 2008 at 8:50am

Sri Lankan war planes carried out sorties against two rebel targets in the north on Thursday, as ground clashes left eight guerrillas and six soldiers dead, the government said on Thursday. Full Story

Tibetan students enter UN compound in NepalPosted on Friday, March 28, 2008 at 9:00am

About 20 Tibetan high school children scaled a brick wall surrounding the United Nations compound in Katmandu on Friday morning, carrying a small home-made sign that read "Free Tibet" and asking for the United Nations to help their cause, according to a United Nations spokesman. Full Story

Thai PM warns of coup plotPosted on Friday, March 28, 2008 at 9:06am

Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej said Friday he had been warned of a coup plot against his government, but refused to say who was scheming against him. Full Story

Philippine communist rebels vow attacksPosted on Friday, March 28, 2008 at 9:12am

Philippine communist rebels marked their insurgency's 40th anniversary with a vow Friday to take advantage of rising food prices to stir up public discontent and intensify attacks on government troops. Full Story

Baghdad under curfew amid clashesPosted on Friday, March 28, 2008 at 10:31am

Authorities in Baghdad have imposed a three-day curfew on the Iraqi capital while the country's prime minister pledged "no retreat" against Shia militia forces. More than 130 people have been reported killed in four days of nationwide violence as the government struggles to contain the conflict - set off by a military crackdown in Basra. Full Story

Maliki Makes Cash-for-Arms Offer to End Iraq FightingPosted on Friday, March 28, 2008 at 10:33am

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki offered Shiite militants a cash for weapons deal on Friday in an attempt to end violent clashes across Iraq that have killed more than 120 people. US-led coalition warplanes, meanwhile, bombed Shiite militia positions in Basra, directly entering the fray for the first time since the Iraqi army began the crackdown in the southern city, a British military spokesman said. Full Story

Israel says It's Talking to SyriaPosted on Friday, March 28, 2008 at 10:35am

A Cabinet minister said Friday that Israel was trying to bring Syria back to the negotiating table eight years after talks between the two countries broke down. The disclosure of Israeli efforts to engage Syria in negotiations comes at a time when Israeli attempts to reach a peace deal with the Palestinians are making no visible progress despite intense U.S. involvement. Full Story

U.S. Armor Forces Join Offensive In Baghdad Against Sadr MilitiaPosted on Friday, March 28, 2008 at 10:36am

U.S. forces in armored vehicles battled Mahdi Army fighters Thursday in the vast Shiite stronghold of Sadr City and U.S. aircraft bombed militant positions in the southern city of Basra, as the American role in a campaign against party-backed militias appeared to expand. Full Story

Tuareg politician says hostages not in Mali-reportPosted on Friday, March 28, 2008 at 10:37am

A Malian Tuareg politician said in an interview published on Friday that two Austrian tourists held captive by al Qaeda in the Sahara were not in the country, as previously suspected. Assarid Ag Imbarcaouane, a member of the National Assembly, told Austrian daily Oesterreich that nomadic Tuareg tribesman who roam the isolated swathes of northern Mali would be aware if the hostages were present. The kidnappers would need fuel for vehicles and would get it from smugglers, who would tell the Tuaregs, he said. Full Story

New UN envoy arrives to boost teamwork in AfghanistanPosted on Friday, March 28, 2008 at 11:05am

The new U.N. envoy to Afghanistan, Kai Eide, arrived in Kabul on Friday with a pledge to improve coordination with President Hamid Karzai's government. Full Story

Politkovskaya killer 'identified'Posted on Friday, March 28, 2008 at 11:22am

Russian investigators have identified the killer of journalist Anna Politkovskaya, an aide to the prosecutor-general has said. The suspect was not named, but the official, Vyacheslav Smirnov, said "all measures are being taken to find and detain him". Full Story

Economy slowed in 2007Posted on Friday, March 28, 2008 at 11:25am

The economy grew by less than expected last year, official data showed Friday, as analysts warned of a harsher slowdown in 2008 because of the global credit crunch. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said Friday in a third and final estimate that the economy grew by 3.0 percent in 2007, which is less than the previous estimate of 3.1 percent given in February. Full Story

BA cancels flights in continuing Heathrow T5 chaosPosted on Friday, March 28, 2008 at 11:26am

British Airways Plc cancelled a fifth of flights from its new $8.6 billion terminal at London's Heathrow airport on Friday as chaos from its opening spilled into a second day. BA said it dropped the short-haul flights to ease congestion as it attempted to recover from the mess left by Thursday's opening when nearly 70 flights were cancelled, leaving passengers distraught. Full Story

Brown to visit Bush in April: White HousePosted on Friday, March 28, 2008 at 11:30am

Prime Minister Gordon Brown will visit Washington with his wife on April 17 for talks with US President George W. Bush, the White House said Friday. The two leaders will discuss "our shared goals of advancing freedom and strengthening security and democracy" in Afghanistan and Iraq, efforts to stop Iran's nuclear program and counter-terrorism, it said in a statement. Full Story

Less concern for riots after release of FitnaPosted on Friday, March 28, 2008 at 11:41am

Now that Fitna is online, fewer Dutch people are worried there will be riots than before the release of the film. A survey by television programme EenVandaag indicates that 20 percent of the Dutch expect there will be riots, while more than half of the population expected this before the film was released. Full Story

Indonesia denounces Dutch lawmakers' film critical of IslamPosted on Friday, March 28, 2008 at 12:29pm

Islamic community leaders and Indonesian politicians on Friday condemned a film by a Dutch lawmaker that is critical of Islam, saying it was misleading and would hurt interfaith dialogue. Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Kristiarto Legowo said the contents of the film were "misleading and full of racism" and called the production of the film an "irresponsible action done under the blanket of freedom of the press." Full Story

EU - Barroso calls for 'urgent delivery' of Mediterranean Union plansPosted on Friday, March 28, 2008 at 12:31pm

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Friday called for "urgent delivery" of plans for a Mediterranean Union aimed at strengthening cooperation with countries from Morocco to Turkey. "The Mediterranean is an absolute priority for Europe, a priority on which delivery has now become urgent," Barroso told an Athens meeting of parliament presidents from the 37 member states of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. Full Story

Maglev trains -- transport tech that simply won't flyPosted on Friday, March 28, 2008 at 12:38pm

The magnetic levitation (maglev) idea was patented as long ago as the 1930s. For the past four decades, Germany's best engineers have been working out the technical details. But the Transrapid -- the monorail maglev system developed by Siemens and ThyssenKrupp that has trains speeding on a magnetic cushion at 500 kilometers an hour -- simply won't fly. Full Story

6 Malaysians nabbed in Cambodia for disrupting flightPosted on Friday, March 28, 2008 at 12:46pm

Six drunken Malaysian men were arrested and set to be deported from Cambodia on Friday, after they shouted at flight attendants and scared passengers on a flight from Kuala Lumpur, officials said. Full Story

Three day Tube strike announcedPosted on Friday, March 28, 2008 at 1:19pm

A 72-hour strike on London Underground is planned by rail unions in a row over safety. A strike from 1830 BST on 6 April to 9 April is planned by the Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union and Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA). Full Story

Danish creator of Muhammad cartoon to sue Dutch lawmakerPosted on Friday, March 28, 2008 at 3:01pm

