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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Samoa tsunami toll may exceed 100, hundreds injured

Tsunamis smash into American and Western Samoa

Tsunami waves smashed into the Pacific island nations of American and Western Samoa on Sept. 29, killing possibly more than 100 people, some washed out to sea, destroying villages and injuring hundreds.

U.S. President Barack Obama declared a major disaster in American Samoa, a U.S. territory, and ordered federal aid to help recovery efforts.

Television images showed homes ripped apart, cars submerged in the sea or lodged in trees and large fishing boats hurled ashore by the waves generated by a 8.0 magnitude quake southwest of American Samoa.

On Sept. 30, Western Samoa disaster officials said at least 47 people were killed, but the toll may reach 100 as rescuers search for bodies buried under sand in flattened villages along the southern shore of the island of Upolu.






REFILE - CORRECTING DATE American Samoa Governor Togiola Tulafono (L) and two government officials sit in a plane at the U.S. coast guard air station, as it waits to take off from Honolulu on its way to American Samoa September 29, 2009. A series of tsunamis smashed into the Pacific island nations of American and Western Samoa killing possibly more than 100 people, some washed out to sea, destroying villages and injuring hundreds, officials said on Wednesday. A Pacific-wide tsunami warning was issued after an 8.0 magnitude undersea quake off American Samoa, with small tsunamis reaching New Zealand, Hawaii and Japan. At least 24 people were killed in American Samoa, and 50 injured, Tulafono said from Hawaii, with the southern portion of the main Tutuila island "devastated". REUTERS/Hugh Gentry (UNITED STATES DISASTER POLITICS TRANSPORT)

REFILE - CORRECTING DATE A man looks at wreckage, and damage caused to buildings near a church after a tsunami hit the village of Leone, American Samoa September 29, 2009. A series of tsunamis smashed into the Pacific island nations of American and Western Samoa killing possibly more than 100 people, some washed out to sea, destroying villages and injuring hundreds, officials said on Wednesday. A Pacific-wide tsunami warning was issued after an 8.0 magnitude undersea quake off American Samoa, with small tsunamis reaching New Zealand, Hawaii and Japan. REUTERS/Ardie Roque (AMERICAN SAMOA DISASTER ENVIRONMENT)


German seismologist Winfried Hanka shows a graph registered during the earthquake in the Pacific off the Samoa islands region that caused a tsunami, as he poses for the media at Germany's Geoscientific Research Institute GFZ based in Potsdam, south of Berlin, September 30, 2009. A series of tsunamis smashed into the Pacific island nations of American and Western Samoa killing possibly more than 100 people, some washed out to sea, destroying villages and injuring hundreds, officials said on Wednesday. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch (GERMANY ENVIRONMENT SCI TECH DISASTER)

Indonesia quake traps thousands in rubble-official

30 Sep 2009 13:54:55 GMT
Source: Reuters
JAKARTA, Sept 30 (Reuters) - A powerful earthquake off the coast of Indonesia's Sumatra island has left thousands of people trapped under rubble, a senior health ministry official said on Wednesday.

Rustam Pakaya, the head of the health ministry's disaster centre, said via a telephone text message that a hospital in Padang in the area near the epicentre of the quake had also collapsed.

"Jamil hospital collapsed and thousands of people are trapped in the rubble of buildings," Pakaya said. (Reporting by Telly Nathalia; Writing by Ed Davies)

---------


Indonesia quake kills 75, thousands trapped-officials
30 Sep 2009 15:49:10 GMT
Source: Reuters
* Death toll expected to rise further - vice president

* Schools, hospitals, hotels collapse in quake-prone Padang

* 7.6 quake shakes tall buildings in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur * Padang area long seen as facing major threat from big quake (Adds quotes from Kalla)

By John Nedy

PADANG, Indonesia, Sept 30 (Reuters) - A powerful earthquake struck off the city of Padang on Indonesia's Sumatra island on Wednesday, killing at least 75 people and trapping thousands under rubble, officials said.

The death toll was likely to rise as many buildings in the city of 900,000 people had collapsed, Vice President Jusuf Kalla told a late night news conference in Jakarta.

"We have received a report from the mayor of Padang that the death toll is 75. But many others are trapped in collapsed shops, building and hotels. It is difficult to know because it is dark now," Kalla said.

TV footage showed devastation, with piles of rubble and smashed houses after the 7.6 magnitude earthquake, which caused widespread panic across the city.

Rustam Pakaya, the head of the health ministry's disaster centre in Jakarta, said "thousands of people are trapped in the rubble of buildings".

The main hospital had collapsed, roads were cut by landslides and Metro Television said the roof of Padang airport had caved in. Thousands were expected to spend the night in the open while a full assessment of the damage would need to wait until daybreak.

The disaster is the latest in a spate of natural and man-made calamities to hit Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago of 226 million people. [ID:nLU415034]

Kalla said the government was preparing for an emergency response of up to two months.

Welfare Minister Aburizal Bakrie said authorities should prepare for the worst, adding damage could be on a par with an earthquake in the central Java city of Yogyakarta in 2006 that killed 5,000 people and damaged or destroyed 150,000 homes.

The quake was felt around the region, with some high-rise buildings in Singapore, 440 km (275 miles) to the northeast, evacuating staff. Office buildings also shook in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre cancelled an earlier tsunami alert.

"Hundreds of houses have been damaged along the road. There are some fires, bridges are cut and there is extreme panic here," said a Reuters witness in the city, who also said broken water pipes had triggered flooding.

His mobile phone was then cut off and officials said power had been severed in the city. A resident called Adi later told Metro Television there was devastation around him.

"For now I can't see dead bodies, just collapsed houses. Some half destroyed, others completely. People are standing around too scared to go back inside. They fear a tsunami," said Adi.

"No help has arrived yet. I can see small children standing around carrying blankets. Some people are looking for relatives but all the lights have gone out completely."

Sumatra is home to some of the country's largest oil fields as well as its oldest liquefied natural gas terminal, although there were no immediate reports of damage to those facilities. [ID:nSP404330]

PADANG LONG SEEN AT RISK

Padang, capital of Indonesia's West Sumatra province, sits on one of the world's most active fault lines along the "Ring of Fire" where the Indo-Australia plate grinds against the Eurasia plate to create regular tremors and sometimes quakes.

A 9.15 magnitude quake, with its epicentre roughly 600 km (373 miles) northwest of Padang, caused the 2004 tsunami which killed 232,000 people in Indonesia's Aceh province, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, and other countries across the Indian Ocean.

The depth of Wednesday's earthquake was 85 km (53 miles), the United States Geological Survey said. It revised down the magnitude of the quake from 7.9 to 7.6.

A series of tsunamis earlier on Wednesday smashed into the Pacific island nations of American and Western Samoa, and Tonga killing possibly more than 100 people, some washed out to sea, destroying villages and injuring hundreds. [ID:nSYD493955]

Geologists have long said Padang may one day be destroyed by a huge earthquake because of its location.

"Padang sits right in front of the area with the greatest potential for an 8.9 magnitude earthquake," said Danny Hilman Natawidjaja, a geologist at the Indonesian Science Institute, in February.


"The entire city could drown" in a tsunami triggered by such a quake, he warned.

Several earthquake-prone parts of the country hold tsunami practice drills, and the national disaster service sends alerts via telephone text messages to subscribers.

But some experts have long said Indonesia needs to do more to reduce the risk of catastrophe.

