World Watching Politics Archived # 2

 

Top Stories Worldwide

New Israeli system alters war against Gaza rockets – AP

A new Israeli-made missile defense system has gotten off to an encouraging start

shooting down at least eight rockets in a test run that could potentially change the long-running war between Israel and Palestinian rocket squads in Gaza.

Israeli officials say the $200 million “Iron Dome” has performed beyond all expectations, raising hopes the military has finally found a way to rob Hamas militants of their most potent weapon: the short-range rockets that have made life miserable for large swaths of the population over the past decade.

The repeated successes have raised spirits in Israel’s embattled southern region, prompted a congratulatory visit to an Iron Dome battery on Sunday by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and fueled calls, perhaps unrealistic, that the system be deployed nationwide. Experts say Iron Dome is the first system in the world capable of knocking down rudimentary rockets favored by militants around the globe.

 

 

Libya rebels, Italy say peace 'road map' must lead to Kadafi's ouster

Libya rebels, Italy say peace ‘road map’ must lead to Kadafi’s ouster

By Ned Parker and Borzou Daragahi,

The strongman’s opposition has stressed that no relative or representative of Kadafi can remain in power. NATO airstrikes appear to have pushed his forces back from Ajdabiya.

Ivory Coast's Laurent Gbagbo is captured

Ivory Coast’s Laurent Gbagbo is captured

By Robyn Dixon, Los Angeles Times Updated 10:15 a.m.Ivory Coast’s Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to concede defeat in elections or in battle, was seized by opposition forces Monday and taken to…

Three strong aftershocks jolt Japanese quake zone

By Kenji Hall and John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Times

Three powerful aftershocks struck already jittery northeastern Japan within the span of 10 minutes on Monday, as the government announced…

 

US politician says action in Libya driven by selfish motives

New Gaza flotilla ‘must be stopped’: Israel

The planned dispatch of a flotilla of ships attempting to break the blockade on Gaza “must be stopped,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a group of European representatives on Monday.

Speaking at a lunch with EU heads of mission in Jerusalem, Netanyahu said stopping the flotilla from heading to the coastal territory was a “common interest” for Israel and Europe.

“We are aware that there is an attempted provocation in May, possibly early June of a another so-called flotilla, not a peace flotilla but a provocation, a deliberate provocation to seek to ignite this part of the Middle East,” he said.

“I think it’s in your and our common interest, and I think it’s something that you should… transmit to your governments, that this flotilla must be stopped.”

Activists from 25 countries plan to sail around 15 ships to Gaza in May to mark the first anniversary of a smaller flotilla that attempted to sail to the territory last year but was intercepted by Israeli troops.

 

 

Poland: Kaczynski holds rival Smolensk crash ceremony

Official ceremonies being held a year after a plane crash that killed Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski have been boycotted by his twin brother. Jaroslaw Kaczynski has condemned the government’s handling of the affair, and held…
photo: WN / Marzena Jazowska

Members of Hamas' security forces inspect a car after an Israeli air strike in Deir Al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip early April 2, 2011.

GAZA CITY ? The Gaza Strip’s Hamas rulers declared a state of emergency for the security forces Saturday in the wake of confrontations with Israel that have killed 18. The Hamas move came after Israel’s military killed two Palestinians in Gaza on…
photo: WN / Ahmed Deeb

An electoral worker delivers a box of ballots to a polling center in Lima, Peru, Saturday April 9, 2011.

Some 20 million Peruvians are to head to the polls on Sunday for a tight presidential election, in which four candidates are regarded as having good chances of making it to the June 5 runoff. Polls have showed that none of the 10 candidates were…
photo: AP / Silvia Izquierdo

Pedestrians walk along a street in downtown Tokyo, Friday, April 8, 2011.

* Scenario needs to be revised after latest quake * Current scenario based on 7.3 magnitude quake * Major companies unlikely to move out of capital By Linda Sieg April 10 (Reuters) – More than 10,000 people dead, hundreds of thousands injured, nearly…
photo: AP / Sergey Ponomarev

Soldiers loyal to Alassane Ouattara detain a woman, who they suspected of being a Liberian mercenary but later released, as they arrive at a republican forces operating base at one of the main entrances to Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Thursday, April 7, 2011.

ABIDJAN (AFP) – Fighters for Ivorian president-in-waiting Alassane Ouattara were accused on Saturday of new atrocities as the United Nations warned that forces backing his rival Laurent Gbagbo were gaining ground in Abidjan. Human Rights Watch…
photo: AP / Rebecca Blackwell

Crowds stand on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial Saturday, April 9, 2011 in Washington.

Obama and Democrats forced to accept $39bn package of cuts while Republicans gave way on health care for women John Boehner, Speaker of the House of Representatives, negotiating on the phone with President Obama on Friday evening…
photo: AP / Alex Brandon

A man walks out of a branch of Landsbanki in Reykjavik, Iceland Tuesday Oct. 7, 2008 . Iceland nationalized its second-largest bank Landsbanki on Tuesday under day-old legislation and negotiated a euro4 billion (US$5.4 billion) loan from Russia to shore up the nation's finances amid a full-blown financial crisis. The moves came a day after trading in shares of major banks was suspended, the Icelandic krona lost a quarter of its value against the euro, and the government rushed through emergency legislation giving it new powers to deal with the financial meltdown. Prime Minister Haarde warned late Monday that the heavy exposure of the tiny country's banking sector to the global financial turmoil raised the spectre of "national bankrup

Icelanders are set to vote in a referendum on the latest plan to repay the UK and Netherlands debts incurred when its banking system collapsed. The country overwhelmingly rejected a previous repayment plan, which was put to a referendum last March….
photo: AP / Arni Torfason

 

 

File - Police officers stand guard outside the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011, during a protest to demand Chinese authorities to release the imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo and other dissidents.
photo: AP / Vincent Yu

China tells US: Stop preaching on human rights

read more BBC News

China has told the US to stop preaching on human rights, after the state department’s annual report on the issue criticised China. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the US should concentrate on its own rights issues and stop interfering. Chinese authorities have launched a major crackdown on dissent recently….

 

 

 

 

LONDON, April 8 (UPI) — Former Libyan Foreign Minister Musa Kusa was interviewed by Scottish police investigating the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, officials said.

