RT News

Friday, November 30, 2012

New Jersey bridge collapse derails freight train; chemical leaks

New Jersey bridge collapse derails freight train; chemical leaks Fri, Nov 30 17:54 PM EST 1 of 7 By Dave Warner PAULSBORO, New Jersey (Reuters) - A railroad bridge collapsed on Friday over a creek in southern New Jersey, causing a Conrail freight train to derail and spill hazardous chemicals into the air and water, authorities said. Seven of the 82 cars derailed, and a tanker car that fell into Mantua Creek leaked vinyl chloride into the waterway, which feeds into the Delaware River near Philadelphia, said Deborah Hersman, chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board. More than 12,000 gallons (45,425 liters) of the highly toxic and flammable industrial chemical leaked from a gash in the car's side, local officials said. Twenty-two people were examined at a nearby hospital as a precaution and were doing fine, said Larry Ragonese, a spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Ragonese said the health danger and environmental impact were minimal. "Initially there was a release of gas into the air that affected some nearby residents and people working right in that area," he said. Air quality monitors in the area did not register any problem, said Lawrence Hajna, also with the DEP. "All the levels are coming in within our safety range." Exposure to vinyl chloride can cause a burning sensation in the eyes or respiratory discomfort, the DEP said. The accident took place at about 7 a.m. EST (1200 GMT) in Paulsboro. Area residents initially were told to stay indoors, with windows shut, and local schools were closed. The leak was contained and no longer posed a threat, and authorities were using booms to trap the chemical in the water, Ragonese said. At the scene, one of the freight cars was nearly vertical, nose-down and partly submerged in the creek. Other cars lay jumbled on the collapsed bridge and the embankment. "It's part of living in Paulsboro, with refineries and trains. We accept it," said resident John Diamond, 53, who was taking photographs. The area is thick with chemical plants, and two refineries, PBF Energy's Paulsboro and NuStar's Asphalt, are nearby. TANK "BREACHED" The head of the Gloucester County, New Jersey, Office of Emergency Management, Tom Butts, said the leaking tanker car in the water had a tear in it, and the tank was "breached." About half of its contents leaked out, he said. The tank was carrying some 25,000 gallons (94,635 liters) of the chemical, said John Burzichelli, a state assemblyman and former mayor of Paulsboro. "When you live between two oil refineries, you have a sense that these things can happen," he said. Locals fish and go crabbing and jet-ski in the creek in the warm months, Diamond said. Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, said improved safety procedures, inspection, enforcement and oversight are needed to help prevent such accidents. "This time it was ... vinyl chloride. What if it was chlorine?" he said, referring to a chemical that is extremely dangerous if inhaled and has the potential to explode. Also, he said there is no mechanism to alert communities to what kinds of chemicals trains are carrying through the states. He questioned the integrity of the bridge, which is owned and operated by Conrail, since Superstorm Sandy slammed into New Jersey on October 29, causing surges in area waterways. The cause of the accident was undetermined. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating, and members of the agency arrived at the scene mid-afternoon. NTSB's chairwoman said four out of the five train cars that were on the bridge when it collapsed landed in the creek, and two other cars rolled onto the embankment. "We have requested a great deal of information from the railroad" as part of the investigation, Hersman said. Conrail said the train consisted of two locomotives, 82 rail cars and one caboose. "We very much regret the impact on the local community," said Conrail spokesman John Enright, who was at the scene. "We will be working very closely with federal investigators to determine the cause." The bridge underwent extensive repairs after getting damaged in a 2009 derailment of a coal freight train, Burzichelli said. "That bridge is very old. It's not a good day for Conrail," Burzichelli said, adding that the bridge carries three major freight trains daily. New Jersey State Senate President Steve Sweeney, also on the scene, said a nearby homeowner reported hearing a "loud bang" from the bridge about two days ago. Burzichelli said Conrail had come out to examine it in response. Conrail is jointly owned by rail operators CSX Corp and Norfolk Southern Corp. (Additional reporting by Edith Honan and Ellen Wulfhorst; Writing by Ellen Wulfhorst; Editing by Vicki Allen and Xavier Briand)