For a graphic, click http://graphics.thomsonreuters.com/RNGS/SEP/INDOQUAKE.jpg For an energy factbox, click [ID:nSP404330] (Additional reporting by Telly Nathalia and Sunanda Creagh in Jakarta; Writing by Nick Macfie/Ed Davies; Editing by Dean Yates)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Yemeni rebel leader denies seeking Shi'ite state


Hassan Zayid, head of the supreme council of Yemen's main opposition grouping the Joint Meeting Parties, addresses a news conference in Sanaa October 29, 2009. Opposition parties on Thursday called on the government to announce a ceasefire in the fighting with Shi'ite rebels in north-western Yemen and to settle the conflict through dialogue. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah (YEMEN POLITICS CONFLICT)
29 Sep 2009 10:48:32 GMT
Source: Reuters
* Rebel leader says confict is over 'rights and justice'

* Denies Iranian backing

* Insurgency fans Saudi, U.S. concerns

SANAA, Sept 29 (Reuters) - A Yemeni Shi'ite rebel leader on Tuesday denied government claims that the sect's insurgents want to set up a Shi'ite state in north Yemen, describing the conflict as a fight for rights.

Several Arab countries are concerned over the influence of Shi'ite Muslim Iran, which they believe is trying to extend its influence by supporting the sect's minorities in the region.

The rebel leader, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, said some soldiers were cooperating with the rebels despite an "Operation Scorched Earth" launched by the government in early August to try to crush the insurgency by the rebels -- locally known as the Houthis after their leaders' clan.

The United States and Saudi Arabia, Yemen's neighbour and the world's leading oil exporter, fear this conflict and separatist tension in the south could play into the hands of al Qaeda, which has staged a comeback in Yemen with attacks on government and foreign targets over the past two years.

The government has portrayed the conflict as an effort by
extremists of the Shi'ite Zaydi sect to re-establish a cleric-ruled state, or "Imamate" in religious parlance, that fell in 1962 leading to the creation of the Yemeni republic.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh, himself a Zaydi, has avoided sectarian language, but government rhetoric elsewhere regularly attacks the rebel movement over their Zaydi beliefs.

"The authority's accusations about the Imamate are just a media war and misleading public opinion. We are not asking for positions, we are asking for rights and justice. The essence of the crisis is political," Houthi said on the rebels' website.


He denied that Iran was backing the rebels or providing arms, which he said some in the army had smuggled to them.

"We have been able to obtain a huge amount of equipment and weapons from (seized) army positions and it is not strange that there are some noble people of conscience in the army who have cooperated with us," Houthi said.

The Houthi rebels say they have been marginalised through a rise in Sunni fundamentalism on the back of Saleh's alliance with Saudi Arabia, whose puranitanical Wahhabi Islam regards Shi'ites as heretics.

Zaydis, who adhere to a different sect from the Shi'ism followed in leading Shi'ite power Iran, are thought to form around a third of Yemen's population of around 23 million.

Saleh said on Saturday the army was ready to fight Shi'ite rebels for years if necessary, calling on them to accept a ceasefire his government has proposed.

The international aid group Oxfam said last week Yemen could soon face a humanitarian crisis as a result of the escalation of fighting. Since disturbances first broke out in 2004 around 150,000 Yemenis have been displaced, aid groups say. (Reporting by Andrew Hammond; Editing by Inal Ersan and Mark Trevelyan)


-----------


Yemen convicts rebels, Iran denies ship seizure


27 Oct 2009 15:11:21 GMT
Source: Reuters
(Adds southern protests in final two paragraphs)

SANAA, Oct 27 (Reuters) - A Yemeni court sentenced to death four men involved in a Shi'ite rebellion in its northern provinces bordering Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, while Iran denied a Yemeni claim to have seized a ship with arms for the rebels.

On Monday, Yemen said it had impounded a vessel carrying weapons destined for the rebels of the Zaidi Shi'ite sect and detained its Iranian crew at the Red Sea port of Medi, in Haja province bordering the area of conflict.

Iran's Arabic language television channel Al-Alam reported "informed Iranian sources" saying on Tuesday that no Iranian vessel delivering weapons to the rebels was stopped, and describing the story as a "media fabrication".

Yemen's embassy in Washington said security officials were questioning the ship's five Iranian crew members.

Sanaa has suggested an Iranian hand behind the rebels, often termed Houthis after their clan and religious leaders. Government officials have said Iranian media backs the rebels and President Ali Abdullah Saleh said Iranian religious figures provide funding.

Shi'ite power Iran and Shi'ite allies such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in Iraq have called on Sanaa to bring the fighting to an end through negotiations.

The Houthis first took up arms against Saleh's rule in 2004, citing political, economic and religious marginalisation by the Saudi- and Western-backed government.

But the conflict intensified in August when the army unleashed Operation Scorched Earth. Aid groups, who have been given limited access to the northern provinces, say up to 150,000 people have fled their homes since 2004.

The court on Tuesday delivered a death sentence to four of 16 men on trial. Eleven were jailed for up to 15 years, while one was released for already having served out his sentence.

It was the third trial of men who fought government troops for around a month last year at Bani Husheish, 30 km (19 miles) north of the capital Sanaa. Twelve others were sentenced to death in the earlier trials.

On Monday a court opened proceedings in absentia against Yahya al-Houthi, the brother of the rebels' leader, who is now based in Germany.

Veteran ruler Saleh also faces a separatist movement in the south and top oil exporter Saudi Arabia fears the instability will help al Qaeda launch more attacks there.

Witnesses said hundreds of people took to the streets in the southern provinces of Abyan, Lahej and Dalea to demand the release of protesters detained during clashes with security forces in recent months, as well as journalists held over their coverage.

They carried the flag of the former South Yemen, an independent state that united with North Yemen under Saleh's rule in 1990.

(Reporting by Mohamed Sudam; Writing by Andrew Hammond; Editing by Diana Abdallah)

Landmine kills 2 U.S. servicemen in Philippines

29 Sep 2009 10:24:37 GMT
Source: Reuters
(Adds call for renegotiation of treaty with United States)

MANILA, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Two U.S. Navy servicemen and one Filipino marine were killed on Tuesday in a landmine attack in a stronghold of Islamic militants in the southern Philippines, officials said.

Philippine army spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Romeo Brawner said two other Filipino soldiers were wounded when the vehicle they were riding in struck an improvised landmine near Indanan town on the island of Jolo.

They were the first deaths since 2002 among U.S. forces deployed in the southern Philippines. In that year, one soldier in a restaurant was killed by a bomb on a motorcycle parked outside.

"We're still investigating to determine who was behind the explosion," Brawner told reporters, adding the latest attack happened near a Marine outpost.

Jolo is one of the strongholds of the Abu Sayyaf, the smallest but deadliest of the Islamist militant groups in the Philippines. It has links with al Qaeda and the regional group Jemaah Islamiah. [ID:nSP362401]

Brawner said the two U.S. Seabees -- members of the U.S. Navy's construction battalion -- were in a convoy of vehicles returning to base after inspecting humanitarian projects in the area when the landmine detonated.

"They were not on combat operations," he told reporters. "They were part of a U.S. Navy construction unit. They were non-combatants helping poor Muslim communities on Jolo."

U.S. troops are deployed in the Philippines under the Visiting Forces Agreement between the two countries. On Tuesday, the Philippine Senate sent a non-binding resolution to the government calling for its re-negotiation. [ID:nMAN501755]

Senators led by Miriam Defensor-Santiago, a political ally of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, argued the agreement was a one-sided deal in favour of Washington.

The senators said the VFA had not been beneficial to the Philippines because the United States failed to provided enough aid to modernise the country's military capabilities. It also did not guarantee the rights of Filipinos in criminal cases filed against U.S. troops.


They also cited media reports that claimed U.S. troops deployed in the southern Philippines had engaged in combat with Abu Sayyaf rebels in violation of the agreement, which only provides for training and logistical support to Filipino troops.

