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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.
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.
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…
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
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.
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…
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…
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.
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.
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.
Ivory Coast’s defiant President Laurent Gbagbo is sheltering with his family in the basement bunker of his residence in the main city, Abidjan.
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
International Politics Today
“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.
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.
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
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
CHINA HAS NO PATIENCE WITH NARCO-TRAFFIC
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
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.
Wall Street Journal – Sam Dagher –
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.
Reuters – Suleiman al-Khalidi –
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
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* Tributes paid to legendary actress
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* Elizabeth Taylor filmography
[youtube width=300 height=300]1th1jXlPmO4&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]
Two US airmen are rescued in eastern Libya after their warplane crashed during allied operations, officials say.
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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 –
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.
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.
- 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
- 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
- France has indicated that air-strikes against Col Gaddafi’s forces could begin within hours
- 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 Confusion Lacks Transparency
After decades of lies, nuclear reassurances now fall on deaf ears
MELTDOWN FEAR TROUBLES INCREASING
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.
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.
LIVE FROM JAPAN
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
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.
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
President Barack Obama intends to nominate Daniel Shapiro, a trusted advisor on the Middle East, as U.S. ambassador to Israel. 0 Comments
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
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
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
Gaddafi Wants to Deal for His Safety and Money
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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