The Danish Union of Journalists said Friday it will sue Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders for copyright infringement for using a Danish cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad in his anti-Quran film. The union said it will file a lawsuit on behalf of Kurt Westergaard, the cartoonist who made a controversial drawing in 2005 depicting Islam's prophet wearing a turban shaped like a bomb. Full Story

New divisions arise in NATO over 2 bids for membershipPosted on Friday, March 28, 2008 at 3:02pm

New trans-Atlantic divisions have emerged over whether to confront Russia's next president, Dmitri Medvedev, by offering Ukraine and Georgia a clear path to NATO membership at a meeting next week, alliance diplomats said Thursday. Full Story

European Union looks to close ranks on RussiaPosted on Saturday, March 29, 2008 at 5:32am

European Union (EU) foreign ministers pushed Friday for a joint stance on relations with Russia as they moved closer to agreeing the basis for a new relationship with the bloc's giant Eastern neighbor. Full Story

Muslims unhappy at German "Satanic Verses" stagingPosted on Saturday, March 29, 2008 at 5:33am

German Muslim group said on Friday protests were likely against the first ever staging of a dramatized version of Salman Rushdie's controversial book "The Satanic Verses" in Potsdam near Berlin on Sunday.Nurhan Soykan, spokeswoman for the central council of Muslims in Germany, told Reuters Muslims believed in a free press and freedom of opinion. Full Story

4 held in Mumbai for attacking N IndiansPosted on Saturday, March 29, 2008 at 5:34am

Four people were arrested for allegedly damaging five taxis, owned by North Indians, in the wee hours on Saturday in Central Mumbai, police said. Efforts were on to ascertain whether the arrested belonged to Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), which had run an anti-north Indian campaign last month, they said. Full Story

Ukraine hopes for NATO at summitPosted on Saturday, March 29, 2008 at 5:35am

If it weren't for Ukraine's drive to join NATO, army conscripts here might still be peeling potatoes and wrapping their feet in cloth instead of socks, as their predecessors had done for centuries. Ukrainian officials will showcase these and other reforms at the NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania, next week, in hopes the Western military alliance will risk angering Moscow and invite this former Soviet country to start the process of membership. Full Story

Al-Sadr wants Arabs to back 'resistance'Posted on Saturday, March 29, 2008 at 5:36am

Anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has called on Arab leaders meeting in Syria to voice their support for Iraq's "resistance" to what he calls foreign occupation. Al-Jazeera television has shown a brief clip of an interview with the Mahdi Army militia leader. It says the full interview will be shown later Saturday. Full Story

75 killed in Baghdad Shiite bastion in four days of clashesPosted on Saturday, March 29, 2008 at 5:37am

clashes between Shiite gunmen and Iraqi and US troops in Baghdad's Sadr City have killed at least 75 people and wounded nearly 500 over the past four days, an Iraqi health official said on Saturday."Seventy-five people have been killed and 498 wounded in clashes in Sadr City in the last four days," Qassim Mohammed, a spokesman for Baghdad health directorate, told reporters in the sprawling Shiite bastion on Saturday. Full Story

'Terror attack on 2006 World Cup was averted'Posted on Saturday, March 29, 2008 at 5:37am

German security forces had scotched possible terrorist plans to attack the Munich stadium on the occasion of the opening game of the 2006 football World Cup, Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann has claimed. Full Story

Russia's NATO envoy condemns US military aid to KosovoPosted on Saturday, March 29, 2008 at 5:46am

Russia's envoy to NATO has said the US decision to supply arms to Kosovo is a direct violation of a UN Security Council resolution. US President George W. Bush authorised March 19 arms supplies to Kosovo, saying it would 'strengthen the security of the US and promote world peace'.Security Council Resolution 1244 prohibits weapon supplies to the region, except to UN peacekeeping forces. Full Story

Pakistani parliament to hold confidence vote on new prime ministerPosted on Saturday, March 29, 2008 at 5:47am

Pakistan's parliament was set on Saturday to hold a vote of confidence on the newly elected Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani. Gillani, who was a top aide of slain ex-premier Benazir Bhutto, was elected earlier this week by the parliament, which is packed with rivals of embattled President Pervez Musharraf after his party was badly weakened in February elections. Full Story

Troops destroy two LTTE bunkers; dominate 700m neck of landPosted on Saturday, March 29, 2008 at 5:48am

Troops in a pre dawn attack have destroyed two fortified bunkers manned by LTTE terrorists this morning (March 29). According to the defence sources at Mannar battlefront, Sri Lanka army infantrymen have launched the surprise attack around 4.a.m at the LTTE bunker defence located in Elanthivan area, South of Admapan. Ground troops have confirmed that 10 LTTE cadres were killed in this incident. Also, a 700m stretch of land has been dominated, sources further said. The soldiers are consolidating their positions, the sources added. Full Story

Pakistani PM vows to fight terrorPosted on Saturday, March 29, 2008 at 5:49am

Pakistan's new Prime Minister, Yusuf Raza Gillani, has told parliament in Islamabad that his top priority will be the fight against terrorism. Setting out plans for the first 100 days of his coalition government, he told MPs that "terrorism and extremism" were the country's "greatest problems". Full Story

Taliban attack Afghan power plant, 2 dead, 8 hurtPosted on Saturday, March 29, 2008 at 5:50am

Taliban insurgents blew up a power station in the southern Afghan province of Helmand on Saturday, killing two people and wounding eight, police said.The power station, in the district of Girishk, is the main source of electricity for people in the area. Full Story

U.S. offers to restore ties with SudanPosted on Saturday, March 29, 2008 at 5:51am

The U.S. is offering to gradually normalize relations with Sudan if the government in Khartoum settles issues such as the Darfur crisis and carries out elections next year, U.S. and Sudanese diplomats said Friday. Sudan would have to remove obstacles to the deployment of a U.N.-led peacekeeping force, stop violence against civilians in Darfur, release U.S. shipping containers stuck in customs and carry out the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between north and south Sudan, including elections in 2009, officials said. Full Story

Turkish army says kills 15 PKK in N IraqPosted on Saturday, March 29, 2008 at 2:03pm

Turkey's armed forces killed 15 members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq on Thursday using long-range land weapons, and then followed up with air strikes, they said on Saturday. Full Story

Maliki says Sadrist foes "worse than al Qaeda"Posted on Saturday, March 29, 2008 at 2:05pm

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki raised the stakes in his five-day-old crackdown on Shi'ite militants on Saturday, describing his foes as "worse than al Qaeda." Full Story

US military says kills 48 militants in BaghdadPosted on Saturday, March 29, 2008 at 2:16pm

U.S. forces said on Saturday they had killed 48 militants the previous day in gun battles and air strikes across Baghdad, a sign of deeper involvement in a government crackdown on militia loyal to cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Full Story

Threats Prompt LiveLeak.com To Pull Out Anti-Koran FilmPosted on Saturday, March 29, 2008 at 2:18pm

The anti-Koran film has been removed from U.K.-based video-sharing site on Friday, following serious threats received by the site's staff, a day after it was posted. The controversial film, Fitna, produced by anti-Islamic Dutch MP lawmaker, Geert Wilders was replaced with an official statement from LiveLeak.com, emphasizing the need to prioritize the safety of its employees. Full Story

Australia to seek UN Security Council seat in 2013: PMPosted on Saturday, March 29, 2008 at 8:30pm