"Why are they there in that conflict area?" asked Santiago, referring to the troops killed on Tuesday. "They should only be in the military camps advising and helping train Philippine soldiers."

The U.S. embassy in Manila issued a statement confirming the death of two servicemen, but withheld their identities pending notification of the next of kin.

"They lost their lives serving others, and we will always be grateful for their contributions to improve the quality of life on Jolo," U.S. Ambassador Kristie Kenny said in a statement. (Reporting by Manny Mogato; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Alex Richardson)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Top Afghan official threatens to quit after attack

By RAHIM FAIEZ, Associated Press Writer Rahim Faiez, Associated Press Writer – 10 mins ago

KABUL – A powerful member of President Hamid Karzai's Cabinet threatened to quit after a suicide car bomb attack targeted him Sunday, killing five people, in the latest Taliban attempt to destabilize Afghanistan's struggling government. Two Americans were among six NATO troop deaths elsewhere.

Shortly after the bombing in the western city of Herat, Energy Minister Ismail Khan railed against the dramatic rise in violence in Afghanistan, saying that thousands of new refugees are seeking shelter in Herat because of militant attacks in outlying districts. Five civilians died in the failed assassination attempt, police said.

Two days ago, Khan said, a young man was hanged by militants only a couple miles (kilometers) outside a NATO base and Afghan government center. Kidnappings of wealthy family members are on the rise, including the abduction of girls, he said.

Khan said government security agents had warned him that insurgents planned to target him. Two earlier assassination attempts had been foiled, he said.

"Very clearly I want to say that if the government does not form a clear strategy to bring peace and security, and the situation continues like this, I will not participate in the Cabinet anymore," Khan said.

Taliban assassination attempts against Afghan officials have intensified this year, with more than 100 officials and pro-government tribal elders attacked — half of them fatally. Echoing a strategy of insurgents in Iraq, the targeted violence undermines the weak government and drives educated and competent Afghans away from official posts.

The convoy carrying Khan, a powerbroker in Herat and former governor of that western province, was headed to the airport when a suicide car bomb exploded outside a high school, said Raouf Ahmadi, a police spokesman. Khan said five civilians died and 17 people were wounded, including four of Khan's bodyguards.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, claimed responsibility and said the target was Khan.

The Taliban assassination campaign is a strong sign of deteriorating security in the country, where a record number of U.S. and NATO troops have also died this year. The Obama administration is now debating whether to send more American troops to Afghanistan as its government faces allegations of widespread fraud from the disputed Aug. 20 presidential election.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates issued a stern warning to critics of a continued troop presence in Afghanistan Sunday, saying the Islamic extremist Taliban and al-Qaida would perceive an early pullout as a victory similar to the Soviet Union's humiliating withdrawal in 1989 after a 10-year war.

"Taliban and al-Qaida, as far as they're concerned, defeated one superpower. For them to be seen to defeat a second, I think, would have catastrophic consequences in terms of energizing the extremist movement, al-Qaida recruitment, operations, fundraising, and so on. I think it would be a huge setback for the United States," Gates said in an interview broadcast Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."


But many Americans are skeptical of sending more troops to support a government in the midst of recounting votes from a tainted presidential election. Karzai currently has about 54 percent of the vote. If enough questionable ballots get thrown out he could drop below the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff.

Karzai's main challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, said Sunday he was satisfied so far with the recount, which is using a sampling of votes to speed the process and meet a narrowing timeframe to hold a possible runoff before winter snows block much of the country.

"We will follow up that process step by step till, God willing, a government acceptable to you comes to power," he told a crowd in Kabul.

Two U.S. service members died Saturday in the country's south — one from a roadside bomb explosion and the other from an insurgent attack, the NATO-led force said Sunday. A British soldier died Sunday from a bomb explosion while patrolling in southern Afghanistan, Britain's Defense Ministry said.

Elsewhere, three French soldiers died in a violent storm in northeastern Afghanistan late Saturday. One soldier was struck by lightning, while two were swept away by a rain-swollen river during an operation in Kapisa province, said military spokesman Christophe Prazuck.

This year has been the deadliest of the eight-year war for U.S. and NATO troops. The six latest deaths bring to 64 the number of NATO troops killed this month.

An airstrike Saturday by international forces in Wardak province, bordering Kabul, killed three Afghan civilians, said Shahidullah Shahid, spokesman for the provincial governor. Civilian deaths in airstrikes have infuriated Afghans, and the top NATO commander, U.S. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, has made protecting innocent Afghans a top priority.

500 Combat Israeli Jets planning to Carpet Bombing Iran via bunker buster bombs

Could Israel strike Iran over nuclear concerns? Q & A

Yes, Israel can fire missiles from a number of positions and may dare to send warplanes the way it did in 1982 when Saddam was stabbed in the back while fighting an American war to contain the Islamic revolution. At the time, the Israeli war planes were re-fueled over Saudi Arabia by US tankers while US warplanes jammed Iraqi radars. But time has changed for everyone. Tiny Israel may receive its biggest surprise if its terrorist and corrupt leaders try to hit Iran. No need to elaborate here. Knowing the dire consequences, the Americans are reluctant to give the green light to Israel.

Without exaggeration, hitting Iran may be the shortest way for Israel to disappear from the map.



Inside America the Jewish financial mafia has bankrupted the US and corrupted its politicians. With US support, Israel has been defying the United Nations, stockpiling weapons of mass destruction and detaining, torturing and killing Palestinians with impunity. After having American politicians in their pocket the Jews have been able to commit Nazi-style atrocities. America is a party to all Israeli crimes. That is why the Jews and their American mentors are the most hated on earth today.



Published: Monday, 21 September, 2009 @ 4:09 PM in Beirut

Beirut - Israel has not given up the option of a military response to Tehran's nuclear program, Israel's deputy foreign minister said on Monday, after Russia had said Israel's president gave an assurance Israel would not attack

Many analysts believe the risks of a strike by Israel, even one not endorsed by its ally the United States, are significant.

Here's where matters stand:

COULD ISRAEL LAUNCH A STRIKE AGAINST IRAN?

It's a poker game with high stakes and a degree of bluff. Israeli leaders refuse to rule out any option. They do not believe Iran's assurances it wants only nuclear energy. Noting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's repeated assertions that Israel has no future Israel has said an Iranian bomb would be a threat to its very existence that it simply would not tolerate.

Last year, however, it emerged officials were making plans for how Israel might live with a nuclear Iran in a state of mutual deterrence. And a June poll showed Israelis would not expect a nuclear Iran to attack . Last week, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said even a nuclear Iran could not destroy Israel, stating: "Israel can lay waste to Iran."

Since becoming prime minister in March, Benjamin Netanyahu has, aides say, made ending threats from Iran a defining element of what he sees as his personal role in Jewish history. A 1981 Israeli air strike that destroyed Iraq's only nuclear reactor, as well as a strike in Syria in 2007 that is cloaked in mystery, set precedents. Despite a policy of silence, few doubt Israel has nuclear weapons and missiles that can hit Iran.

WHAT MIGHT HOLD ISRAEL BACK?

It is not clear how Israel would define achieving its goal of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. But a pledge from Iran to forswear such arms, backed by some form of supervision and intelligence data, might be a minimum. Much will depend on Iran's actions and on U.S. President Barack Obama and others, who are pressing Iran through sanctions and diplomacy.

While many analysts doubt Iran's denials of military intent, some say Iran may be content with showing it has the potential to go nuclear quickly, without actually arming itself. Israel, however, might not accept that level of potential threat.

In the meantime, were Israel to consider a unilateral strike on it Iran it would have to weigh several major risks:

-- of retaliation, not just from Iran but its allied guerrilla groups, Lebanon's Hezbollah and the Palestinian Hamas

-- of economic and diplomatic backlash from U.S. and allies

-- of a failed attack still triggering the above reactions

WHAT ARE THE KEY ELEMENTS IN TIMETABLE?