Alberta To Recruit U.S. War Vets To Work In Oilsands

Iraq has loads of undiscovered oil, and unlike other countries in the region has opened up exploration to foreigners, many of them from China. Not only is the oil plentiful in Iraq, it’s also cheap to get at – 15 times cheaper than extracting Russian oil, 30 times cheaper than Canadian Oil sands. Protestors storm Garraf oil field after religious dispute Workers operate a Weatherford drilling rig at the Garraf oil field. (STAFF/Iraq Oil Report/Metrography) By Staff of Iraq Oil Report Published November 30, 2012 GARRAF - Villagers near the Garraf oil field in southern Iraq's Dhi Qar province stormed the field offices of Malaysian oil company Petronas, injuring two people and damaging offices, vehicles and other equipment. The attack was prompted by a dispute over religious observances, which may have been amplified by misinformation, sectarian tensions, and prior resentments of the Malaysian company Petronas, which has a 2010 contract to develop the field. "They went in groups and attacked the company off... ========= Alberta To Recruit U.S. War Vets To Work In Oilsands. Nov. 17th Alberta is seeking to recruit an army of oilsands workers — literally. The province is on the march to attract thousands of demobilized U.S. military personnel to help develop what's been touted as Canada's economic engine for coming decades, the oilsands. The project's success would also act as a goodwill gesture for Canada's controversial oilsands, said Alberta Energy Minister Ken Hughes. "We're trying to understand how we could produce employment opportunities for American service people returning from overseas," Hughes said Friday. "I've detected some interest in the States." The mission has attracted the attention of U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson and the encouragement of the U.S.'s former consul general in Calgary, Laura Lochman, said Hughes. Hughes said there are a half-million unemployed or underemployed younger military veterans in the U.S. — a force that could be tapped to satisfy a chronically-hungry energy industry in Alberta. "These are a lot of fairly highly-disciplined Americans, some of whom would have skills, presumably, for the oil industry," he said. "Ever since the Dingman well discovery in 1914, we've never had enough human resources and capital of our own to develop the oil industry." Forecasts conducted on the labour needs of Alberta's energy sector range greatly, with one study stating the province could be short 130,000 workers within seven years. "That's one of the greatest constraints we face in developing the oilsands," said Hughes. The minister said he plans to lead a team into the U.S. sometime next year to scout out recruitment opportunities among military vets. He said such a contingent of military petroleum workers would also help sell the oilsands to an America that's shown some reluctance to accept its bitumen and the pipelines that would supply it. "It helps bring a personal story home to the U.S. about the importance Canada has in supplying them with oil and it helps build good will in America, which is something we could use," said Hughes. Concerns over the welfare of U.S. military personnel returning from overseas — particularly the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — have been growing in the U.S. Among the challenges they face are homelessness, post-traumatic stress disorder and unemployment in a country still struggling with an unemployment rate of around 8%. But Hughes also said Canada's in a labour competition with a newly-flourishing U.S. oilpatch. Source: CNEWS.Canoe.ca .. Comment by Roger Payne on November 17, 2012 at 10:08am That's a good thing, Sense our President won't open up exploration and production in the USA so our people can find work. . Comment by Dave Sereda on November 18, 2012 at 9:54am Alberta's Energy Minister Ken Hughes is an idiot. We have thousands of Canadians from all over this country that could be trained to do the jobs in the oil sands. And this government wants to