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced here Saturday that his country would seek a non-permanent seat on the the UN Security Council for 2013-2014, after an absence of 27 years. Full Story

'Schalit negotiations semi-deadlocked'Posted on Saturday, March 29, 2008 at 8:31pm

Efforts to release kidnapped IDF soldier Cpl. Gilad Schalit are "semi-deadlocked" because of Israel's refusal to release Palestinian prisoners who are serving life sentences, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal said Saturday. Full Story

Bomb attack at mosque in Nepal kills twoPosted on Saturday, March 29, 2008 at 8:33pmA mosque in eastern Nepal was bombed, killing two people and seriously wounding two others in an attack claimed by a group that wants the country declared Hindu. Full Story

'Divided' Arab summit continuesPosted on Saturday, March 29, 2008 at 9:27pm

An annual summit of the Arab League is continuing in Syria's capital Damascus but key leaders are staying away amid signs of a growing regional rift. Full Story

U.S. says special forces fight in BasraPosted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 4:40am

The United States confirmed on Sunday that U.S. special forces units were operating alongside Iraqi government troops in Basra, where the government is battling militants loyal to Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. A U.S. military statement described a joint raid by Iraqi and U.S. special forces units which killed 22 suspected militants, including "16 criminal fighters" strafed in an air strike on three houses. Full Story

US jittery over Pakistan terror efforts: analystsPosted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 4:41am

Pakistan's new premier has vowed to tackle Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, but the United States will remain nervous about the commitment of this frontline state in the "war on terror", analysts say. With the power of stalwart US ally President Pervez Musharraf eroding fast, Washington sent two special envoys to Islamabad last week in a bid to woo new Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and his government. Full Story

Chechen police search for Internet extremistPosted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 4:42am

Police in Russia's North Caucasus Republic of Chechnya are searching for a Chechen resident suspected of spreading calls for terrorist attacks through the Internet, a police source said on Sunday. Full Story

Malaysian leader urges release of Hindu activistsPosted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 4:43am

The leader of Malaysia's ruling ethnic Indian party called on Sunday for the release of five Hindu rights activists who were jailed without charge late last year after organizing a big anti-government protest. Full Story

Arabs Denounce Dutch Anti-Islam FilmPosted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 4:44am

Islamic and Arab leaders denounced a Dutch film Saturday that portrays Islam as a ticking time bomb aimed at the West, demanding international laws to prevent insults to religions. The 15-minute film entitled "Fitna," or "ordeal" in Arabic, by Dutch anti-immigrant politician Geert Wilders brought condemnations from Muslim capitals and street protests in Pakistan after it was posted on a Web site Thursday. Full Story

Turkish warplanes hit rebel targets in N IraqPosted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 4:45am

Turkish military warplanes hit rebel targets of the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK)) in northern Iraq, a military statement said on Saturday. Full Story

Ten former Indian envoys in Islamabad for informal Indo-Pak talksPosted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 4:46am

Islamabad, Mar.30 : Ten former Indian ambassadors have arrived here to discuss bilateral relations with a group of former Pakistan envoys. The moot has been jointly arranged by the Association of Indian Diplomats (AID) and the Association of Former Ambassadors of Pakistan (AFIP). Full Story

Malaysia's Mahathir urges Muslims to boycott Dutch productsPosted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 4:47am

Former Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohamad urged the world's 1.3 billion Muslims to boycott Dutch products following the release of an anti-Islam movie by a maverick anti-immigrant lawmaker, a news report said Sunday. Full Story

Bomb blast in Nepal mosque, two killedPosted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 4:48am

A mosque in eastern Nepal was bombed, killing two people and seriously wounding two others in an attack claimed by a group that wants the Himalayan nation declared a Hindu state. Full Story

Abbas seeks Arab, World protection for PalestiniansPosted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 4:50am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday called on the Syrian-hosted Arab summit to help the Palestinians getting an Arab and international protection in their territories. "Amid an ongoing Israeli escalation in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem, we are seeking Arab and international protection of our people," Abbas said in a speech during the Arab summit hosted by Syria. Full Story

LTTE should denounce violencePosted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 4:51am

Former military commander of the pioneer Tamil militant organization Eelam Revolutionary Organization of Students (EROS) in the east, Rajanathan Prabhakaran said that the armed struggle of the LTTE would not fulfill the political aspirations of the Tamils in the North and East and the LTTE leadership should denounce its violence and concentrate on achieving the rights of the Tamils politically. Full Story

Barak says talks with Syria a 'central objective'Posted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 4:52am

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said the revival of peace talks with Damascus is a key foreign policy objective, according to a statement released on Sunday. "Israel considers the launching of negotiations with Syria and its departure from the circle of extremists to be a central objective," Barak told a closed meeting of European ambassadors on Friday, the statement said. Full Story

Strong earthquake strikes off western coast of Indonesia's Aceh Posted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 4:54am

strong undersea earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale struck early Sunday off the western coast of Indonesia's Aceh province, but there have been no reports of injury or damage, officials said. The quake jolted at 12:30 am (1730 GMT Saturday) with epicenter at 113 kilometers north-west of Sinabang, the main town on the remote Simeulue island off the western coast of Aceh , about 30 kilometers beneath the seabed, said an official of the country's Meteorology and Geophysics Agency. Full Story

Two Gaza militants killed in Israeli air strike: medicsPosted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 4:57am

Palestinian medics said on Sunday they had recovered the bodies of two Palestinian militants killed in an Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip. The two men were identified as Murad Khader, 24, and Rabia Mohsin, 23, were fighters from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, an armed group loosely tied to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah party, they said. Full Story

Eight Taliban killed in southern AfghanistanPosted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 4:58am

Eight Taliban fighters were killed in an operation by Afghan and Western troops after the rebels ambushed a civilian supply convoy in troubled southern Afghanistan, police said on Sunday. Full Story

South Korea calm on North's threat to suspend dialoguePosted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 4:59am

South Korea on Sunday reacted calmly to North Korea's threat to suspend all inter-Korean dialogue in protest over remarks by Seoul's top general. In a first official reaction, the South's defence ministry said it had no plans to respond immediately to the North's message. Full Story

AQ Khan seeks end to solitary confinementPosted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 5:10am

Pakistan's incarcerated nuclear scientist Dr. A Q Khan has requested the government to end his solitary confinement by allowing his friends to meet him.The Nation quoted sources as saying that the request to the government was made through his doctors on Saturday. According to Khan's wife, Henny, he is suffering from chronic depression and has requested the government to release him at least from the torture of loneliness and allow his friends to pay regular visits to him. Full Story

China mounts new attack on Dalai LamaPosted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 5:11am

Chinese state media accused the Dalai Lama of slamming the door on talks over Tibet's future, an apparent response to rising international calls for Beijing to negotiate with Tibet's exiled Buddhist leader. Full Story

Opposition claims early lead in Zimbabwe votePosted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 5:12am

Opposition supporters took to the streets in Harare's dormitory town of Chitungwiza Sunday, singing and dancing as their Movement for Democratic Change claimed an early lead in Zimbabwe's elections. "The sun has set and the old man is going," sang a group in a reference to independent presidential candidate Simba Makoni's symbol of the rising sun and veteran President Robert Mugabe. Full Story