NATO won't apologize for attack on rebels

TRIPOLI, Libya, April 8 (UPI) — NATO said Friday it will not apologize for the deaths of rebels in a friendly fire attack near the Libyan oil port city of Brega.

Israel strikes back after school bus hit

JERUSALEM, April 8 (UPI) — Israeli airstrikes, launched in retaliation for a rocket attack on a school bus, killed five Palestinians and injured at least 40, Israeli officials said.

Criminal probe in plane crash continues

MOSCOW, April 8 (UPI) — Russian investigators are going to Poland as part of a criminal investigation into the plane crash that killed Polish President Lech Kaczynski, officials say.

Gulf Council mediating Saleh ouster talks

DOHA, Qatar, April 8 (UPI) — Members of the Gulf Cooperation Council “hope to reach a deal” that will lead to the ouster of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Qatar’s prime minister said.

More than 100 bodies found in Ivory Coast

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, April 8 (UPI) — More than 100 bodies were found in Ivory Coast, which has been torn by a conflict between forces backing rivals for the presidency, the United Nations said.

Nuclear crisis may be easing

TOKYO, April 8 (UPI) — Japan’s quake-disabled Fukushima nuclear plant is far from being stabilized but the threat of a total meltdown appears unlikely, U.S. officials said.

 

Egyptian Protesters Demand Mubarak Prosecution

Apr 8, 2011  |AP

CAIRO — Tens of thousands of Egyptians waved flags and shouted slogans Friday in Cairo’s central Tahrir Square, demanding that Hosni Mubarak and his family be put on trial over allegations of…

Ivory Coast Leader: We’ll Starve Out Gbagbo

Apr 8, 2011 |AP

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast — Ivory Coast’s democratically elected leader said his forces will starve out the entrenched strongman who remains holed up underground at the presidential residence and that…

Million Homes Without Power After Latest Japan Quake

Apr 8, 2011  |AP

SENDAI, Japan — Nearly a million homes suffered blackouts in Japan’s northeast Friday after a new earthquake killed three people and piled more misery on a region buried under the rubble of last…

 

 

 

Libya’s rebels claim that since diplomatic efforts got under way, NATO’s military campaign has eased – at a cost to rebel and civilian lives.

Libyan rebels prepare to tow a vehicle, belonging to pro-Qaddafi forces, that rebels claim were targeted by a NATO strike along the front line near Brega, Libya, on Tuesday, April 5. Libya’s rebel forces are looking more effective on the front and even scrapping back some of the territory lost to Muammar Qaddafi’s army, but the rag tag fighters are still a long way from being able to march to Tripoli.

 

 

 

Ouattara forces storm Gbagbo residence

Pro-Ouattara forces ordered not to kill Laurent Gbagbo, still in bunker after fierce assault on his presidential palace.
Last Modified: 06 Apr 2011 13:15 GMT

 

 

 

The proposal allows Israel to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank in exchange for equal amounts of territory [EPA]

 

Key points of the Israeli plan for Peace

Territory: Israel would withdraw to 1967 borders, but would swap land in the West Bank (up to seven per cent of its total area) on a 1:1 ratio.

Jerusalem: Israel would control Jewish neighborhoods, Palestine would control Arab neighborhoods; Israel would control the Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall; the Haram al-Sharif would be under nobody’s control.

Refugees: Refugees would receive financial compensation, but would only be allowed to return to Palestine, except for “mutually agreed-upon symbolic exceptions” who would return to Israel.

Syria: Israel would withdraw from the Golan Heights over five years, except for “agreed minor modifications and land swaps.”

 

A group of prominent Israelis, including former high-ranking military and intelligence officials, has unveiled an “Israeli peace initiative” which it hopes will prod their government towards a deal with the Palestinian Authority – but few of the group’s proposals are new, and several have been rejected in the past by Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

The plan, unveiled on Wednesday, would call for Israel to withdraw to 1967 borders, with a series of swaps allowing it to annex major Jewish settlements in the West Bank. It would not provide a right of return for Palestinian refugees, though they would receive financial compensation; and it calls for normalised relations between Israel and Arab states.

“The key principle of all regional peace agreements shall be Israeli withdrawals, guaranteed security, normal relations, and an end to all conflicts,” the proposal states.

A group of about 40 people worked on the project, including former army chief Amnon Lipkin-Shahak; former Mossad chief Danny Yatom; Yaakov Perry and Ami Ayalon, both former heads of Shin Bet; and Amram Mitzna, a former leader of the Labour party.

“We looked around at what was happening in neighbouring countries and we said to ourselves, ‘It is about time that the Israeli public raised its voice as well,'” Yatom told the New York Times.

The current Israeli government has yet to comment on the proposal. Prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s office says he has received a copy, but will not comment on the substance of the proposal. Deputy prime minister Dan Meridor said on Tuesday that he had not seen the document.

 

 

In this Saturday, April 2, 2011 photo released by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the maintenance pit of Unit 2 reactor, where highly radioactive water spilled into the sea through a crack, is photographed after pouring the concrete into it to keep from further leak, at Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear nuclear power plant in Okumamachi, Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan.
photo: AP / Tokyo Electric Power Co.

Radioactive water stops leaking from Japan plant

read more The Guardian

TOKYO (AP) — The utility that owns the crippled Japanese nuclear reactor says that highly radioactive water has stopped leaking into the ocean. Tokyo Electric Power Co. spokesperson Naoki Tsunoda said Wednesday the company’s attempt to stem the leak by injecting 1,500 liters (400 gallons) of “water glass,” or sodium silicate, and another agent near…

 

 

Wounded anti-government protestors receive help in a field hospital during clashes with Yemeni forces in Taiz, Yemen, Tuesday, April 5, 2011.
photo: AP / Yemen Lens

International pressure mounts on Yemen leader

read more Al Jazeera

International pressure is mounting on Yemen’s president Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down, after at least 19 people have been killed in anti-government protests in the last two days. Strong statements from the United States, United Nations, European Union, Britain and Italy came as Saleh backers clashed with protesters in the capital,...