First, Iran's technology: Israel's national security adviser said in July it had passed a "red line" in terms of being able to make its own nuclear explosive but could not make significant amounts nor yet put viable nuclear warheads on its missiles.

Mossad chief Meir Dagan, seen as a key figure in Israel's Iran policy who has just had his mandate unusually extended to 2010, said in June Iran could have a viable warhead in 2014.

Second, diplomacy: Iran is to meet on Oct. 1 with six major powers concerned about its nuclear plans. In May, Obama told Netanyahu that "by the end of the year" he expected to judge whether diplomacy was succeeding. Last week, a former senior official said that if the West did not agree crippling sanctions by the end of the year, Israel would have to strike

Russia, a veto-holding member of the Security Council and potential arms supplier to Iran, has a major role


WOULD ISRAEL GO IT ALONE, WITHOUT U.S. BACKING?

Obama, at odds with Netanyahu over Jewish settlement in the West Bank and peace moves with the Palestinians, said in July he had "absolutely not" given Israel a green light to attack. He was responding to his vice-president saying that Israel had a right to act if it felt "existentially threatened". Israel would be reluctant to anger its key ally. It would not wish Washington to be surprised, might even want U.S. help. But many analysts believe Israel might yet go it alone.

Some question whether Israel's U.S.-armed military has the range and firepower to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities without U.S. help. Analysts say Israel might be content with slowing any nuclear arms program, hoping for political change to end it.

Talk of an Israeli unilateral strike may also be part of a tactic of deterrence, or a bid to ensure U.S. cooperation.

HOW MIGHT ISRAEL ATTACK IRAN?

Overt or covert? Israel has been developing "cyber-war" capabilities that could disrupt Iranian industrial and military control systems. Few doubt that covert action, by Mossad agents on the ground, also features in tactics against Iran . An advantage of sabotage over an air strike may be deniability.

Militarily Israel can also deploy the following forces:

AIR -- 500 combat aircraft, including F-15s and F-16s able to bomb Iran's west, and further with aerial refueling, a technique for which the air force has been training. Planes can overfly hostile Arab states using stealth technology. Armed with "bunker buster" bombs that can be released with accuracy outside Iran's airspace. Israel is also assumed to have dozens of Jericho missiles designed to carry conventional or nuclear warheads to the Gulf. An Israeli nuclear strike is unlikely.

LAND -- Special forces could be deployed on the ground, to spot targets, and also possibly destroy them with sabotage.

SEA -- Israel sailed one of its three German-made Dolphin submarines into the Red Sea through Suez in June, opening a way to the Gulf. The submarines are believed to be capable of firing nuclear and conventional cruise missiles.

MISSILE DEFENCE - Israel is upgrading its Arrow missile interceptor, which is underwritten by Washington, and can also expect to avail itself of American Aegis anti-missile ships deployed in the Mediterranean. X-band, a U.S. strategic radar stationed in Israel, further cements the alliance .

Moon Myths: The Truth About Lunar Effects on You LiveScience.com


Robert Roy Britt
Editorial Director
LiveScience.com robert Roy Britt
editorial Director
livescience.com – Fri Sep 25, 5:41 pm ET

The moon holds a mystical place in the history of human culture, so it's no wonder that many myths - from werewolves(A person believed to have been transformed into a wolf ) to induced lunacy to epileptic seizures - have built up regarding its supposed effects on us.

"It must be a full moon," is a phrase heard whenever crazy things happen and is said by researchers to be muttered commonly by late-night cops, psychiatry staff and emergency room personnel.

It's been a long time since the Big Cheese revealed any new secrets as important as this week's announcement that traces of water exist all across its surface. Coincidentally, a study this week found zero connection between the full moon and surgery outcomes.

In fact a host of studies over the years have aimed at teasing out any statistical connection between the moon - particularly the full moon - and human biology or behavior. The majority of sound studies find no connection, while some have proved inconclusive, and many that purported to reveal connections turned out to involve flawed methods or have never been reproduced.

Reliable studies comparing the lunar phases to births, heart attacks, deaths, suicides, violence, psychiatric hospital admissions and epileptic seizures, among other things, have over and over again found little or no connection.

One possible indirect link: Before modern lighting, the light of a full moon have kept people up at night, leading to sleep deprivation that could have caused other psychological issues, according to one hypothesis that awaits data support.

Below, I'll review several studies - the good, the bad and the in between - but first some basic physics:

The moon, tides and you

The human body is about 75 percent water, and so people often ask whether tides are at work inside us.

The moon and the sun combine to create tides in Earth's oceans (in fact the gravitational effect is so strong that our planet's crust is stretched daily by these same tidal effects).

But tides are large-scale events. They occur because of the difference in gravitational effect on one side of an object (like Earth) compared to the other. Here's how they work (full explanation of tides):

The ocean on the side of Earth facing the moon gets pulled toward the moon more than does the center of the planet. This creates a high tide. On the other side of the Earth, another high tide occurs, because the center of Earth is being pulled toward the moon more than is the ocean on the far side. The result essentially pulls the planet away from the ocean (a negative force that effectively lifts the ocean away from the planet).

However, there's no measurable difference in the moon's gravitational effect to one side of your body vs. the other. Even in a large lake, tides are extremely minor. On the Great Lakes, for example, tides never exceed 2 inches, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which adds, "These minor variations are masked by the greater fluctuations in lake levels produced by wind and barometric pressure changes. Consequently, the Great Lakes are considered to be essentially non-tidal."

That's not to say tides don't exist at smaller scales.

The effect of gravity diminishes with distance, but never goes away. So in theory everything in the universe is tugging on everything else. But: "Researchers have calculated that a mother holding her baby exerts 12 million times the tide-raising force on the child than the moon does, simply by virtue of being closer," according to Straightdope.com, a Web site that applies logic and reason to myths and urban legends.

Consider also that tides in Earth's oceans happen twice every day as Earth spins on its axis every 24 hours, bringing the moon constantly up and down in the sky. If the moon's tugging affected the human body, one might presume we'd be off balance at least twice a day (and maybe we are).

Studies of full moon effects

Here are some of the reputable studies in peer-reviewed journals that have failed to find connections:

EPILEPSY: A study in the journal Epilepsy & Behavior in 2004 found no connection between epileptic seizures and the full moon, even though some patients believe their seizures to be trigged by the full moon. The researchers noted that epileptic seizures were once blamed on witchcraft and possession by demons, contributing to a longstanding human propensity to find mythical rather than medical explanations.

PSYCHIATRIC VISITS: A 2005 study by Mayo Clinic researchers, reported in the journal Psychiatric Services, looked at how many patients checked into a psychiatric emergency department between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. over several years. They found no statistical difference in the number of visits on the three nights surrounding full moons vs. other nights.

EMERGENCY ROOM VISITS: Researchers examined 150,999 records of emergency room visits to a suburban hospital. Their study, reported in American Journal of Emergency Medicine in 1996, found no difference at full moon vs. other nights.

SURGERY OUTCOMES: Do doctors and nurses mess up more during the full moon? Not according to a study in the October 2009 issue of the journal Anesthesiology. In fact, researchers found the risks are the same no matter what day of the week or time of the month you schedule your coronary artery bypass graft surgery.

Not all studies dismiss lunar influence.

PET INJURIES: In studying 11,940 cases at the Colorado State University Veterinary Medical Center, researchers found the risk of emergency room visits to be 23 percent higher for cats and 28 percent higher for dogs on days surrounding full moons. It could be people tend to take pets out more during the full moon, raising the odds of an injury, or perhaps something else is at work - the study did not determine a cause.