Pakistan continues to train terror outfits: IndiaPosted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 5:13am

The presence of terror camps in Pakistan continues to haunt the security establishment in India, which still feels that ISI-sponsored outfits like JeM, LeT and Al-Badr are responsible for carrying out terrorist attacks in different parts of the country. Full Story

Zimbabwe opposition claims early leadPosted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 4:02pm

Zimbabwe's main opposition party claimed an early lead Sunday in elections, including in some of President Robert Mugabe rural strongholds  an apparent effort to thwart any government attempt to skew the results. Full Story

CIA: Pakistan border 'clear and present danger'Posted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 6:26pm

The situation in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan where al-Qaida has established a safe haven presents a "clear and present danger" to the West, CIA Director Michael Hayden said Sunday NBC's "Meet the Press." Full Story

Iraq fighting a reality checkPosted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 7:29pm

The Iraqi capital locked down by curfew. U.S. diplomats holed up their workplaces, fearing rocket attacks. Nearly every major southern city racked by turmoil. Hundreds killed in less than a week. Full Story

Ethiopia claims arresting suspects in China oil field attack: reportPosted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 7:46pm

Ethiopia said on Sunday its security forces had arrested eight men suspected of involvement in last year's deadly raid on a Chinese oil venture, state media reported. Full Story

Al Qaeda recruiting "western" fighters: CIA bossPosted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 8:12pm

Al Qaeda is training fighters that "look western" and could easily cross U.S. borders without attracting attention, CIA Director Michael Hayden said on Sunday. Full Story

Russian ties, Afghan war at stake for NATO summitPosted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 8:14pm

The largest summit in NATO's history starting next Wednesday could mould the West's relations with Russia for years to come and show whether the U.S.-led alliance has the resolve to win the war in Afghanistan. Full Story

British forces move closer to BasraPosted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 8:15pm

British forces moved closer to Basra on Sunday, witnesses said, but a spokesman said they had no plans yet to retake Iraq's second city, scene of a government crackdown on Shi'ite fighters. Full Story

Death toll from Mogadishu market blasts hits 17Posted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 8:16pm

Hospitals in Mogadishu overflowed with the wounded on Sunday and the death toll from mortar strikes on the city's sprawling main market reached at least 17. Full Story

Sources: Spain to extradite suspect Argentine officerPosted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 8:31pm

Guards took former Argentine officer Ricardo Miguel Cavallo from a Spanish prison Sunday because he will likely be extradited to Argentina to face charges of human rights abuses Monday, sources told CNN. Full Story

Global arms shipments reportedly fell in 2007Posted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 9:21pm

Global arms deliveries fell 8 percent in 2007, but there is little evidence of a long-term decline in the weapons sector, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said on Monday. Full Story

Iranians help reach Iraq cease-firePosted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 9:50pm

Iranian officials helped broker a cease-fire agreement Sunday between Iraq's government and radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, according to Iraqi lawmakers. Full Story

Courtesy Terrorism Research Center, Inc.

Friday, March 28, 2008

CONFLICT & TERROR 03/28

At least 6 killed in attack on Pakistan ambulancePosted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 8:19am

Suspected militants attacked an ambulance in a Pakistani tribal region on the Afghan border on Thursday killing at least six people, including two paramilitary soldiers, a government official said. Full Story

France pledges Afghanistan troopsPosted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 8:24am

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said France will send more troops to bolster Nato's mission in Afghanistan, subject to certain conditions. Mr Sarkozy, who is on a state visit to Britain, said he would make the offer at next week's Nato summit in the Romanian capital, Bucharest. Full Story

US, Bahrain sign deal on nuclear energy cooperation: USPosted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 8:35am

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States and Bahrain signed a deal Monday on peaceful nuclear energy cooperation, holding it up as a model for the Middle East that contrasts with Iran's disputed atomic program. Full Story

Wall Street Terror Threat From al Qaeda Non-specificPosted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 8:35am

Law enforcement officials have alerted Wall Street firms of a new, non-specific terror threat centering on lower Manhattan.Officials point out that the threat is based on unverified intelligence from overseas but was time-specific. The non-specific threat information suggests an al Qaeda terror would like to strike the city sometime this month, a security official said on condition of anonymity.

An NYPD spokesman said the department is aware of the threat and is taking added precautions. The spokesman stressed there is no credible information any plot is imminent, but extra measures will be in place until officials learn more about the overseas sourcing.

Officials with the FBIs Joint Terrorism Task force and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security also downplayed this latest threat to Wall Street. Investigators said a security bulletin was issued as a precaution.Source

Morocco to Build First Military PortPosted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 8:35am

Construction works for Morocco's first military port on the country's Mediterranean coast were launched Monday in the town of Ksar Sghir, Morocco's official MAP news agency reported on Monday. Full Story

Supplier under scrutiny on aging arms for AfghansPosted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 8:40am

Since 2006, when the insurgency in Afghanistan sharply intensified, the Afghan government has been dependent on American logistics and military support in the war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Full Story

Monks disrupt Tibet media visitPosted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 8:50am

Tibetan monks have disrupted a tour by the first foreign journalists invited by China to visit Lhasa since protests erupted two weeks ago, witnesses say. About 30 monks shouted pro-Tibetan slogans and defended the Dalai Lama as journalists toured the Jokhang Temple, the visiting reporters said. Full Story

China to clamp down on mapping websitesPosted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 9:10am

The Chinese government will clamp down on mapping websites and other online geographical information that it fears might undermine national security, state media reported on Thursday. Full Story

Critics upset over US visit to PakistanPosted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 9:14am

Anger intensified in Pakistan on Thursday over the timing of a visit by two U.S. envoys who landed even before foes of U.S.-backed President Pervez Musharraf could name a new Cabinet. Full Story

Alleged Ontario 'terrorist' camp used to find soldiersPosted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 9:40am

An alleged terrorist training camp in rural Ontario was used to "screen" people who could be useful soldiers while most of the campers - a "hapless 'F-Troop'" - were unaware of its true purpose, according to a defence lawyer for one of the accused terrorists.

"All other attendees . . . who were deliberately kept on the 'down low', or ignorant of its purpose . . . had been told it was nothing more than a winter camping trip," a defence lawyer wrote in a factum filed Wednesday in response to one filed earlier by the Crown. Full Story

High-profile Americans' passports breachedPosted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 9:41am

WASHINGTON - State Department workers viewed passport applications containing personal information about high-profile Americans, including the late Playboy playmate Anna Nicole Smith, at least 20 times since January 2007, The Associated Press has learned. Full Story

Police use teargas to disperse tribesmenPosted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 9:48am

Special forces yesterday used teargas to disperse hundreds of tribesmen who staged a protest outside the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) where eight men are detained on the accusation of organizing illegal tribal primary elections.

The action came after tribesmen gathered outside the CID for about five hours and later turned unruly when a number of former MPs tried to intervene to free the detained men. Full Story

Abbas gets ticket to White HousePosted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 9:50am

President Bush has invited Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas to the White House in an effort to give a kick to Mideast peace talks, the White House said Thursday.