go and "attract thousands of demobilized U.S. military personnel to help develop what's been touted as Canada's economic engine for coming decades, the oil sands." This would act as a good will gesture, since when has the United States needed charity when all the States need is a government that can work for the people and build their employment, and stop wasting trillions of dollars on senseless wars. Free trade was implemented to open the border for both countries to have a balanced marketing and employment system not to take from one to give to another. There will be lots of room for people from all over the world to work in the Canadian oil sands but employ Canadians first. . Comment by Brakta Hatem on November 18, 2012 at 1:39pm absolutely right , the Canadian first , I think there is hidden priorities, maybe conventions or politic needs , after all , The wind blows the way that not liked by the vessels.... . Comment by Reg Allaby on November 18, 2012 at 3:35pm You're s******* me right?...They just laid off all employees at voyager...and I have 17 years oilfield exp and can't get in there because they just hire newfies and foreign workers!! . Comment by B.M.Barter on November 18, 2012 at 5:05pm Looks like pr for keystone. . Comment by George Henry Pennings on November 19, 2012 at 1:20am They done the same in the south, brought in Africans and South Americans for some of the plants ....that did not work out so good so now they wanna send some veterens to the north country where there is very little sun and -40 degree temperatures in the winter and 20 hours of daylite and enough blackflies/mosquitos to carry a guy away in the summer..... the southern boys will really enjoy that... probally hang arround long enough to get un-employment isurance and live off the Canuck taxpayer like the other "imported" workers are doing now. . Comment by Dave Sereda on November 19, 2012 at 9:24am George you are right about the southern boys working long enough to try and get un-enployment but even Canadians can't claim unemployment due to the amount of income they reserve throughout the year. As they would have to work for one full year first and pay personal taxes which would be about 46%. (Wellfare would probably more like it.) The rest of your post is all story book due to global warming the temperature will not even get close to -40 for more than 2 - 3 days and Ft. McMurry isn't that far north to get that much darkness and as far as the black flies and mosquitos go we do not live in Africa. I've worked in Africa and the black flies/mosquitos are bad. The real problem is that the Alberta Government is trying to suckhole to the Obama administration to get the Keystone XL pipeline put through as they are having trouble with British Columbia getting the Northern Gateway Pipeline put in and would leave thousands of Canadians without work. . Comment by Pat Maracle on Sunday 46% taxes? I thought the peak was 37%. Either way you look at it; what "trained" or "Skilled Worker" Canadian in their right mind want to work in Ft. Mac for only a fraction more than half of his income? If recruiting "War Vets" opens up more jobs for Americans & Canadians through the Keystone project then what is the problem? The next time Alberta's oilfield goes "Bust" again...& it will; it will be the Skilled Canadians wanting work down south in the USA (probably in about 4 years when Obama finishes his final term as POTUS). The latest forecast by so-called experts is that the USA will take over as the #1 oil producer by 2020. I'm pretty sure there will be a LOT of Canadians wanting work down there. What goes around comes around. Finally; hiring war vets is NEVER, regardless of country of origin (Canada, UK or USA), a bad deal. They can use the break & recognition & we can ALL learn from their instilled discipline, morals & ethics. . Read more: http://www.drillingahead.com/page/alberta-to-recruit-u-s-war-vets-to-work-in-oilsands#ixzz2DkvF9tfN Read more: http://www.drillingahead.com/page/alberta-to-recruit-u-s-war-vets-to-work-in-oilsands#ixzz2DkrgNP9L