MENSTRUATION: This is one of those topics on which you will find much speculation (some of it firm and convincing-sounding) and little evidence. The idea is that the moon is full every month and women menstruate monthly. Here's the thing: Women's menstrual cycles actually vary in length and timing - in some cases greatly - with the average being about every 28 days, while the lunar cycle is quite set at 29.5 days. Still, there is one study (of just 312 women), by Winnifred B. Cutler in 1980, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, that claims a connection. Cutler found 40 percent of participants had the onset of menstruation within two weeks of the full moon (which means 60 percent didn't). If anyone can tell me how this oft-cited study proves anything, I'm all ears. Also, one should be skeptical that in the intervening 29 years, nobody seems to have produced a study supporting Cutler's claim.

ANIMALS GONE WILD: A pair of conflicting studies in the British Medical Journal in 2001 leaves room for further research. In one of the studies, animal bites were found to have sent twice as many British people to the emergency room during full moons compared with other days. But in the other study, in Australia, dogs were found to bite people with similar frequency on any night.

SLEEP DEPRIVATION: In the Journal of Affective Disorders in 1999, researchers suggested that before modern lighting, "the moon was a significant source of nocturnal illumination that affected [the] sleep-wake cycle, tending to cause sleep deprivation around the time of full moon." They speculated that "this partial sleep deprivation would have been sufficient to induce mania/hypomania in susceptible bipolar patients and seizures in patients with seizure disorders." Best I can discern, however, these oft-cited suggestions have never been tested or verified with any numbers or rigorous study of any kind.

Myths persist

If one presumes that modern lighting and mini-blinds have pretty much eliminated the one plausible source of human-related moon madness, why do so many myths persist?

Several researchers point out one likely answer: When strange things happen at full moon, people notice the "coincidental" big bright orb in the sky and wonder. When strange things happen during the rest of the month, well, they're just considered strange, and people don't tie them to celestial events.

"If police and doctors are expecting that full moon nights will be more hectic, they may interpret an ordinary night's traumas and crises as more extreme than usual," explains our Bad Science Columnist Benjamin Radford. "Our expectations influence our perceptions, and we look for evidence that confirms our beliefs."

And that leads to this final note, which is perhaps the biggest logical nail in the coffin of the moon madness myths:

The highest tides occur not just at full moon but also at new moon, when the moon is between Earth and the sun (and we cannot see the moon) and our planet feels the combined gravitational effect of these two objects. Yet nobody ever claims any funny stuff related to the new moon (except for the fact that there is more beach pollution at full and new moon ...).


In The Water Cooler, Imaginova's Editorial Director Robert Roy Britt looks at what people are talking about in the world of science and beyond. Find more in the archives and on Twitter.


LiveScience.com chronicles the daily advances and innovations made in science and technology. We take on the misconceptions that often pop up around scientific discoveries and deliver short, provocative explanations with a certain wit and style. Check out our science videos, Trivia & Quizzes and Top 10s. Join our community to debate hot-button issues like stem cells, climate change and evolution. You can also sign up for free newsletters, register for RSS feeds and get cool gadgets at the LiveScience Store.

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Top 10 Amazing Moon Facts

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), slated for launch this week, will map the moon's surface from orbit with unprecedented detail, capable even of imaging the tracks that lunar rovers left behind.

Also heading moonward is the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS), which will slam into the Shackleton Crater on the south pole of the moon in a few months and kick up material that could have been in shadow for 2 billion years. Another probe will slam into the moon a few minutes later at a different location.

It's all an effort to learn more about what the moon is made of, whether there is water ice in the crater, and therefore where to send U.S. astronauts in a planned return by 2020.

The Big Whack



The moon formed as a result of a collision known as the Giant Impact or the Big Whack, scientists figure. It went like this: A giant Mars-sized object hit Earth 4.6 billion years ago shortly after the birth of the sun and the solar system. A cloud of vaporized rock was kicked up (a mix of Earth and the other object) and went into orbit around Earth. The cloud cooled and condensed into a ring of small, solid bodies, which then gathered together, forming the moon.


Earth Makes the Moon Rise

Each day, though not at the same time, the moon comes up in the East and goes down in the West -- much like the sun and other stars and for the same reason:

Earth rotates, on its axis, toward the East, pulling celestial objects into view and then forcing them to slip away. The moon also makes an orbital trip around Earth once every 29.5 days. In the sky, this gradual movement is eastward, though it's not perceptible during any given observing session. It is, however, why the moon rises later each day, by about 50 minutes on average.

That also explains why the moon sometimes rises in the evening and us up during the night, while at other times it's up only or mostly during the day.

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No 'Dark Side'



Contrary to what you might have heard, there is no "dark side" of the moon. There is, however, a "far side" that we can't see from Earth. Here's why:

Long ago, the Earth's gravitational effects slowed the moon's rotation about its axis. Once the moon's rotation slowed enough to match its orbital period (the time it takes the moon to go around Earth) the effect stabilized.

So the moon goes around the Earth once and spins on its axis once, all in the same amount of time, and it shows us just one face the whole time.


--------------

Gravity is Much Less



The moon is about 27 percent the size of Earth and far less massive. Gravity on the moon is only about 1/6 of that on Earth. If you drop a rock on the moon, it falls more slowly (and astronauts can hope much higher). If you weigh 150 pounds on Earth, you'd weigh 25 pounds on the moon.

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Bigger and Smaller Full Moons



The moon's orbit around Earth is an oval, not a circle, so the distance between the center of Earth and the moon's center varies throughout each orbit. At perigee (PEHR uh jee), when the moon is closest to Earth, that distance is 225,740 miles (363,300 kilometers). At apogee (AP uh jee), the farthest position, the distance is 251,970 miles (405,500 kilometers).

When a full moon rises while it's at apogee, the disk we see can be 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than other full moons.

The moon is not bigger when it rises compared to later at night, however; that's an illusion (one that causes a lot of argument over what causes it). You can test this yourself by holding something about the size of a pencil eraser at arms-length when the moon first rises and looks so huge, then repeat the test later in the evening when the moon is higher and looks smaller. Next to your eraser, it'll look comparatively the same in both tests.


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Pockmarked History



The craters on the moon reveal its violent history. Because there is almost no atmosphere and little activity inside the moon, the crater trace a record of impacts back billions of years (unlike Earth, which would have been just as violent back then, but the craters have all been weathered away or folded back into the planet).

By dating the moon's many craters, scientists figured out that the moon (and Earth) underwent a Late Heavy Bombardment around 4 billion years ago. The latest thinking on this pummeling is that life may have survived it, if biology had gotten a foothold that early.

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Not Round



The moon is not round (or spherical). Instead, it's shaped like an egg. If you go outside and look up at the moon, one of the small ends is pointing right at you. And the moon's center of mass is not at the geometric center of the satellite; it's about 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) off-center. Earth, likewise, bulges in its midsection.


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Caution! Moonquakes



Apollo astronauts used seismometers during their visits to the moon and discovered that the gray orb isn't a totally dead place, geologically speaking.

Small moonquakes, originating several miles (kilometers) below the surface, are thought to be caused by the gravitational pull of Earth. Sometimes tiny fractures appear at the surface, and gas escapes.

Scientists say they think the moon probably has a core that is hot and perhaps partially molten, as is Earth's core. But data from NASA's Lunar Prospector spacecraft showed in 1999 that the moon's core is small -- probably between 2 percent and 4 percent of its mass. This is tiny compared with Earth, in which the iron core makes up about 30 percent of the planet's mass.

One engineer thinks these moonquakes should be taken into account when future lunar bases are designed.