The plan, which envisions talks around the beginning of May, was revealed to to reporters on Air Force One by National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe, who was accompanying Bush on a flight to Dayton, Ohio. Full Story

Mystery Sri Lanka campaign to discourage suicide bombersPosted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 10:29am

Sri Lanka has launched a mystery poster campaign inviting would-be Tamil Tiger suicide bombers to phone a government helpline in exchange for 10 million rupees ($92,000) and a new life overseas. Full Story

Pro-Tibet protests continue in Nepal, 17 heldPosted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 10:31am

Police in Nepal detained at least 17 Tibetans on Thursday as anti-China demonstrations continued in Kathmandu, police said. Wrapping their heads and mouths with black cloth, dozens of protesters were marching towards a Chinese consulate office, when policemen stopped them. Full Story

Brown seeks 'Entente Formidable'Posted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 1:05pm

Gordon Brown has announced a series of measures to deepen and strengthen Britain's ties with France saying he wanted an "Entente Formidable". The two countries will hold regular summits and step up co-operation on immigration, defence and the economy. Full Story

Danish soldier killed, three Germans hurt in AfghanistanPosted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 1:26pm

A Danish soldier was killed and another wounded and three German troops were also hurt in attacks in Afghanistan blamed on insurgents linked to the Taliban movement, military officials said. Full Story

Praise and complaints as new Heathrow terminal opensPosted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 1:37pm

Heathrow Airport's gleaming Terminal 5 opened Thursday, launching operations with an early morning arrival of a flight from Hong Kong. The $8.6 billion terminal, able to handle 30 million passengers per year, will be used exclusively by British Airways, which is moving many of its flights from the run-down, congested airport's other terminals to the new building. Full Story

Sarkozy-Brown summit to consider joint nuclear power program, climate changePosted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 1:46pm

French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday struck a multibillion-pound (-dollar; -euro) deal on a defense project with Britain, and promised new cooperation on climate change and immigration  but acknowledged the nations remained divided over a possible boycott of part of Beijing Olympics. Full Story

T5 tech failure causes Heathrow chaosPosted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 2:34pm

The long-awaited opening of a multi-billion dollar new terminal at London's Heathrow airport suffered a major setback Thursday when a high-tech baggage handling system malfunctioned, causing major delays amid flight cancelations. Full Story

5 feared dead in Norway apartment collapsePosted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 2:35pm

A rock slide wrecked a six-story apartment building in a Norwegian coastal city early Wednesday, and rescuers feared that five missing people were killed. Fifteen people were taken to a hospital, police said. The search for survivors was hampered by two later rock slides that hit the crumpled building, partly built into a steep hillside in Aalesund, about 220 miles northwest of Oslo. Full Story

London shares close firmer, off highsPosted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 2:37pm

UK blue chips closed firmer, albeit off highs, as Wall Street recovered, shrugging aside vague rumours about trouble in the banking sector and as a reading on the US economy confirmed a slowdown in the final quarter last year. At the close, the FTSE 100 index was up 57.1 points at 5,717.5, off a peak of 5,735, while the FTSE 250 index was 225.9 points ahead at 9,982. Full Story

Berlusconi keeps Italy guessing over consortium for Alitalia: mediaPosted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 2:38pm

Conservative leader Silvio Berlusconi kept Italy guessing on Thursday over the composition of an Italian consortium that could take over struggling Alitalia and so avoid its sale to Air France-KLM.

The future of the ailing flagship airline, whose unions are negotiating with Air France-KLM over the social terms of the European giant's offer, has become a key election issue ahead of mid-April polls that Berlusconi is tipped to win. Full Story

BBC fears staff details for Olympics stolenPosted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 2:39pm

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) said Thursday it had asked police to investigate after details of more than 400 staff being sent to cover the Olympics in Beijing went missing. The broadcaster said it fears that the two paper files containing passport details may have been stolen from its headquarters in Shepherd's Bush, west London. Full Story

Britain admits its troops abused Iraqi prisonersPosted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 2:40pm

Britain's Defense Ministry is to admit that its troops tortured and breached the human rights of nine Iraqi men they detained in southern Iraq in 2003, opening the way to potentially large compensation claims.

The decision follows years of legal wrangling in which the family of Baha Musa, an Iraqi hotel worker who was beaten and died in British custody, and eight other Iraqis who survived the beatings, have sought justice. Full Story

Brown: UK won't boycott Olympic openingPosted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 2:44pm

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says that Britain would not boycott the opening ceremonies for the Olympic Games in Beijing. Brown was speaking at a news conference Thursday with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who repeated his position that he might shun the opening. Full Story

Greenpeace in Belgium finedPosted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 3:02pm

The Belgian section of the environmental organisation Greenpeace has been fined following a protest at Doel power station in East Flanders. The protest was staged six years ago. In the process demonstrators damaged the fence around the nuclear power plant. Full Story

Easier to fly within EU come SundayPosted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 3:04pm

The border checks at airports in the new Schengen countries will be scrapped with effect from this coming Sunday. The land and sea borders with the nine new members were already fully opened in December last year. The air borders could not yet be opened at that point because the international flight schedules change only twice a year, in autumn and spring. Full Story

Basques bask in prosperity uncurbed by terrorismPosted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 3:05pm

Undaunted by the resurgence of ETA's bloody campaign for independence, the Basque Country last year overtook Madrid as the richest region in Spain. According to figures released yesterday by the National Statistics Institute (INE), GDP per capita in the northern region amounted to EUR 30,599, compared with only EUR 29,965 for Madrid. The average for Spain as whole was EUR 23,396. Full Story

Many killed in Pakistan clashesPosted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 3:22pm

Some 40 people are reported to have been killed in sectarian violence in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (NWFP) that began on Wednesday. The violence follows rising tensions between the Sunni Muslim Orakzai tribe and the minority Shia Katchai tribe. Full Story

Dozens of protesters sentenced in BelarusPosted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 3:23pm

The courts on Wednesday sentenced dozens of protesters detained in an illegal protest against President Alexander Lukashenko, who is accused in the West of stifling human rights. The European Union and the United States criticized the police for rounding up demonstrators.

The EU, generally less strident in its criticism, urged Belarus, a former Soviet republic, to pursue its recent drive for better ties with Western countries. Full Story

Romania reconsiders its welcome of biotech cornPosted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 3:38pm

Romania, which has been one of the most receptive markets on a skeptical Continent for genetically modified crops, is moving toward a reversal of its stance, in what would be another setback for the beleaguered biotechnology industry in Europe. Attila Korodi, Romania's environment minister, said he would ask a committee of experts Thursday to revaluate a gene-altered version of corn, MON810, the only modified crop that has been approved for commercial planting in the European Union. Full Story

Dutch MP posts Islam film on webPosted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 3:43pm

Dutch right-wing politician Geert Wilders has posted a controversial film critical of Islam's holy book, the Koran, on the internet. The opening scenes show a copy of the Koran, followed by footage of the attacks on the US on 11 September 2001. Full Story

Argentine farm strike tests presidentPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 6:41am

President Cristina Fernandez refused to ease tax hikes on agricultural exports Tuesday, facing down angry farmers embroiled in a nationwide strike that has all but halted production in one of the world's biggest beef-exporting nations. Full Story

9 killed in Guatemala shootoutPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 6:44am

Police say at least nine people have been killed and seven wounded in a shootout in eastern Guatemala that is likely tied to drug traffickers. Full Story

Ecuador: FARC raid death harms relationsPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 6:45am