 

 

Soldiers loyal to Alassane Ouattara man a checkpoint at one of the principal entrances to Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Tuesday, April 5, 2011.
photo: AP / Rebecca Blackwell

Ivory Coast: Ouattara forces ‘storm Gbagbo residence’

read more BBC News

Forces opposed to Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo have launched a final assault on the presidential residence where he is holed up, reports say. Mr Gbagbo has been in negotiations with the UN over the terms of his departure, after being besieged by troops loyal to his rival Alassane…

 

 

A Yemeni boy, right, looks on while praying with female anti-government protestors during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa, Yemen, Monday, April 4, 2011. Yemeni troops have opened fire on protesters demanding the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
photo: AP / Muhammed Muheisen

17 dead in Yemen, Saleh loses US favour

read more Yahoo Daily News

SANAA (AFP) – Yemeni security forces shot dead at least 17 protesters on Monday as Gulf states offered their mediation and Washington reportedly pulled the plug on embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh. “The death toll has gone up to 17,” said Sadeq al-Shujaa, head of a makeshift field hospital at a square in central Taez after
security forces fired on demonstrators marching on the local governorate headquarters.

Witnesses said the demonstrators stormed the courtyard of the governorate and that plainclothes gunmen and rooftop snipers also opened fire to push them back.

The bloodshed, a day after another protester was shot dead in Taez, 200 kilometres (125 miles) from the capital, sent the death toll to more than 100 in a crackdown on protests in the impoverished state since late January.

With the rising toll, Saleh, a longtime US ally in Washington’s fight against Al-Qaeda, is losing American support.

The White House warned on Monday that Al-Qaeda could take advantage of a power vacuum in Yemen and that a timetable for transferring power from Saleh should begin.

 

 

 

 

 

The Libyan government has said it is open to political reform, but Muammar Gaddafi must stay in power to avoid a Somalia- or Iraq-style power vacuum.

 

Libyan men join a rally in support of the allied air campaigns against the troops of Moammar Gadhafi in Benghazi, eastern Libya, Wednesday, March 23, 2011.
photo: AP / Anja Niedringhaus

Libya: Government says Libya needs Gaddafi in power

read more BBC News

The Libyan government has said it is open to “any” political reform but Muammar Gaddafi must stay in power to avoid a new Iraq or Somalia. A spokesman told Reuters that Colonel Gaddafi was a “unifying figure”, and insisted his…

 

 

 

 

Ivory Coast’s defiant President Laurent Gbagbo is sheltering with his family in the basement bunker of his residence in the main city, Abidjan.

 

A street in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, is seen in this frame made from TV, Friday, April 1, 2011.
photo: AP / APTN

Final battle rages in Ivory Coast, forces close in

read more The Boston Globe

 

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast-United Nations and French forces closed in on Ivory Coast’s presidential palace early Tuesday after launching full assaults on the residence of the entrenched leader, the republican guard, two major military bases and state TV. Fighters aiming to topple strongman Laurent Gbagbo had succeeded in taking nearly the entire…

Finally 9/11 Suspects To Go On Trial

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International Politics Today

In this photo taken on Tuesday, March 29, 2010, people walk with their belongings towards a railway station as they leave Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
photo: AP / Emanuel Ekra

As many as 1,000 killed in Ivory Coast town, Red Cross says

read more Hartford Courant

Reporting from Johannesburg, South Africa— As forces loyal to rival presidents fought pitched battles in the country’s biggest city, the reported an ominous development in the increasingly brutal struggle for control: the massacre of up to 1,000 civilians in a western town. The killings in Duekoue reportedly came over the course of three days…

“We were shocked by the magnitude of the brutality of the event,” said Dorothea Krimitsas. “Our colleagues found a huge amount of bodies.”

A spokesman for Ouattara said Saturday that his loyalists killed only fighters in the town as they swept down from the north, taking vast swaths of the West African country in their bid to force Laurent Gbagbo to cede power. The capital, Yamoussoukro, fell last week with barely a shot fired.

The Red Cross and the Catholic charity Caritas, which sent teams to Duekoue last week, called for a thorough investigation.

The killings occurred in an area where ethnic and communal tensions over land have been deepened by the recent political crisis, which began when Gbagbo, the incumbent, refused to leave office after the international community declared Ouattara the winner in the U.N.-certified election in November.

African and world leaders have called on Gbagbo to relinquish power to end the bloodshed. But he has dug in as fighting spread across many districts of Abidjan, the commercial capital. The fiercest battles were near the presidential palace in the Cocody neighborhood, where many believe Gbagbo may be.

 

 

French troops drive past in a armored car in the city of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Thursday, March 31, 2011.
photo: AP / Emanuel Ekra

Ivory Coast: French forces take over Abidjan airport

read more BBC News

French troops have taken over the airport in Ivory Coast’s main city, Abidjan, the AFP news agency reports. France is also sending an extra 300 soldiers to Ivory Coast, military spokesman Thierry Burkhard told AFP….

A spokesman for the Ouattara government said Laurent Gbagbo now only controlled the presidential palace and the presidential residence.

But Abidjan’s residents report a more mixed picture with armed groups loyal to the two sides roaming the city. There are formal forces but also the youth militia groups that have been armed as well.

So far, pro-Ouattara forces have been unable to capture any of the key targets they have been fighting for since Thursday – the presidential offices, residence, state television and major barracks.

Several key military leaders, including the head of the army have abandoned Mr Gbagbo, but his forces do still have superior weaponry including several tanks.

There are several sections of the city that are without electricity, and the way the system works means that the electrical pumps are not working either so the water is off as well.

It is very difficult for people to get out of their homes to buy basic supplies, even a bottle of water, just because of the violence going on in the streets.

Afghan protestors walk with sticks, as they carry a wounded colleague during a demonstration to condemn the burning of a copy of the Muslim holy book by a U.S. Florida pastor, in Kandahar southern of Afghanistan on Saturday, April. 2, 2011.
photo: AP / Allauddin Khan

State Officials: Koran-Burning Led To 20 Deaths

read more MSNBC

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.  — WPBF.com State officials said that Pastor Terry Jones’s act of burning the Koran in March 20 fanned the flames of anti-American sentiment and led to dozens of deaths as Muslims attacked a United Nations headquarters in Afghanistan. Seven months after Jones bowed to public pressure and vowed to never burn the book again.  THEN

Jones did it again, and officials said one of the direct consequences of the act is the loss of almost 20 lives.