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Tugging on the Oceans



Tides on Earth are caused mostly by the moon (the sun has a smaller effect). Here's how it works:

The moon's gravity pulls on Earth's oceans. High tide aligns with the moon as Earth spins underneath. Another high tide occurs on the opposite side of the planet because gravity pulls Earth toward the moon more than it pulls the water.

At full moon and new moon, the sun, Earth and moon are lined up, producing higher than normal tides (called spring tides, for the way they spring up). When the moon is at first or last quarter, smaller neap tides form. The moon's 29.5-day orbit around Earth is not quite circular. When the moon is closest to Earth (called its perigee), spring tides are even higher, and they're called perigean spring tides.

All this tugging has another interesting effect: Some of Earth's rotational energy is stolen by the moon, causing our planet to slow down by about 1.5 milliseconds every century.

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Ciao, Luna!

As you read this, the moon is moving away from us. Each year, the moon steals some of Earth's rotational energy, and uses it to propel itself about 1.6 inches (4 centimeters) higher in its orbit.

Researchers say that when it formed about 4.6 billion years ago, the moon was about 14,000 miles (22,530 kilometers) from Earth. It's now more than 280,000 miles, or 450,000 kilometers away.

Meanwhile, Earth's rotation rate is slowing down -- our days are getting longer and longer. Eventually, our planet's tidal bulges will be assembled along an imaginary line running through the centers of both Earth and the moon, and our planetary rotational change will pretty much cease. Earth's day will be a month long. When this happens, billions of years from now, the terrestrial month will be longer -- about 40 of our current days -- because during all this time the moon will continue moving away. [Moon Mechanics: The Full Story]

Saturday, September 26, 2009

+16 killed in two bomb attacks in NW Pakistan

26 Sep 2009 06:45:53 GMT
Source: Reuters
(For more stories on Pakistan and Afghanistan, click [nAFPAK])

(Writes through)

By Adil Khan

BANNU, Pakistan, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Two car-bomb blasts killed at least 12 people in northwestern Pakistan on Saturday, evidence militants still have power to strike despite the death of a top Taliban commander last month.

A Taliban suicide bomber crashed his explosives-laden truck into a police station in the town of Bannu, North West Frontier Province, destroying the building and nearby houses and killing six people, police said.

Thirty people, most of them policemen, were wounded.

Shortly afterwards, a bomb planted in a car went off in the carpark of a commercial building close to a military hospital in the provincial capital of Peshawar, killing at least six people.

"The frontside of the building has collapsed. Over two dozen cars have been destroyed," a Reuters witness said.

Qari Hussain, a Taliban commander who trains suicide bombers, called Reuters by telephone to take responsibility for the Bannu attack.

"The government was taking undue advantage of our silence. We will carry out more such attacks and these will be much more powerful," Hussain said, introducing himself as top spokesman of Pakistani Taliban chief, Hakimullah Mehsud.

Hakimullah was appointed chief of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, or Taliban movement of Pakistan, a loose alliance of around 13 militant groups, after the death of his predecessor, Baitullah Mehsud, in a missile strike by a pilotless U.S. drone in South Waziristan on the Afghan border in August.

Militant attacks have tapered off after Mehsud's death but security officials say militants loyal to al Qaeda still pose a serious threat.

Thirty-three people were killed in a car-bomb suicide attack near the garrison town of Kohat this month.

Bannu is gateway to North Waziristan, a volatile tribal region on the Afghan border and a major sanctuary for al Qaeda and Taliban militants fighting both in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Twelve Afghan militants were killed in a missile strike by a U.S. drone aircraft near the house of an Afghan Taliban commander allied to al Qaeda in North Waziristan late on Thursday night.

Pakistani forces have also made significant gains against the militants after they launched an offensive in northwestern Swat valley in late April, which helped allay international fears about the stability of the nuclear-armed U.S. ally after militants made advances towards the capital, Islamabad.

(For more Reuters coverage of Afghanistan and Pakistan, see: http://www.reuters.com/news/globalcoverage/afghanistanpakistan) (Additional reporting by Zeeshan Haider, Faris Ali and Alamgir Bitani, writing by Zeeshan Haider; Editing by Nick Macfie)


-------------------



PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - Two car-bomb blasts killed at least 16 people in northwestern Pakistan on Saturday, evidence militants still have power to strike despite the death of a top Taliban commander last month.

A suicide bomber sitting in an explosives-laden car threw a hand-grenade toward a crowd of people in the main northwestern city of Peshawar before detonating about 100 kg of explosives in the vehicle.

"Ten people have been killed and 71 wounded, five of them critically," Sahibzada Anis, the top government administrator of the city told Reuters.

The attack took place in the carpark of a commercial building close to a military hospital.

Television footage showed car parts and debris from nearby buildings scattered over the road. An elderly man wearing a blood-stained shirt was seen helping a wounded young woman walking away from the scene of the blast.

"It was terrible. My children are very frightened. All the windows of my house are broken. It was very frightening,"
Beenish Asad, a housewife living near the site of the blast told Reuters by telephone.

Police said they detained two suspects at the scene.

POLICE BUILDING HIT

The Peshawar attack came hours after a Taliban suicide bomber crashed his explosives-laden truck into a police station in the town of Bannu in North West Frontier Province (NWFP), killing six people. Thirty people, most of them policemen, were wounded.

Bannu is gateway to North Waziristan, a volatile tribal region on the Afghan border and a major sanctuary for al Qaeda and Taliban militants fighting both in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Qari Hussain, a Taliban commander, called Reuters by telephone to take responsibility for the Bannu attack.

"The government was taking undue advantage of our silence. We will carry out more such attacks and these will be much more powerful," Hussain said.

Militant attacks have tapered off after the death of Pakistani Taliban chief and al Qaeda ally Baitullah Mehsud in a missile strike by a pilotless U.S. drone in August.

Pakistani forces have made significant gains against the militants after they launched an offensive in northwestern Swat valley in late April, which helped allay international fears about the stability of the nuclear-armed U.S. ally after militants made advances toward the capital, Islamabad.

But government and security officials say militants loyal to al Qaeda still pose a serious threat.

Mian Iftikhar Hussain, NWFP information minister, said the attacks were aimed at avenging the government offensive against the militants in Swat.

"We are not scared of these people and we have to extend our operations wherever these terrorists are operating," he told reporters.

President Asif Ali Zardari, who is in New York for the U.N. General Assembly session, condemned the twin attacks and said "terrorism and extremism would be rooted out from the country with full force."

(For more Reuters coverage of Afghanistan and Pakistan, see: here)

(Additional reporting by Zeeshan Haider, Adil Khan and Alamgir Bitani, writing by Zeeshan Haider; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

Friday, September 25, 2009

World may change one day when the Americans start to free themselves from the Jewish shackles


This week, important but pessimistic news came from Afghanistan which will complicate further the position of Obama. The first came from top US general Stanley McChrystal warning about dire consequences if the number of US troops on the ground was not substantially increased. The second came from Germany and Italy calling for troops’ withdrawal out of Afghanistan altogether as the futile NATO/ISAF mission is without an end. But the third and most important message came from reclusive Mullah Omar, the leader of the Taiban, which revealed confidence of winning. One must question here Obama wisdom when he invites terrorist and corrupt Natanyahu, representing the rogue state of Israel, to Washington and not a religious leader like Mullah Omar who has been fighting effectively to free his country from the boots of foreign soldiers despite the limited resources at his disposal.