Ecuador on Monday sought the aid of the Organization of American States in condemning the killing of an Ecuadorean citizen in a cross-border military raid on a Colombian guerrilla camp that has strained relations between the Andean neighbors. Full Story

Brazil dealing with dengue outbreakPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 6:50am

Brazil is sending 600 healthcare workers to help at already overburdened hospitals in Rio de Janeiro state amid an outbreak of dengue fever. Full Story

Fidel Castro: Bush in HeavenPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 6:51am

Fidel Castro said US President George W. Bush "might think that God will give him a prize for speeding along the day of the Apocalypse and the Last Judgement, after which he will seat him at His right, in the place of honour." Full Story

Mexican FM Visits Bordering Region with USPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 6:53am

The leadership of the Mexican PRD (Democratic Revolution Party), its electoral organ, and its two main candidates agreed to begin working to clear the electoral process within the group. Full Story

Biofuels Affect LatAm Food SupplyPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 6:53am

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned that food supply in Latin America faces risks due to the production of bio fuels made from agricultural products. Full Story

Mexican FM Visits Bordering Region with USPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 6:55am

Mexican Foreign Affairs Minister Patricia Espinosa initiated a tour all around the borderline with the US to analyze the delicate situation on security, migration and immigrant repatriation issues. Full Story

Fatah demands Hamas cede Gaza before reconciliation talksPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 8:32amPalestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction on Wednesday ruled out talks with Hamas unless the Islamist group first cedes control of Gaza, casting doubt on a Yemen-sponsored reconciliation push.

Fatah and Hamas, which seized control of the coastal enclave last June, agreed in Yemen this week to revive direct talks after months of hostilities to "return the Palestinian situation to what it was before the Gaza incidents." Full Story

Iraqi PM gives Basra gunmen three-day ultimatum to surrenderPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 8:33am

Iraq's prime minister on Wednesday gave gunmen in the southern oil port of Basra a three-day deadline to surrender their weapons and renounce violence as clashes between Shiite militia fighters and Iraqi security forces erupted for a second day. At least 55 people were killed and 300 wounded in Basra and Baghdad after the fighting spread to the capital's main Shiite district of Sadr City, according to Iraqi police and hospital officials. Full Story

Safed chief rabbi calls on state to exact 'revenge' against ArabsPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 8:34am

The chief rabbi of Safed, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, is calling on the government to carry out "state-sanctioned revenge" against Arabs in order to, in his words, restore Israel's deterrence. The Musawa Center for Arab Rights in Israel said it planned to urge the Attorney General to censure Eliyahu over the comments and punish him "at the fullest severity of the law." Full Story

Egypt snubs Syria with minor cabinet ministerPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 8:35am

Egypt's foreign minister says that a minor cabinet minister, rather than the president, will head its delegation to the Arab League summit in Damascus in a snub to host country Syria. Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit has told the state news agency MENA that Mufid Shihab, minister of state for Legal Affairs and Legislative Councils will lead the Egyptian delegation to the summit which begins Friday. Full Story

Philippine army says overruns communist rebel basePosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 8:36am

Philippine troops overran a major communist guerrilla base in the north after a week-long gunbattle, an army general said on Wednesday, warning of reprisals ahead of a key rebel anniversary at the weekend. Full Story

'Many surrender' over Tibet riotsPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 8:36am

More than 660 people have turned themselves in to police following recent violent protests in and around Tibet, Chinese state media has said. Xinhua news agency reported 280 people in Lhasa had handed themselves in by late Tuesday, and earlier reports said 381 people in Sichuan had surrendered. Full Story

Two police officers killed in mine blast in eastern Sri LankaPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 8:48am

Two police officers were killed and three injured Wednesday in a claymore mine explosion in eastern Sri Lanka, where local elections were held less than three weeks ago after the area was recaptured from Tamil rebels, military officials said. Full Story

Eight civilians killed in Afghan blast: policePosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 9:08am
Eight Afghan civilians were killed when a bomb-filled car exploded near a crowded bazaar in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday, police said, in an attack claimed by the Taliban. Full Story

China protests US missile fuse flubPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 9:09am

China on Wednesday strongly protested the U.S. military's mistaken delivery to Taiwan of intercontinental ballistic missile electrical fuses, demanding an investigation and steps to "eliminate the negative effects and disastrous consequences." Full Story

Irish homes raked with submachine-gun fire in latest round of Limerick crime feudPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 9:21am

Police say a gunman has raked six homes with submachine gun fire in the latest round of an epic criminal feud in Ireland's western city of Limerick. The 9-year-old feud between two drug-dealing gangs has claimed at least eight lives, most recently when a 25-year-old man was shot in the chest outside his home in October. Full Story

Dual U.S.-Russia Citizens Face Spy ChargesPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 9:26am

Two brothers who hold dual U.S.-Russian citizenship have been charged with industrial espionage after they allegedly attempted to obtain classified information for foreign energy companies, the domestic successor of the KGB said Thursday. Ilya Zaslavsky, who worked for a Russian venture of the British oil giant BP, and his brother Alexander were arrested March 12, according to the Federal Security Service, known as the FSB. Full Story

Belarussian police break up rallyPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 9:29am

Police in Minsk have broken up an unapproved rally by several thousand people marking 90 years since Belarus's first declaration of independence. Dozens were arrested at the rally, an event which in recent years has become a protest against the authoritarian rule of President Alexander Lukashenko. Full Story

Georgia says NATO delay would fuel conflictsPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 9:46am

Failure by NATO to offer Georgia a membership plan at a summit next week would be seen as a victory in Russia and fuel separatist conflicts in the former Soviet state, Georgia's foreign minister said on Wednesday. David Bakradze said before meeting NATO officials in Brussels he understood some NATO countries were sceptical about offering the Membership Action Plan at the April 2-4 summit in Bucharest but urged them to be firm with Moscow.

"Of course I cannot be confident, because it is a political decision of all 26 member states," he told a news briefing. "But I do hope this decision will be positive." Full Story

Cheney reassures Ankara on US stance against PKKPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 10:01am

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan yesterday expressed satisfaction over seeing a constant US determination to assist in the fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq during his meeting with US Vice President Dick Cheney on Monday in Ankara, the last-stop of Cheney's 10-day regional tour of the Middle East. Full Story

Sarkozy pledges troops to Afghanistan, new cooperation with U.K.Posted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 11:51am

French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrived in London Wednesday for a two-day state visit at which he hoped to create a "new Franco-British brotherhood" to face such issues a nuclear energy, defense, immigration, and the downturn in the global economy.