Officials said that UN workers and soldiers in Afghanistan died, as well as some Afghan nationals, after angry Muslims attacked in retribution to Jones’ Koran-burning.

While Jones’ actions also made Florida Muslims angry, a local Muslim leader is calling for an end to the violence.

Jay Samara has been in the United States for 40 years, and he said one of the best aspects of American life is the freedom of expression.

Samara is a practicing Muslim and reads from his Koran daily, but he said Jones’ act of burning the Koran doesn’t trouble him as much as the outrage shown by Muslims in other countries.

“There is nothing to be upset about, it’s just a book. Whether it’s about God, Jesus, Mohammed, it’s just foolishness,” Samara, the spokesman for the Glades Muslim community, said.

Samara said he lives by the old Arabic proverb, “Religion is for God, and the country is for all.”

“If we listened to that (proverb), we would have no problems of the sort regarding religion,” Samara said.

Samara said those acting out violently in other countries are way out of line, and although he’s a firm believer in the freedom of speech, he said Jones, could’ve found a different way to gain publicity.

Chaos Escalates in Ivory Coast Over Disputed Presidency

Two Reuters Journalists Missing In Syria

 

Pro-Syrian President Bashar Assad protester, waves Syrian flag as she looks to the crowed who demonstarte to show their support for their president, in Damascus, Syria, on Tuesday March 29, 2011. Pledging allegiance for President Bashar Assad as he faces the biggest challenge to his 11-year rule, hundreds of thousands of Syrians gathered in a central Damascus square Tuesday, waving his pictures and chanting support. (AP Photo/Bassem Tellawi)

CHINA  HAS NO PATIENCE WITH NARCO-TRAFFIC

China Executes Filipino Drug Couriers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



MANILA—China executed three convicted Filipino drug couriers Wednesday, triggering grief and anger in the Philippines that threatened to undermine an already tense relationship between the two countries.

 

 

 

India's cricket player Sachin Tendulkar, left, looks on as Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, right, and Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, center, greet the players and supporters ahead of the the Cricket World Cup semifinal match between Pakistan and India in Mohali, India, Wednesday, March 30, 2011.
photo: AP / Gurinder Osan

Leaders talk as cricketers clash in Mohali

read more Al Jazeera

The prime ministers of India and Pakistan are meeting during a World Cup cricket match between the countries, hoping to use one of the world’s biggest sporting contests to rebuild relations shattered by the Mumbai attacks. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh invited his counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani to watch the semi-final match in the northern…

 

 

Pro-Syrian President Bashar Assad supporters hold Assad's poster with Arabic words reading: "I'll not kneel as long as you are my leader," as they demonstrate to show their support for their President, in Damascus, Syria, on Tuesday March 29, 2011. Pledging allegiance for President Bashar Assad as he faces the biggest challenge to his 11-year rule, hundreds of thousands of Syrians gathered in a central Damascus square Tuesday, waving his pictures and chanting support.
photo: AP / Bassem Tellawi

Syrian leader to address nation amid unrest

read more The Associated Press

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syrian President Bashar Assad is to address the nation Wednesday for the first time since unprecedented protests erupted in this tightly controlled Arab country, a speech seen as a crucial test for his leadership and one that may determine Syria’s future. Assad is expected to announce constitutional amendments and sweeping…

 

 

Floods trigger southern Thai landslides; 15 dead
photo: WN / Agnieszka Dziubinska

Floods trigger southern Thai landslides; 15 dead

read more The Guardian

BANGKOK (AP) — At least four people have been killed in landslides in southern Thailand, bringing to 15 the death toll in the flood-battered region. A Krabi province official says another 10-20 people are missing in the landslides from late Tuesday night. Some seven villages were affected by the slides, three of which were inaccessible Wednesday…

 

 

In this March 24, 2011 aerial photo taken by small unmanned drone and released by AIR PHOTO SERVICE, the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant is seen in Okumamachi, Fukushima prefecture, northern Japan. From top to bottom, Unit 1 through Unit 4.
photo: AP / AIR PHOTO SERVICE

Japan to scrap stricken nuclear reactors

read more BBC News

Japan is to decommission four stricken reactors at the quake-hit Fukushima nuclear plant, the operator says. Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) made the announcement three weeks…

 

 

An anti-government protestor, center, shouts during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa,Yemen, Tuesday, March 29, 2011.
photo: AP / Muhammed Muheisen

Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh loses grip on several provinces

read more The Los Angeles Times

A tribal insurgency in the north and Islamic militants in the south capitalize on turmoil to make territorial gains. Share Related Stories By Garrett Therolf, Los Angeles Times

 

 

Former President Jimmy Carter, second from right, and his wife Rosalynn Carter, second from left, are welcomed by Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, right, and an unidentified protocol official upon their arrival to the Jose Marti airport in Havana, Cuba, Monday, March 28, 2011. Carter arrived in Cuba to discuss economic policies and ways to improve Washington-Havana relations, which are even more tense than usual over the imprisonment of a U.S. contractor on the island.
photo: AP / Ismael Francisco, Prensa Latina

Carter in Cuba amid heightened US-Havana tension

read more Inquirer

HAVANA?Former US president Jimmy Carter launched a three-day mission in Cuba on Monday aimed at easing tensions with Havana, and raising hopes a jailed US government contractor may be freed. Carter, 86, is visiting the communist-run island at the invitation of the Cuban government for talks to help improve strained relations between Washington and…

 

 

Rebel soldiers loyal to Ivory Coast opposition leader Alassane Ouattara, the widely recognized winner of an election that millions once hoped would reunite the West African nation, work to attack the Government soldiers in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Thursday Dec. 16, 2010. Gunfire and explosions shook Ivory Coast's main city Thursday as supporters and security forces loyal to the two men claiming to be president clashed in the streets, killing at least 15 people and bolstering fears the world's top cocoa producer is teetering on the edge of another civil war.
photo: AP / Sunday Alamba

Ivory Coast braced for final battle as city falls

read more The Independent

Forces loyal to Ivory Coast’s internationally recognised President claimed yesterday to have seized an important city, an event that could mark the beginning of military operations in the West African country that has teetered for months on the brink of civil war. The area…

 

 

 