After nearly eight years since November 7, 2001, it is becoming clear to many in Europe and in the US that there is no military solution to the Afghan debacle and a political dialogue with the Taliban remains the only viable option. Increasing the troop deployment as requested by the Pentagon may only help to send more body bags home. And further support for the US client regime of Hameed Kharzai will not help the so-called democracy to spread beyond the heavily-fortified 'Green Zone' of Kabul. It is not the first time that America has swallowed the bitter pill, called a halt to its killing machines, pulled its troops and sat down with the enemy to end a conflict. America has dealt before with the Taliban and can easily deal with them again. Prior to the 9/11 attack on NY, a Taliban delegation was invited to Texas when G.W. Bush was the governor to discuss contracts for gas and oil pipelines. To the contrary of the Pentagon war mongers' perception, Bin Laden and al-Qaeda remain active if the current anti-Islamic crusade continues.

Obama must realise that if the Taliban weren’t there the Pentagon war mongers would have invented them in order to secure huge military contracts with the known fat kickbacks to officials shortly after leaving office.

All nations should watch carefully the conspiracies of Jews in their midst. Furthermore, members of Israeli MOSSAD are trained killers. There is an increase in the number of anti-Semitic attacks on Jewish businesses in Europe.

No-one is really afraid of the Jews per se. They are generally coward and very cruel. We have seen how they were led like ewes to gas chambers. But the Jews are in control of American politics and use the stupid Americans to fight their own wars. It is well known that MOSSAD depends on the facilities offered to them by US, France and UK embassies to carry out their assassinations. But things may change one day when the Americans start to free themselves from the Jewish shackles.



Stopping the economic meltdown meant chasing the big bosses of the Jewish financial mafia. Cancelling a number of defence programs; including reducing the number of Nukes will anger the Pentagon war mongers. Putting pressure on Netanyahu to stop the illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories did upset the Zionists.
As a result, The defence and the Jewish lobbies are investing heavily to undermine anything Obama wants to do including his health care program.

Obama was dealt a very bad hand. The mess left by the Zio-cons was to much for anyone. As a result Obama seems to be overexposed doing too many things at any given time. In doing so, Obama has made too many enemies, including the powerful Jewish lobby.
Adnan Darwash, Iraq Occupation Times

Good Morning America: 5 US troops killed in Afghanistan

Three die in roadside bombing in deadliest year for international forces since invasion



General Stanley McChrystal has urged Barack Obama to send more troops to Afghanistan. Photograph: Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images

Five US troops have been killed in attacks in southern Afghanistan, the military said today.

Three troops died in a roadside bombing, one was shot by insurgents and another died in an attack while on patrol. All five died yesterday.

Roadside bombs now account for most US and Nato casualties in what has been the deadliest year for international forces since the 2003 US-led invasion. They have been especially deadly in the south, which is largely controlled by the Taliban. In July, the number of incidents involving improvised explosive devices was 828, the highest level of the war and more than twice as many as in July 2008.

Barack Obama has been urged to send more troops to Afghanistan by the Nato commander in the country, General Stanley McChrystal, but he has held back from committing more troops as political support for the war weakens. Concern that the war may be unwinnable is growing as US casualties rise sharply. A recent Washington Post poll showed that 51% of Americans thought the war "not worth fighting".

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Lets Learn Politics from Bhutto-Ahmedinejad & Gadhafi Politics

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has denounced the United Nations Security Council, defended the Taliban, and critiqued decades of historic events during his first appearance before the U.N. General Assembly.

A detail Analysis: Bhutto's Outburst in UN Security Council
http://baghdadtobasra.blogspot.com/2009/04/z-bhuttos-outburst-in-un.html

During a rambling, 96-minute speech, Gadhafi delivered remarks on a broad range of issues including swine flu, the 1963 assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy and the need for $7.77 trillion in reparations for Africa from former colonial powers.

Wearing brown robes and at times holding the U.N. charter, the Libyan leader called for giving Africa a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council and giving more power to the General Assembly. He also criticized the United Nations for failing to stop some 65 wars around the world since its creation in 1945.


He denounced U.S. military action in Iraq and Vietnam and defended Afghanistan's Taliban, saying the group should be allowed to create a religious state. Despite the criticisms, he still praised U.S. President Barack Obama, saying he wished Mr. Obama could remain president forever.

Ties between Libya and the United States have long been strained during Mr. Gadhafi's four decades in power. But relations improved in 2003 after Libya publicly abandoned its weapons of mass destruction program.

The move has not appeased critics still angry with Libya's role in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270 people.

Some of that anger is behind local opposition in New York to where the Libyan leader stays while he is visiting.

Mr. Gadhafi often takes a large Bedouin tent on his trips abroad to meet and entertain guests, but this week New York authorities ordered workers to stop building the tent on an large estate owned by real estate developer and television personality Donald Trump in Bedford about 70 kilometers northeast of New York City.

Locals say a building inspector issued a stop work order because no legal permits were obtained.

A statement released by Trump's corporation says part of the 86-hectare estate was leased on a short-term basis to Trump's Middle Eastern partners, who "may or may not" have a relationship with the Libyan leader.

Earlier, the U.S. State Department rejected Mr. Gadhafi's plans to erect a tent at property owned by the Libyan embassy in New Jersey.



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Gaddafi blasts big powers in first U.N. speech



By Louis Charbonneau and Haitham Haddadin

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Muammar Gaddafi, in his first address to the United Nations in 40 years as Libya's autocratic ruler, on Wednesday accused major powers on the Security Council of betraying the principles of the U.N. charter.

"The preamble (of the charter) says all nations are equal whether they are small or big," Gaddafi said in a long, rambling speech during which he chastised his audience for falling asleep.

After reading from a copy of the U.N. charter, Gaddafi condemned the veto power held by five permanent of the council, at one point referring to it as the "terror council." Speaking through an interpreter, he said: "The veto is against the charter, we do not accept it and we do not acknowledge it."

Clad in a copper-coloured robe with an emblem of Africa pinned over his chest, the Libyan leader dropped his paperback copy of the charter on the podium several times before tossing it over his shoulder.

Gaddafi, who touched on subjects ranging from the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, the U.S. invasion of Grenada and free medicine for the world's children, spoke for 1 hour and 35 minutes.

It was not a record-breaker -- in 1960 Cuba's Fidel Castro blasted U.S. imperialism for about four hours -- but it threw out the U.N.'s scheduling on a day when many leaders were down to speak.

TELLS DELEGATES TO WAKE UP

A number of delegates left the hall and at one point the Libyan leader complained about the tired appearance of the audience. "Please can I have your attention," he said.
"All of you are tired, having jet lag. ... You are tired. All of you are asleep."


Many countries have been upset by Libya's warm public reception for a Libyan official convicted of involvement in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing attack who was released by Scotland last month on health grounds.

That was about the only issue Gaddafi did not touch on in his speech.

Gaddafi's presence prompted some protests and wide interest in New York. He tried unsuccessful to get permission to pitch a Bedouin tent he likes to stay in Central Park and in two other sites near New York City.

The United States, Britain, France, Russia and China are permanent veto-wielding members of the Security Council, the most powerful body within the United Nations. Libya has a temporary council seat and will be on the 15-nation panel until the end of this year.

"Veto power should be annulled," Gaddafi said.

"The Security Council did not provide us with security but with terror and sanctions," he told leaders gathered for the opening day of the 192-nation General Assembly.

PRAISE FOR OBAMA

Gaddafi, who spoke just after U.S. President Barack Obama, said the fact that "65 wars" have broken out since the U.N. was established more than 60 years ago proved its founding principles had been betrayed.

"The election of Obama is the beginning of change," he said and applauded Obama's stated commitment to nuclear disarmament. Other U.S. presidents, he said, had terrorizing his region.


The United States began lifting its sanctions and normalizing relations with Tripoli after Gaddafi said he was abandoning Libya's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs in December 2003.

Although he dismissed the Security Council as illegitimate, Gaddafi, who currently chairs the African Union, reiterated Africa's call for a permanent council seat.