The French president  accompanied by his glamorous wife, the model-turned-singer Carla Bruni-Sarkozy  was greeted by Queen Elizabeth II, rows of cavalrymen and a military band. He was making the first state visit to Britain by a French president in 12 years. Full Story

Six missing after building collapse in NorwayPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 11:54am

A rock slide wrecked a six-story apartment building in a Norwegian coastal city early Wednesday and rescuers feared five missing people have been killed. Fifteen people were taken to a hospital, police said. The search for survivors was hampered by two later rock slides that hit the crumpled structure, partly built into a steep hillside in Aalesund, about 350 kilometers (220 miles) northwest of Oslo. Full Story

Indonesian prosecutors ask court to ban Jemaah IslamiahPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 12:45pm

Indonesian prosecutors demanded on Wednesday a local court outlaw the Jemaah Islamiah Islamic militant group, which has been blamed for a string of deadly bombings in recent years. Full Story

Sarkozy: We are stronger togetherPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 12:46pm

French President Nicolas Sarkozy says France and Britain have "never been so close", during an historic address to both houses of the UK Parliament. He said he wanted a new Franco-British "brotherhood", stressing that what brought Britain and France together was "stronger than what separates us". Full Story

Air France 'saving Alitalia jobs'Posted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 12:48pm

Air France-KLM has softened its stance on planned job cuts at takeover target Alitalia, as it continues to try to win the backing of Italian unions. With talks due to resume on Friday, Air France-KLM's chief executive Jean-Cyril Spinetta said none of Alitalia's 2,100 staff "would be abandoned". Full Story

10,000 public sector jobs may goPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 12:52pm

Almost 10,000 jobs could be lost across Northern Ireland's government departments, a leading union has said. Nipsa said the axing of 450 jobs by the Housing Executive was just "the tip of the iceberg". It said thousands of public sector posts could go due to an efficiency drive which aims to raise #790m. Full Story

Britain rolls out red carpet as Sarkozy begins state visitPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 1:01pm

French President Nicolas Sarkozy vowed to open a new chapter in ties with Britain on Wednesday as he received a red-carpet welcome on a state visit to London with his glamorous new wife. Sarkozy also hopes the two-day trip will help repair his image as a statesman, following a slump in opinion polls at home fueled by criticism of his style during his recent marital ups-and-downs. Full Story

Czech Senate rejects bill on explicit ban on communism promotionPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 1:03pm

Prague- Members of the Czech Senate, the upper house of the Czech parliament, today rejected a bill that would introduce an explicit ban on the promotion of communism and Nazism and would make it a criminal offence pointing to the incredibility of its drafters. Full Story

UK push for big nuclear expansionPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 1:36pm

Business secretary John Hutton is to call for a "significant expansion" in Britain's nuclear power industry. In a speech to the Unite trade union, he argues the industry should go beyond replacing its 23 ageing reactors, which provide 20% of the UK's electricity. Full Story

Constitution reform plans set outPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 1:40pm

MPs will have the key vote in future deployments of troops to war, Justice Secretary Jack Straw has said. At present the PM and his Cabinet can sanction military action without MPs' approval - although the Commons was consulted before Iraq was invaded. Full Story

MiG-31 interceptors to hold live firing exercises in SiberiaPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 1:50pmUp to 20 long-range interceptors will conduct launches of guided missiles during a tactical exercise in Siberia on Wednesday, a Russian Air Force spokesman said. Full Story

Battle rages in Basra as government cracks downPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 1:51pm

Iraqi forces fought militants loyal to Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Wednesday in the second day of a campaign the government hopes will end militia control without the help of foreign troops. Full Story

Maoists blast railway station in Andhra PradeshPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 1:52pm

Maoists blasted a railway station in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh late on Tuesday night, police said on Wednesday. Full Story

Wilders exploring other options for film releasePosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 1:52pm

Freedom party PVV leader Geert Wilders is still aiming to release his anti-Koran film Fitna before 1 April. But he did not want to say in the corridors of Parliament on Tuesday when and how this will take place. The website on which Wilders planned to put the film was taken off the air on Saturday evening by US provider Network Solutions after it received complaints about the site. A Dutch Muslim organisation has also brought interim proceedings against the politician because of the film. The case will be heard Friday. Full Story

In Turkey, secularists escalate fight against ruling AKPPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 1:53pm

Turkey's secular establishment has dramatically escalated its fight to thwart the growing influence of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the emerging socially and religiously conservative middle class that it represents. Full Story

Lebanon boycotts Arab League summit in SyriaPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 1:55pm

Lebanon will not attend an all-Arab summit in Damascus on March 20-30 in protest against Syria's alleged meddling in its internal affairs. The decision was adopted late on Tuesday by Lebanon's Cabinet. Full Story

E.U. weighs Olympic boycott over TibetPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 1:57pm

If the government of China hopes the world will go for its line on Tibet and the "nefarious" Dalai Lama and his purported "clique"  Europe isn't buying it. Full Story

Suspect in Bhutto bombing that killed 150 freedPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 3:01pm

A man with suspected links to a suicide bombing that killed 150 people at a rally last year for Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was ordered freed from custody Wednesday for lack of evidence, an investigator said. Full Story

New bomb blast as Chile braces for protestsPosted on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 7:59pm

A bomb exploded at a bank in the Chilean capital on Wednesday, the second attack in 10 days, and authorities blamed anarchists, who hold protests at this time every year. Full Story

Up to 100 cars in Austrian crashPosted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 8:00am

Between 50 and 100 vehicles have been involved in a motorway pile-up in Western Austria. At least one person is reported to have been killed and police say they fear a large number may have been injured. Full Story

Sri Lanka navy, air force strike at Tiger rebelsPosted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 9:12am

Sri Lanka's navy battled a Tamil Tiger insurgent fleet early on Tuesday as troops killed 13 separatist fighters and air force planes bombed a rebel supply dump, the military said. Full Story

Saudi King Abdullah calls for Dialogue among Different ReligionsPosted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 9:15am

King Abdullah has called for a dialogue among monotheistic religions, including Judaism, the first such proposal from a country where non-Muslims are banned from practicing their faith. Full Story

Al-Qaida's No. 2: Attack Israel, USPosted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 9:17am

Osama bin Laden's chief deputy intensified an al-Qaida push to rally support for the terror network, urging Muslims to attack Jewish and American targets worldwide in retaliation for Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip.The audiotape by Ayman al-Zawahri released Monday came just days after two messages from bin Laden, who called for a holy war on behalf of the Palestinians and warned of a "severe" reaction against Europe over the republishing of newspaper cartoons seen as insulting Islam's Prophet Muhammad. Full Story
Iraqi forces unleash offensive in southPosted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 9:17am

Heavy fighting erupted Tuesday in the southern city of Basra, where Iraqi security forces introduced a major operation against powerful militias, military officials and witnesses said. A witness in the city reported seeing columns of black smoke over northern districts and hearing the sound of explosions and machine-gun fire. Television pictures showed Iraqi troops running through empty streets and taking cover. Full Story

U.S. ship opens fire on a boat in Suez CanalPosted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 9:24am

An American cargo ship under contract to the U.S. Navy opened fire on a small Egyptian boat while moving through the Suez Canal, the military said Tuesday in a statement. Egyptian authorities said at least one man was killed in the incident. Full Story

Heavy turnout in first Bhutan electionPosted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 9:26am

Orders from the palace sent the people of Bhutan rushing to the polls for their first national elections on Monday, as the once reclusive Land of the Thunder Dragon further opened its doors and joined the world's democracies. Full Story

China raps Olympic torch protestPosted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 9:52am

China has condemned a protest over Tibet at the Olympic torch lighting ceremony in Greece on Monday. In the first reaction from Beijing, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said any attempt to disrupt the torch relay for the Olympic Games was shameful. Full Story

Musharraf swears in new prime minister as U.S. envoys arrive for talksPosted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 9:55am

President Pervez Musharraf swore in a loyalist of slain ex-leader Benazir Bhutto as prime minister Tuesday, as two top U.S. envoys held talks with Pakistan's old and new leaders. Full Story

US launches region's first avian influenza depot in ThailandPosted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 10:15am