U.S. Marines, from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, patrol in the town of Garmser in Helmand Province of Afghanistan Thursday, July 10, 2008. Some 2,200 U.S. Marines, who have been deployed since late April, moved into the town of Garmser to clean the area of insurgents.
photo: AP / Rafiq Maqbool

US apologizes for more Afghan ‘kill team’ photos

read more The Times of India

WASHINGTON: The US military apologized again on Monday after Rolling Stone published more photos and videos of members of an alleged rogue army unit “kill team” accused of killing Afghan civilians for sport. A week after one soldier was jailed after striking a plea bargain to testify against the alleged ringleader, the weekly magazine published a…

 

 

 

An evacuee is screened for radiation exposure at a testing center Tuesday, March 15, 2011, in Koriyama city, Fukushima prefecture, Japan, after a nuclear power plant on the coast of the prefecture was damaged by Friday's earthquake.
photo: AP / Wally Santana

Japan on ‘maximum alert’ over nuclear crisis: PM

read more Zeenews

Osaka: Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan today said his government is in a “state of maximum alert” over the crisis at the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, Jiji Press reported. Kan told a lower house budget committee meeting that the situation “continues to be unpredictable” and that the government “will tackle the problem while in a state of…

 

 

 

photo: WN / Marzena Jazowska

Scotland Yard let us down, say stores attacked by anarchists

read more The Daily Telegraph

The Metropolitan Police has been criticised by retailers in the West End of London who have questioned why they were not warned their stores would come under attack from anarchists during the weekend’s protest march. The Ritz Hotel was attacked by masked men throwing tables and scaffolding poles Photo: REUTERS Shops and hotels were daubed with…

 

 

Libyan rebels flee as shelling from Gadhafi's forces start landing on the frontline outside of Bin Jawaad, 150 km east of Sirte, central Libya, Tuesday, March 29, 2011.
photo: AP / Anja Niedringhaus

Gaddafi’s troops halt rebel advance

read more Al Jazeera

Troops loyal to longtime Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi have shelled pro-democracy forces heading west on the main coastal highway, pushing them out of Bin Jawad, a small town around 150 kilometres east of Sirte, Gaddafi’s hometown. The reversal on Tuesday for Libya’s nascent opposition came after their forces made a speedy, two-day…

 

Army says Mubarak, family forced to stay in Egypt

CAIRO, March 28 (Reuters) – Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his family are not allowed to leave the country, the military council to which he handed power on Feb. 11 said on Monday.

Egypt eyes September elections CNN International

Egypt confirms to hold national election in September WTAQ

Japan's Self-Defense Force's members and others in protective gear prepare to transfer workers who stepped into contaminated water on Thursday during their operation at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, at a hospital in Fukushima, northern Japan Friday, March 25, 2011.
photo: AP / Yomiuri Shimbun, Takuya Yoshino

Radioactivity soars in Japan reactor

read more Al Jazeera

Radiation at a hobbled nuclear plant in Japan was 10 million times more than normal, officials said. Workers were evacuated on Sunday from the reactor building in Fukushima to prevent exposure, the plant’s operator said. The high radiation levels were detected at reactor number 2 in water that had accumulated in the turbine housing…

Syrian army soldiers stand guard at Sheikh Daher Square after the violence between security forces and armed groups in Latakia, northwest of Damascus, Syria, on Sunday, March 27, 2011.
photo: AP / Hussein Malla

Syria deploys troops after clashes

read more Al Jazeera

Syria has deployed security forces to the northern city of Latakia after violent protests left there at least 12 people dead and more than 150 injured amid calls for reform. Troops patrolled the streets of Latakia – a religiously diverse port city 350km northwest of the capital, Damascus – in force on Sunday, in response to a wave of…

 

Libyan rebels celebrate in the city of Ajdabiya, south of Benghazi, eastern Libya, Saturday, March 26, 2011.
photo: AP

Libyan rebels retake strategic oil towns

read more San Fransisco Chronicle

0 (03-27) 04:00 PDT Ajdabiya, Libya — Libyan rebels backed by allied warplanes recaptured a pair of strategic oil towns Sunday as they erased recent losses and returned to the doorstep of Moammar Khadafy’s most important bastion of support in his tribal homeland of Sirte. Their swift return once again sets the stage for what both sides consider a…

Libyan rebels reclaim two oil centers in sweep west

Libyan rebels reclaim two oil centers in sweep west

Updated 9:58 a.m.

Rebels regain Ras Lanouf and Brega after international airstrikes push Kadafi’s military out. “There was no resistance. Kadafi’s forces just melted away,” one witness said.

Violent protests spread in Syria

Financial Times – Roula Khalaf, Delphine Strauss – ?11 minutes ago?
Violent anti-government protests were reported in two more Syrian towns on Saturday as security forces struggled to contain the uprising in the Ba’athist state long considered one of the Arab region’s most repressive regimes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video: Update: Anger in Syria Al Jazeera

 

 

Libya Cedes Control of Key City

Wall Street Journal – Sam Dagher

TRIPOLI—Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s regime said Saturday it has ceded the eastern gateway city of Ajdabiya to rebels, in the first major turnaround in Libya’s ground battle since the start of international airstrikes one week ago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Video: Libya rebels claim gains on Gaddafi, take back Ajdabiya as bombs rain down RT

Libya rebels claim gains on Gaddafi, take back Ajdabiya as bombs rain down

RT

Voice of AmericaMonsters and Critics.comBBC NewsNew York Times

 

A woman passes the day away with her newborn at an evacuee center for leaked radiation from the damaged Fukushima nuclear facilities, Friday, March 25, 2011 in Soma, Fukushima prefecture, Japan.
photo: AP / Wally Santana

Japan crisis: nuclear workers exposed to 10,000 times more radiation than normal

read more The Daily Telegraph

Concerns over the extent of radioactive contamination in Japan deepened after it emerged that three workers admitted to hospital this week were exposed to radiation levels 10,000 times higher than normal This photo, taken on 11 March and released on 23 March, shows waves forming in the sea after the tsunami hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant…

 

Libya test for NATO starts at Ajdabiya

British warplanes bombarded Qadaffi’s forces around Ajdabiya overnight Thursday, emboldening rebels who may attempt to take the city and gain ground in Libya.