He also said that Africa deserved compensation totalling $7.77 trillion (4.72 trillion pounds) from its past colonial masters for damages sustained during the colonial period.

(Editing by David Storey)


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Saving the UN from its board of directors!

The board of directors of major US banks (Mostly members of the Jewish financial mafia) squandered profits, robbed shareholders, abolished traditional reserve funds and gave themselves fat bonuses and fees. The result was high-rising but empty bank buildings begging the taxpayer to save them. Naturally, the untouchables Jews got away to enjoy their profits unscathed leaving the country with astronomical debts. Right now, there are calls to save the banks from the greedy board of directors.
Similarly, the United Nations has been undermined and bankrupted by its CEO, the Americans. There is no respect for the member state sovereignty, its main objective of peace is violated by successive wars, while pro-American criminals are protected and rewarded disregarding the wishes of the majority of the 192 members. As an example, the Americans went to invade Iraq, destroy its infrastructure, kill its people and hang its president for an assumed breach of two UN Security Council resolutions concerning its Weapons of Mass Destruction. But the UN is unable to punish Israel for being in breach of 39 UN Security Council resolutions, for developing and stockpiling all types of Weapons of Mass destruction or for the genocides against the Palestinians.

Furthermore, the US vetoed an UN resolution protecting Bibi Netanyahu from being denounced as a terrorist, after leading a commando unit that destroyed 10 civilian aircrafts at Beirut Airport. This same Netanyahu, whose country is sitting on 400 Nuclear War heads, dares to call on the UN to impose sanctions on Iran for having Uranium Enrichment programs. Add insult to injury, Netanyahu call was endorsed by other board members the likes of Obama, Sarkozy and Gordon Brown.

Similar to the US banks, the UN is bankrupt and impotent in dealing with the Israeli crimes and genocides while the role of its Secretary General is being reduced to that of a small clerk in the US Department of State. In conclusion the Jews have bankrupted the US banks and the United Nations. It is no wonder that Gheddafi threw away UN charter as it failed to protect the majority of its members.


Adnan Darwash, Iraq Occupation Times

Report: Chinese State Companies Supplying Gasoline to Iran

By VOA News
23 September 2009


A newspaper report says Chinese state companies are supplying gasoline to Iran, a development that could undermine U.S. efforts to pressure Tehran to give up its nuclear program.

London's Financial Times reports Wednesday the companies are selling the petrol through intermediaries, and provide up to a third of Tehran's gasoline imports.

The report is based on unnamed oil traders and bankers.

The sales would complicate U.S.-led efforts to isolate the Iranian government with tough economic sanctions.

Fuel sales to Iran currently are legal. U.S. officials have suggested imposing international sanctions on the trade to force Iran to stop its nuclear activities.

Western countries accuse Iran of secretly trying to build a nuclear weapon, which Tehran denies.

Envoys from the world's major powers will discuss the situation Wednesday outside the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

The envoys from the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany are preparing for an October 1 meeting with Iranian officials in Geneva.

On Tuesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for global nuclear disarmament. He said nuclear weapons are the source of threats and instability.

He told the Associated Press that Tehran will not seek to avoid discussion on the nuclear issue. But he said it will only pursue talks through the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Also Tuesday, Iran's nuclear energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi announced that the country has built new centrifuges he says are better able to enrich uranium, a key ingredient in nuclear weapons.

Saudi Arabia launches first mixed-gender university

23 Sep 2009 10:21:27 GMT
Source: Reuters
By Ulf Laessing and Asma Alsharif

THUWAL, Saudi Arabia, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia opened its first co-educational university on Wednesday, a high-tech campus with massive funds which reformers hope will spearhead change in the Islamic state.

Western diplomats hope the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), which has attracted more than 70 professors and 800 students from abroad, will usher reform after recent setbacks such as shelving municipal elections planned for this year and cancelling cultural events opposed by clerics.

King Abdullah was due to inaugurate late on Wednesday the university 80 kilometres north of Jeddah in the presence of regional leaders, Western officials and Nobel laureates.

The 85-year-old monarch has promoted reforms in the world's top oil exporter since taking office in 2005 to create a modern state, stave off Western criticisms and lower dependence on oil but faces resistance from conservative clerics and princes.

Al Qaeda militants launched a campaign against the state in 2003, blaming the royal family for corruption and its alliance with the United States. It was mainly Saudis who carried out the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks against U.S. cities.

Officials who back Abdullah fear that without reforms young people will be drawn to militancy in the future.

Supporters are presenting KAUST as a tangible gain for the king's plans, which have included more long-term projects such as an overhaul of courts, the education system and building "economic cities" to create jobs for the young population.

"KAUST is eventually some tangible result after so much was planned and so little done," said a Western diplomat in Riyadh.

"There is truly no other university in the world so well-equipped. Anywhere. The issue is, of course, what is to be done with the equipment and that remains to be seen," former U.S. diplomat John Burgess wrote in his Saudi blog "Crossroads Arabia."

One of the main goals of KAUST, where staff will drive around campus in electric cars, is to produce Saudi scientists but so far locals, who had to compete in a tough admission process, are a minority among students from 61 countries.

MIDDLE OF NOWHERE

Located next to the Red Sea village of Thuwal, the 36-square mile campus has lured scientists from abroad with luxury packages and a life far from the reality of the Islamic state where clerics have wide powers over society in an alliance with the Saudi ruling family.

"The community's design facilitates access to the Red Sea and encourages active, healthy living and group interaction," says the KAUST website. Unlike in Saudi universities, male and women students can attend classes together and mix in cafes.

With more than 70 green spaces, gyms, wellness, clinics and spacious residential districts there is no reason to leave the campus based far away from prying eyes of the religious police.

"One of the motivations (to come here) was that ... anything that I would dream of is here," said India's Kultaransingh Hooghan, a computer researcher who just relocated to Thuwal.

KAUST is run by state oil company Aramco, which has a similar liberal enclave at its headquarters in Dhahran on the Gulf coast. It is outside the control of the education ministry.

Columnist Abdullah al-Alami, who worked at Aramco, said more Saudis must enrol to make KAUST a success.

"Remember that when Aramco was established the percentage of Saudis was less than 5 percent. Today, Saudi employees make up more than 90 percent of Aramco population," he said.

But analysts and diplomats say Saudi Arabia needs reform of its state education system.

"KAUST is impressive but starts at the wrong end. Instead of pumping billions into universities you need to reform primary schools focusing on religion," said another Western diplomat.

(Editing by Andrew Hammond and Samia Nakhoul)

Monday, September 21, 2009

The enemies' ploys will not have any impact on the Iranian nation's morale," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Source: Reuters
TEHRAN, Sept 21 (Reuters) - These are some of the leading stories in Iranian newspapers on Monday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

HAMSHAHRI

- "The enemies' ploys will not have any impact on the Iranian nation's morale," said the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

IRAN

- "Iran's Air Force to show the first squadron of its domestically manufactured Saegheh (lightening) jetfighters in a parade on Tuesday marking the start of the Iran-Iraq war in September 1980," commander Hassan Shahsafi said.

ANDISH-E NO

- "I am ready to help (the U.S. President Barack) Obama in realizing change in Tehran-Washington ties," President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said before his trip to New York this week to attend the U.N. general assembly.

POUL

- President Ahmadinejad ordered the government to shift from U.S. dollars to euros as the basis of computing Iran's foreign currency reserves.

JAVAN

- "Iranian Navy in the Gulf of Aden repelled attacks by sea pirates on three Iranian commercial vessels," said a Navy official.

EBTEKAR

- Former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani asked political factions to stop quarrelling with one another in an attempt to restore political calm in the Iranian society.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Listing 2. ProcessPurchaseOrder.xml, an example XML instance



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