The US on Tuesday launched Asia's first avian influenza combat depot in Thailand to supply emergency kits to fight new outbreaks in the region of the H5N1 virus that has killed at least 235 people worldwide. Full Story

Georgia-Russia flights to resumePosted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 10:26am

A direct air service will resume shortly between Russia and Georgia, 18 months after it was suspended by Moscow in a row over alleged spying. The Airzena-Georgian Airlines flight will be from the Georgian capital Tbilisi to Moscow's Domodedovo airport. Full Story

Malaysia PM says 'big mistake' to ignore cyber-campaignPosted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 11:30am

Malaysia's premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Tuesday his "biggest mistake" in disastrous elections was to ignore cyber-campaigning on the Internet which was seized by the opposition. Full Story

Sarkozy 'open to Olympic boycott'Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 11:55am

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said that "all options are open" on possible boycotts of this summer's Olympic Games in China. His aides said France was still opposed to a full boycott but might consider staying away from the opening ceremony, the AFP news agency reported. Full Story

Georgia protest blocks parliamentPosted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 12:23pm

Opposition supporters in Georgia are blockading the main street of the capital, Tbilisi, outside parliament. Around 50 protesters and MPs have been on hunger strike in a tent camp outside parliament for more than two weeks. Full Story

Brown compromise over embryo votePosted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 12:34pm

Gordon Brown says Labour MPs will have a free vote on three controversial parts of his embryo research proposals. He said the measures were of huge importance, but added that he respected the ethical issues involved for some. Full Story

French President refuses to rule out Olympics ceremony boycottPosted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 12:38pm

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Tuesday that "all options were open" regarding a possible boycott of the Beijing Olympics' opening ceremony. "All options are open and I appeal to the Chinese leaders' sense of responsibility," Sarkozy said during a visit to the southwestern Pyrenees region. Full Story

Czech far-right backs anti-Quran filmPosted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 12:43pm

A Czech far-right party has offered to help a Dutch lawmaker distribute an anti-Quran film on the Internet if it is banned from being released in the Netherlands. The offer was made after a U.S. company that provides Web hosting services suspended the site promoting Geert Wilders' 15-minute film, which has sparked demonstrations in the Netherlands even before it has been shown. Full Story

Dozens of vehicles crash on snowy Austrian highwayPosted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 3:02pm

One person was killed and six were seriously injured when some 60 vehicles slammed into each other in heavy snow on Austria's main east-west highway on Tuesday, police said. Rescue workers picked their way through bits of twisted metal, shattered windscreens and lorry freight scattered over the highway while stretchers and ambulances lined up to take away the injured. Full Story

Belarus says it uncovers U.S. spy ring as police clash with protestersPosted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 3:04pm

The intelligence service of Belarus said Tuesday that it had uncovered a spy ring working for Washington, deepening a diplomatic rift between the countries. Hundreds of demonstrators from the ex-Soviet state's liberal and nationalist opposition, meanwhile, staged an unauthorized rally in the center of Minsk and clashed with police. Eyewitnesses said dozens were detained. Full Story

German far-right leader charged with incitement over World Cup pamphletsPosted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 3:05pm

The head of Germany's top far-right party was charged with incitement and defamation Tuesday for allegedly publishing a pamphlet before the 2006 soccer World Cup that prosecutors said called into question whether nonwhite players should be on the national team.

Prosecutor Simone Herbeth said in a statement that Udo Voigt, head of the National Democratic Party, or NPD, was charged with incitement and defamation over the pamphlets. NPD spokesman Klaus Beier and Frank Schwerdt, a leading member, have also been charged, Herbeth said. Full Story

U.S. to cut staff at its embassy in BelarusPosted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 3:07pm

The United States will cut staff levels at its embassy in Minsk by almost half, bowing to demands from Belarus amid worsening relations between the two countries, the Foreign Ministry said Monday. The announcement followed a Belarusian state television report that accused the embassy of setting up a spy ring in the former Soviet republic. Full Story

Medvedev spells out power-sharePosted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 3:32pm

Russia's president-elect, Dmitry Medvedev, has insisted he will be making the key decisions in his power-sharing deal with Vladimir Putin. Mr Medvedev won a landslide election victory this month and will replace Mr Putin, who is expected to become his prime minister, in May. Full Story

Turkish football coaches gunned downPosted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 3:45pm

The head coach and senior goalkeeping trainer of a Turkish Third Division football club were shot and killed by unknown gunmen Tuesday. Sedat Gezer, the coach of Black Sea side Bafraspor, died of wounds in hospital soon after gunmen burst into the club and opened fire while goalkeeping coach Ismail Kurt died at the sceneFull Story

Turkish business group fears regime crisisPosted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 3:49pm

Recent developments in Turkey were a matter of concern and could lead to a polarization of the public which in turn could result in a regime crisis, Turkeys peak business association said Monday.

In a written statement issued in Istanbul, the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmens Association (TUSIAD) said that non-political interventions to political scene prevent Turkey being seen as a country which is governed with universal democracy rules, while opportunities to place advanced democratic standards are missed.Full Story

Neo-nationalist party leader Peringek arrestedPosted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 3:52pm

A Turkish court on Monday filed charges against the leader of a small leftist, neo-nationalistic political party in a probe into a network of extreme nationalists who allegedly want to topple the governing Justice and Development Party (AK Party). Full Story

Uzbekistan: Amid thaw with West, Debate over sanctions intensifiesPosted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 3:55pm

Amid a thaw in relations with the United States and European Union, Uzbek authorities are striving to improve the Central Asian country's human rights image. Civil society activists remain cautious about Tashkent's commitment to curbing rights abuses, however. Uzbekistan has been rated by international monitoring groups, including Freedom House, as among the most repressive states on earth. Full Story

Kyrgyzstan: Rumors About Presidents Health Prompt Official ResponsePosted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 3:59pm

People in Kyrgyzstan are wondering how their president is doing. Kurmanbek Bakiev, abroad for more than two weeks, even missed two of his country's most important holidays over the weekend.

Bakiev went to Germany at the end of February for medical treatment, although the nature of that treatment has never been clear. When Bakiev failed to return home as planned on March 16, rumors started flying that he was gravely ill -- or even dying if not already dead. Full Story

Oil major BP recalls 148 employees from RussiaPosted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 4:03pm

A total of 148 employees of Britain's BP working in Russia for TNK-BP have been recalled from the country due to problems with registration, the Russian-British venture said on Tuesday."We confirm that 148 employees of BP have been recalled from TNK-BP. The reason for their recall is that the status of their stay in Russia has not been fully regulated in line with Russian migration laws," a TNK-BP spokesperson said. Full Story

Britain targets Muslim women to fight extremistsPosted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 8:26pm

In a school in south London, women in headscarves are learning English, childcare skills and citizenship, to smooth their integration into British life. The courses are encouraged under a new government policy to "empower" Muslim women, ultimately to combat the threat from Islamist violence, a threat made brutally clear when four homegrown suicide bombers killed 52 people in London in 2005. Full Story

Terror trial for Toronto-area youth beginsPosted on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 8:27pm

A teenager charged with belonging to a terror cell that planned attacks in southern Ontario pleaded not guilty on Tuesday in the first trial related to an alleged 2006 plot. Full Story

Courtesy Terrorism Research Center, Inc.