Any attack on Iran may lead to withdrawal from NPT: envoy

Any attack on Iran may lead to withdrawal from NPT: envoy Fri, Nov 30 06:48 AM EST VIENNA (Reuters) - Any military attack on Iran's nuclear facilities may lead to the country withdrawing from the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), a pact designed to prevent the spread of nuclear arms, a senior Iranian official said on Friday. In case of an attack, "there is a possibility that the (Iranian) parliament forces the government to stop the (U.N. nuclear) agency inspections or even in the worse scenario withdraw from the NPT," nuclear envoy Ali Asghar Soltanieh said in a statement in English to the U.N. agency's 35-nation board. There has been persistent speculation that Israel might attack Iran, which it accuses of seeking a nuclear weapons capability. Iran denies the charge and says Israel's assumed nuclear arsenal is a threat to regional security. (Reporting by Fredrik Dahl; editing by Andrew Roche)

Can Afghanistan, Iraq and PAK tackle corrpuption?

http://thediplomat.com/2012/11/30/china-introducing-the-middle-easts-future-hegemon/ November 30, 2012 By J. Michael Cole While China's oil dealings with countries like Iran and Sudan receive global attention, its budding relationship with Iraq may turn out to be the most important. A lot of attention has been paid in recent years to energy-hungry China’s billion-dollar bids on oil fields in Canada and the Asian giant’s reliance on oil from countries like Iran and Sudan to fuel its growing economy. But its growing interest in another major oil producer has gone largely unnoticed, and if current trends continue, that Middle Eastern country could become the world’s next “oil superpower,” with China, not the West, acting as both Iraq’s main partner and top beneficiary of its rich resources in what some now call the B&B trade axis (Beijing and Baghdad). In the past decade or so, China waited patiently on the sidelines while the U.S. and its allies coped with Iraq’s new, and often times messy internal dynamics that followed the 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein by a U.S.-led coalition. China reemerged in 2008, however, to sign post-Saddam Iraq’s first major oil deal with a foreign country. While the majority of Iraqi oil deals in the post-Saddam era were awarded to Western firms, the Western shift to a more amenable and independent oil-rich Kurdish region in the north amid disenchantment with southern Iraq is creating a vacuum that China has found hard to resist. Even more so than Russia, a traditional player in Iraq during the Soviet era, China has the capital that Baghdad is desperately seeking to build its oil and gas infrastructure, while Iraq has crude potentials that are alluring to a China that seeks to diversify its energy sources. Already, Chinese oil firms have taken an active interest in acquiring deals that had been awarded to Western firms in 2009-2010, which the latter are now relinquishing so they can focus on alternative oil fields in Kurdistan. Although talks between China and Iraq go back to at least 1997, major investments have only occurred in recent years, with Chinese National Petroleum Company (CNPC) focusing on the 17 billion barrel Rumaila field — Iraq’s largest — and Halfaya, both in the south. As of 2010, China had made five major oil investments in Iraq since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, one of which was in Kurdistan. Relations are already on the right foot. To create goodwill with Baghdad, Beijing in 2010 forgave about 80 percent of Iraq’s $8.5 billion debt to China and has signed multibillion-dollar trade deals in various sectors, including industry, government, tourism, and transportation. As China seeks to expand its fledging defense industry, it is not unreasonable to think that at some point Iraq will turn to it for military hardware, which in turn would create incentives for greater military cooperation between the countries and further entrench China’s presence in Iraq. Photo Credit: Government of China ============ Can Afghanistan tackle corruption? A scandal has cost Afghanistan's Kabul Bank hundreds of millions of dollars. And a new report now says political meddling is preventing efforts to find out why it happened. The scandal began nearly three years ago. "Within the government, within the cabinet of President Karzai, there was immense pressure and immense understanding between all of them that we have to, really, flourish this bank. So it is very crystal clear that President Hamid Karzai and his royal family, royal team, or his political allies - whatsoever people called them - they were all together into it." - Najeeb Azizi, from Kabul University And now, thanks to an independent audit, Kabul Bank is once again in the spotlight. The report says the bank funneled $900m into the pockets of the country's political elite. Dragan Kos, who heads up the committee that produced the report, says that what many in Kabul have long believed is that a corrupt elite benefitted at the expense of other Afghans, and did so with the help of those close to Hamid Karzai, the president. There is no evidence that the president benefited from the loans, but his brother, Mahmood Karzai, did. He denies any wrongdoing, and says he has paid back the loan. But while the political elite allegedly siphoned off money from Kabul Bank, Afghanistan remains extremely poor, with 36 per cent of its population living below the poverty line. Kabul Bank was founded in 2004. And five years later, in 2009, Afghan authorities learnt that it was smuggling money out of the country. After fears of its collapse led to customers taking their money out, it was bailed out by international donors in 2010. "What is at stake here ... is whether the international community are building a system that can sustain itself and whether Afghans themselves are being part and co-opted into a system that they can feel is legitimate." - Peter Middlebrook, from Geopolicity Inc. In April last year, President Karzai announced that the Bank would be put into receivership - a process in which most of its assets were transferred to a new bank. Then in May of the same year, a report by an anti-corruption office said $467m worth of loans were made without proper collateral. So, how will Hamid Karzai handle the aftermath of the Kabul Bank scandal? And what can be done to deal with corruption in Afghanistan? To discuss this, Inside Story, with presenter Ghida Fakhry, is joined by guests: Najeeb Azizi, a former economic adviser to the Afghan ministry of finance and a visiting professor at the economic faculty at Kabul University; Fahim Dashty, the chief editor of Kabul Weekly and president of Afghanistan's national journalist union; and Peter Middlebrook, the managing director and CEO of Geopolicity Inc., an advisory consulting firm specialising in political and economic intelligence. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- THE KABUL BANK SCANDAL: •A report says Kabul Bank was involved in the embezzlement of almost $900m •The report was funded by international donors and released by Kroll Associates •The brother of President Karzai is alleged to be a beneficiary of fraud •The missing money is said to be equal to five per cent of Afghan GDP •The bank gave illegal loans to a group of 19 individuals and companies •Kabul Bank employed people to forge documents for fake companies •Investigators found 114 rubber stamps used for fake companies •The embezzled money was moved to foreign accounts in 28 countries •The report says the money was smuggled out of Afghanistan by Pamir Airways •The now defunct Pamir Airways was set up with loans from Kabul Bank •Officials promoted Kabul Bank as a model of Western-style banking •The US has threatened to cut Afghan aid unless the guilty are prosecuted •In 2010, revelations of corruption led to a run on the Kabul Bank •The Kabul Bank had to be bailed out by international donors =====================