Libyan men attend Friday prayers in the main square in Benghazi, eastern Libya, Friday, March 25. The city saw many casualties during recent fighting in and around the city of Ajdabiya, where rebels clash now for weeks with troops of Muammar Qaddafi.

Anja Niedringhaus/AP

Assad offers freedoms after forces kill 37

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Reuters – Suleiman al-Khalidi

Protesters drag away a body as it lies among others in a street during a demonstration in Deraa, March 23, 2011 and posted on a social media website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Video: Inside Story – Syria’s 40-year rule challenged Al Jazeera

Thousands March to Protest Syria Killings New York Times

French jets shoot down Libyan warplane

 

 

The Australian – ?12 minutes ago?

FRENCH fighter jets shot down a Libyan warplane over the city of Misratah early today as allies claimed Libya had violated the UN-declared no fly zone over the country, and Western military chiefs said Libya’s air force was almost obliterated.

Gadhafi’s Warplane Shot Down by French Fighter Jets in Misrata ABC News

French Jets ‘Shoot Down’ Libyan Warplane Sky News

Screen icon Elizabeth Taylor dies

Dame Elizabeth Taylor, one of the biggest movie stars of the 20th Century, dies in Los Angeles at the age of 79.

* A star who redefined celebrity

* Obituary: Elizabeth Taylor

* Tributes paid to legendary actress

* In pictures: Elizabeth Taylor

* Elizabeth Taylor filmography

A Syrian army soldier steps out from the burned court building that was set on fire by Syrian anti-government protesters, in the southern city of Daraa, Syria, on Monday March 21, 2011. Mourners chanting "No more fear!" have marched through a Syrian city where anti-government protesters had deadly confrontations with security forces in recent days. The violence in Daraa, a city of about 300,000 near the border with Jordan, was fast becoming a major challenge for President Bashar Assad, who tried to contain the situation by freeing detainees and promising to fire officials responsible for the violence.
photo: AP / Hussein Malla

Protest spreads in Syria as police move on mosque

read more The Jordan Times

 

Tweet Protests spread in southern Syria Tuesday as hundreds of people marched to demand reforms in a previously peaceful village, witnesses and activists said, the Associated Press reported. Troops and protesters faced off in a nearby city outside a mosque where demonstrators have taken shelter. The government sought to contain the first serious…

NATO to direct ongoing Libyan air strikes
LIBYA
The US, France and the United Kingdom have agreed that NATO should “play a key role” in the command of the ongoing Libyan operation. Despite three days of attacks, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi remains defiant.

 

US warplane crashes in east Libya

Two US airmen are rescued in eastern Libya after their warplane crashed during allied operations, officials say.

Forces gather at entrances to the southern city of Daraa, a day after a protester was killed during a demonstration.

Syria protests spread, authorities pull back

A crowd chants anti-regime slogans during a funeral procession for a protester killed in Dara, south Syria, March 20, 2011. By Khaled Yacoub Oweis DAMASCUS (Reuters) – Unrest spread in southern Syria on Monday with hundreds of people demonstrating …

At defiant march, Syrians shout ‘No more fear!’ USA Today

Syria unrest: Thousands march in Deraa BBC News

Voice of America – Aljazeera.net – Telegraph.co.uk – CNN International – Wikipedia: 2011 Syrian protests –

more »

In this Tuesday, March 15, 2011 image released by Tokyo Electric Power Co., smoke billows from Unit 3, left, at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex in Okumamachi, Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan.
photo: AP / Tokyo Electric Power Co.

Race is on to restart Japan reactor cooling systems

read more Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

 

TOKYO — Scrambling to corral a widening crisis, engineers linked a power cable to the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station early today as they struggled to restart systems designed to prevent overheating and keep radiation from escaping. The Tokyo Electric

Power Co., which runs the station 140 miles north of the capital.

The Tokyo Electric Power Co., which runs the station 140 miles north of the capital, said it hoped to connect the electric cord to the cooling equipment inside the facility later today (Japan time) in an attempt to stabilize the reactors that were damaged by the powerful earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan eight days ago.

They were planning to start with Reactor No. 2, which was seen Friday spewing steam, perhaps containing radioactive particles. Engineers apparently think that reactor is better suited to test whether the pumps needed to circulate cooling water will function than other reactors that are more severely damaged.

Officials cautioned that restoring electricity to the reactor would prove fruitless if the pumps were not working. In that case, a new cooling system would be needed — leading to more delays in an emergency that has bedeviled the power company and the government, and caused anxiety and frustration overseas.

Key points

  1. Libya says it is declaring a ceasefire and a halt to all military operations, in accordance with the UN resolution calling for the protection of civilians. The UK and France say they will judge Gaddafi on his actions, not his words
  2. The UN Security Council approved a no-fly zone over Libya on Thursday. The resolution allows for all necessary measures, short of a foreign occupation force, to defend civilians who are under threat of attack
  3. France has indicated that air-strikes against Col Gaddafi’s forces could begin within hours
  4. UK Prime Minister David Cameron has said British Tornado and Typhoon jets are being moved into place to take part in any operation over Libya

 

 

JAPANESE ECONOMY

Japanese Confusion Lacks Transparency

After decades of lies, nuclear reassurances now fall on deaf ears

photo: AP / Wally Santana

A cloud of nuclear mistrust spreads around the world

read more The Independent

 

It is unprecedented: four atomic reactors in dire trouble at once, three threatening meltdown from overheating, and a fourth hit by a fire in its storage pond for radioactive spent fuel. All day yesterday, dire reports continued to circulate about the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, faced with disaster after Japan’s tsunami knocked out its cooling…

A woman carries a heat blanket as she leaves a radiation emergency scanning center in Koriyama, Japan, Tuesday, March 15, 2011 four days after a giant quake and tsunami struck the country's northeastern coast.
photo: AP / Mark Baker

New blast at Japan nuke plant, radiation threat rises

 

 

SENDAI, Japan (AFP) – Japan’s nuclear crisis escalated Tuesday as two more blasts and a fire rocked a quake-stricken atomicpower plant, sending radiation up to dangerous levels. Radiation around the Fukushima No.1 plant on the eastern coast had “risen considerably”, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said, and his chief spokesman…

MELTDOWN FEAR TROUBLES INCREASING

DigitalGlobe satellite photograph shows the earthquake and tsunami-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on 14 March 2011 A satellite photo of the Fukushima Daiichi plant showed the damage done to reactors 1 and 3, where there was an explosion on Monday

Continue reading the main story

Japanese Earthquake

Technicians are battling to stabilise a third reactor at a quake-stricken Japanese nuclear plant that has been rocked by a second blast in three days.

Sea water is being pumped into reactor 2 at the Fukushima Daiichi plant after its fuel rods were fully exposed twice.

International nuclear watchdogs said there was no sign of a meltdown but one minister said a melting of rods was “highly likely” to be happening.

The crisis was sparked by Friday’s 9.0-magnitude quake and tsunami.

Thousands of people are believed to have died, and millions are spending a fourth night without water, food, electricity or gas. More than 500,000 people have been left homeless.

File - Zambian peacekeepers with the UN Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) are pictured on patrol in Sudan’s Abyei region.
photo: UN / Tim McKulka

Southern Sudan accuses north of planning genocide

read more The Independent

 

Southern Sudan has broken off talks with the north after accusing Khartoum of arming and directing militia attacks that have killed hundreds of people in the south in recent weeks. The leadership of what will become the world’s newest country in July has accused Omar al-Bashir’s government of deploying Darfur-style tactics and planning a genocide…

In this Dec. 23, 2009 file photo, Indian Navy warships steam past during a visit by Indian President Pratibha Patil, unseen, at Indian Navy's western Naval Command in Mumbai, India. In its race to join the club of international powers, India has reached another major milestone, it's now the world's largest weapons importer. A Swedish think tank that monitors global arms sales said Monday that India's weapons imports had overtaken China's, as the South Asian nation pushes ahead with plans to modernize its military, counter Beijing's influence and gain international prestige and clout.
photo: AP / Rafiq Maqbool, File

India ‘world’s biggest arms buyer’

read more Al Jazeera

 

India has overtaken China to become the world’s largest importer of weapons, according to a Swedish think-tank that monitors global arms sales. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute report said India was pushing ahead with plans to modernise its military in an effort to counter China’s influence and gain international clout. India’s…

In this photo released by the Government of India Press Information Bureau, Indian naval officers distribute food to the captured pirates aboard an Indian naval ship in the Arabian Sea, off the coast of Kochi, India, Sunday, March 13, 2011. The navy captured 61 pirates from a hijacked boat after a brief gunfight in the Arabian Sea, the military said Monday, March 14, 2011.
photo: AP / Press Information Bureau

Indian Navy nabs 61 pirates after intercepting their vessel

read more The Times of India

 

KOCHI: In a breakthrough in anti-piracy operations, the Indian Navy intercepted a mother vessel of Somali pirates in the Arabianships and aircraft are presently in the area and are still carrying out search operations for missing fishermen Sea about 00 nautical miles off Kochi and rescued 13 crew members apart from nabbing 61 pirates. Naval

A Japanese rescue team member walks through the completely leveled village of Saito, in northeastern Japan, Monday, March 14, 2011.
photo: AP / David Guttenfelder

Japan Earthquake: New Explosion Raises Nuclear Fears as Death Toll Climbs

read more ABC News

 

By CLARISSA WARD and LEEZEL TANGLAO March 14, 2011 A new explosion ripped through a crippled nuclear plant as hundreds of people are being tested for radiation exposure and the death toll continued to climb following Friday’s 8.9 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. More Video

Japanese Evacuation area expanded to 20km radius

The prefectural government of Fukushima has expanded the evacuation area around Fukushima Number 1 Power Station from an earlier established 10-kilometer radius to a 20-kilometer radius.

The decision was made at the instruction of the prime minister’s office shortly before 6:30 PM, local time, at a nuclear disaster task force meeting on Saturday.

The prefectural government is working to determine which towns and villages fall under the new evacuation order.

It is maintaining an evacuation instruction for a 10-kilometer radius around the Number 2 Power Station.

US Nuclear Experts Worry About Possible Japan Reactor Meltdown

Voice of America – Mike O’Sullivan – ?39 minutes ago?
Photo: AP Tens of thousands of residents near a nuclear plant in Japan were evacuated Saturday after an explosion at the plant, 240 kilometers north of Tokyo.

Video: Nuclear Meltdown New Threat for Japan

LIVE FROM JAPAN

Live Broadcasting by Ustream

FEARS OF NUCLEAR MELTDOWN CONTINUES

Explosion in Japans Nuclear Plant

By Barbara Demick, David Pierson and Kenji Hall, Los Angeles Times

Updated 10 minutes ago The quake triggers a tsunami that threatens much of the Pacific. Up to 300 bodies are found in the city of Sendai in northeastern Japan, an area believed to have been hit hardest by the massive waves.

PHOTOS OF DEVASTATION

 

 

 

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Libya: BBC crew beaten and given mock executions

read more The Daily Telegraph

 

A BBC television crew seized at a checkpoint in western Libya were held, beaten and given mock executions in the most extreme case of the Gaddafi regime’s harassment of international journalists. Goktay Koraltan, a BBC cameraman, was beaten by the Libyan authorities Photo: BBC By Richard Spencer, Tripoli 11:29PM GMT 09 Mar 2011…

the team made public their fate at the hands of soldiers and militia after flying out of the country on Wednesday night.

Feras Killani, a journalist of Palestinian-Syrian origin for the BBC Arabic service, was treated particularly brutally, kicked and punched and beaten with a pipe on a number of occasions before being held overnight in a cage in a militia compound.

But Chris Cobb-Smith, a British national, had perhaps the most chilling moment right at the end of the three men’s ordeal.