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Two bombs kill 155 people in Iraq Shi'ite cities

Two bombs kill 28 people in Iraq Shi'ite cities Thu, Nov 29 04:10 AM EST 1 of 2 HILLA, Iraq (Reuters) - Bombs in two majority Shi'ite Muslim cities in southern Iraq killed 28 people on Thursday, police and hospital sources said. Scores were wounded in the blasts, which struck during a month Ashura, a holy month for Shi'ites who are often targeted by al Qaeda's Iraqi affiliate and other Sunni Muslim insurgents. Two explosions near a restaurant in the city of Hilla, 100 km (62 miles) south of Baghdad, killed 26 people. In the city of Kerbala, a car bomb near a bus terminal where Shi'ite pilgrims usually gather killed another two people, a spokesman for the local health office said. Violence in Iraq has eased since the carnage of 2006-2007, but Sunni Islamists still launch frequent attacks, seeking to reignite sectarian strife and undermine the Shi'ite-led government's efforts to provide security. On Tuesday, car bombs targeting Shi'ites in mourning processions killed 14 people in Baghdad. (Reporting by Ali al-Rubaie; Writing by Isabel Coles; Editing by Robin Pomeroy) ====================== Bombs kill 30 in Iraq Shi'ite cities Thu, Nov 29 06:39 AM EST 1 of 4 By Ali al-Rubaie HILLA, Iraq (Reuters) - Bombs in two majority Shi'ite Muslim cities in southern Iraq killed 28 people on Thursday, police and hospital sources said, in an attack aimed at spreading sectarian strife in the country. Scores more were wounded in the blasts, which struck during a month that is of special significance to Shi'ite Muslims, who are often targeted by al Qaeda's Iraqi affiliate and other Sunni Muslim insurgents. Nearly 2,000 people have been killed in Iraq so far this year following last December's withdrawl of U.S. troops, who had invaded in 2003 to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Although violence is far lower than during the sectarian slaughter of 2006-2007, insurgents have carried out at least one big attack a month this year, Tensions between Shi'ite, Kurdish and Sunni factions in Iraq's power-sharing government have been on the rise since the U.S. withdrawl. Rivals of Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki accuse him of trying to monopolize power. Iraqi officials are also now worried that Islamists may be gaining strength from the conflict in neighboring Syria, where Islamists have joined the ranks of rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad. Two explosions near a restaurant in the city of Hilla, 100 km (60 miles) south of Baghdad, killed 28 people, said Nabil Mohammed, the head of a hospital there. "We started to stop civilian cars asking them to take the wounded to hospital since there were not enough ambulances to transfer them," said 39-year-old Ihsan al-Khalidi, a schoolteacher who was near the scene of the explosions. Blood, shoes, body parts and wristwatches were scattered around the site of the blast and grieving women pounded their faces and chests, searching for relatives who might have been hurt. "Shame on the officials who are just sitting in their offices while explosions hit the city every day," Khalidi said. In the predominantly Shi'ite city of Kerbala, a car bomb near a bus terminal where pilgrims gather killed two people, a spokesman for the local health office said. Attacks tend to increase during the period when Shi'ites commemorate the death of the Prophet's grandson, Imam Hussein. On Tuesday, car bombs targeting Shi'ites in mourning processions killed 14 people in Baghdad. Shi'ites were not the only target on Thursday. In Falluja, a mainly Sunni city 50 km (32 miles) west of Baghdad, three people were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up in the midst of a group of soldiers who were gathering to get their pay from a state bank, police and health sources said. A roadside bomb also went off near a checkpoint in the northern city of Mosul, killed one policeman and one civilian, police said. (Additional reporting by Sufyan al-Mashhadani in Mosul, Aseel Kami in Baghdad, Kamal al-Ayash in Falluja; Writing by Isabel Coles; Editing by Angus MacSwan) الخميس 29 ت2 2012 امن العراق 10:05 الجبهة التركمانية تعتبر استضافة برلمان كردستان ... 09:53 النجيفي يؤجل جلسة اليوم إلى السبت بسبب المشادة بين ... 09:49 العراق يؤكد حرصه على تطوير العلاقات مع البحرين وفقاً ... 09:47 بابل تعلن الحداد العام على ضحايا تفجيرات اليوم 09:28 المالكي يوجه بإخلاء منزل خير الله طلفاح في تكريت وفتح ... 09:09 محافظة بابل تعلن مقتل وإصابة 155 شخصاً بتفجير الحلة ... محافظة بابل تعلن مقتل وإصابة 155 شخصاً بتفجير الحلة المزدوج المحرر: SS | AL الخميس 29 ت2 2012 09:09 GMT انفجار في بابل السومرية نيوز / بابل أعلن مستشار محافظ بابل، الخميس، أن حصيلة التفجير المزدوج في مدينة الحلة بلغت 135 شخصاً. وقال مستشار محافظ بابل للشؤون الأمنية، حسن فدعم، في حديث لـ"السومرية نيوز"، إن "التفجير المزوج الذي شهدته الحلة، اليوم، أسفر عن مقتل 35 شخصاً وإصابة 120 آخرين". وكانت دائرة صحة محافظة بابل أعلنت، اليوم الخميس، عن استلام مستشفياتها لـ 89 قتيلا وجريحا سقطوا بتفجير وسط الحلة المزدوج. يذكر أن محافظة بابل ومركزها مدينة الحلة، 100 كم جنوب العاصمة بغداد، تتمتع باستقرار نسبي إلا أن مناطق شمال المحافظة ما تزال تشهد حركة للمسلحين، الذين يقومون بين مدة وأخرى بأعمال عنف تستهدف المدنيين والقوات الأمنية على حد سواء.