Saudis pessimistic about ‘Day of rage’

Online activists have vowed to hold a “Day of Rage” in Saudi Arabia, similar to those seen throughout the Arab world. But a number of Saudis say there is more to lose than gain in protesting.  0 Comments

Dalai Lama to formally resign political role

The Dalai Lama announced that he would retire as the political head of the Tibetan movement, saying the time had come to devolve authority to an elected leader.  3 Comments

Discovery lands for last time

The space shuttle Discovery capped a successful construction mission with a smooth landing in Florida, ending a 27-year flying career for Nasa’s most-traveled spaceship as the agency faces an uncertain future.  0 Comments

Slim tops world fatcats

At an age when most people enjoy retirement, Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim grew his personal fortune by some $20 billion in one year through gains in his telecommunications and mining businesses.  0 Comments

Obama to nominate top advisor to Israel envoy post

President Barack Obama intends to nominate Daniel Shapiro, a trusted advisor on the Middle East, as U.S. ambassador to Israel.  0 Comments

Strong earthquake strikes off Papua New Guinea

A strong earthquake has struck off the coast of Papua New Guinea.  0 Comments

Pope rejects image of ‘revolutionary’ Christ in new book

Pope Benedict XVI has dismissed the image of Jesus Christ as a “political revolutionary” in a new book, in which he also absolves the Jews of responsibility for Christ’s death.  0 Comments

England bans cigarette displays

The cigarette packs piled into prominent displays behind store counters and supermarket checkouts in England can’t be missed. The displays occupy prime retail real estate, helping to keep addicts hooked and quitters tempted.  6 Comments

China, Russia drive growth in world’s billionaires

Rising steel and oil prices in Russia, more honest disclosure in Brazil and booming economies in China and India have fuelled a spike in billionaires in the so-called BRIC countries.  0 Comments

Japan appoints new foreign minister

Japanese prime minister Naoto Kan on Wednesday appointed Takeaki Matsumoto as the country’s new foreign minister, in a bid to restore confidence in his government.

(Photo: Reuters)Japan’s newly appointed Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto (R) poses with Prime Minister Naoto Kan during a photo session at the latters’ official residence in Tokyo March 9, 2011. Embattled Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan promoted a junior cabinet minister to the top foreign affairs portfolio on Wednesday, handing him a long list of challenges including managing strained ties with neighbouring China.

* Libyan warplanes strike at rebels in the east Khaleej Times

* Libya War Traps Poor Immigrants at Tripoli’s Edge The New York Times

* Congress, DMK seal deal on seat-sharing in Tamil Nadu The Times of India

* Police pay review: Four out of ten officers to take pay cut The Guardian

* India: Despite Growth, Struggle Continues With Malnutrition Among Children The New York Times

* Gaddafi renews attack on rebels BBC News

* In Europe’s last dictatorship, all opposition is mercilessly crushed The Independent

* Fierce fighting rages in Libya Al Jazeera

* Man, 25, charged with being stoned in fatal accident Boston Herald

* Protest Organizers Ordered to Shut Offices in Iraq The New York Times

BEIJING – Buoyed by President Hu Jintao’s successful visit to Washington, China’s relations with the U.S. are warming again after a year of disputes over issues from Taiwan to Internet freedom, China’s foreign minister said Monday. Yang Jiechi’s comments marked a remarkably upbeat assessment of relations between the world’s No. 1 economy and dominant military power and the rising Asian giant, whose economy overtook Japan’s last year to claim the No. 2 spot. The sides need to “seize on the momentum, build on the progress, earnestly implement the agreement reached by the leaders of the two countries

Anti-Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi rebel, looks through his binocular at an advance check point between the oil town of Ras Lanouf and Bin-Jawad town, eastern Libya, Monday, March 7, 2011.

Top Belgian cop quits after Interpol lobbying row

The head of Belgium’s federal police has announced that he was resigning following a storm over reports of lavish overseas travel expenditures to lobby for a top job at Interpol.  0 Comments

Ireland aims to woo Europe

Ireland’s new government will stick to the budget targets laid down in an 85 billion euro EU/IMF rescue package as it seeks to win European partners round to giving it easier terms on the loans.  0 Comments

Turkish journos arrested for coup plot

A Turkish court has ordered two leading investigative journalists jailed pending the outcome of a trial into an alleged plot to topple the Islamic-rooted government.  2 Comments

France backs SA’s permanent UN bid

South Africa’s mission to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council has received a big boost from French President Nicolas Sarkozy.  2 Comments

Forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi have launched a series of fierce attacks in key areas of east and west Libya.

Protesters stream in as Iraq sets vehicle ban

Protesters streamed into central Baghdad on foot Friday after authorities imposed vehicle bans on major cities ahead of rallies over corruption, unemployment and poor public services.  7 Comments

Monk first person in Bhutan jailed over tobacco

A monk in Bhutan has become the first person jailed under the country’s draconian anti-smoking law after a court handed him a three-year prison sentence for smuggling tobacco worth $2.50.  3 Comments

Foreign rescuers begin to leave Christchurch

International rescue crews were pulling out of Christchurch as emergency operations in the stricken city shifted from finding earthquake survivors to recovering bodies, says officials.  0 Comments

‘Charmer’ Obama more popular than policies

US President Barack Obama is a “charmer” who is widely liked by Americans but his policies are proving less popular, according to a new poll which has mixed news for his 2012 reelection bid.  4 Comments

Man who promoted grill’s unhealthy menu dies at 29

A 260-kilogram man who gained a measure of fame as spokesman for the Heart Attack Grill – a Phoenix-area restaurant that unabashedly touts its unhealthy, high-calorie menu – has died.  6 Comments

Austrian police grill Gaddafi confidant

Austrian anti-terrorism police have grilled one of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s confidants, who left Tripoli late last month to seek refuge in Vienna, says the interior minister.  1 Comments

Magnitude quake rocks souther Philippines

Officials say a 5.7 magnitude earthquake has rocked the southern Philippines, collapsing the walls of some houses and sending residents fleeing from their homes.  1 Comments

Iraq PM demands Kurdish forces leave disputed city

Iraq’s prime minister asked the Kurdistan Regional Government to remove thousands of troops surrounding the oil-rich northern city of Kirkuk without central government permission, a cabinet source said.  1 Comments

HIV positive man gets 9 years’ jail for sex with Thai children

An HIV-positive former German folk music star was sentenced to nine years’ prison for abusing hundreds of underage girls in Thailand by having unprotected sex with them.  5 Comments

Medvedev invokes “liberator” tsar to boost image

President Dmitry Medvedev used the 150th anniversary of the abolition of serfdom in Russia to cast himself as a champion of reform but said steps toward broader democracy will be cautious.  0 Comments

Official: No firing on Libyan protesters

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