Albania marks independence with giant cake and quarrels

Wed, Nov 28 17:43 PM EST (Incorporates earlier GREECE-ALBANIA/VISIT story) * By Benet Koleka TIRANA, Nov 28 (Reuters) - The foreign minister of neighbouring Greece boycotted festivities on Wednesday marking 100 years of Albania's independence after its prime minister hailed a town over the border as "Albanian lands". Reflecting the delicate nature of Balkan politics after the wars that split Yugoslavia, the president of Macedonia also stayed away after the car of his prime minister was hit with eggs and its flag burned in Tirana during a visit last week. Ethnic Albanians from across the region meanwhile celebrated in the national colours of red and black with a 14 tonne cake and bushy moustaches to honour the founding fathers. Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha's remarks were in a text he sent to a museum on Tuesday evening to mark the 100th anniversary of Albanian independence from Ottoman rule and honour the founder of modern Albania, Ismail Qemali. In the statement, he referred to "the Albania of all the Albanian lands from Preveza to Presevo, Skopje to Podgorica". Preveza is part of the northern Greek province of Epirus, where some ethnic Albanians lived before World War Two. Greece is Albania's second trading partner and its biggest foreign investor. Both countries are now NATO members Skopje is the capital of Macedonia and Podgorica the capital of Montenegro, both bordering Albania. Presevo is in southern Serbia close to the border with ethnic Albanian-majority Kosovo. "Such comments do not help in fostering a climate of friendship, trust and good-neighbourly relations between the two countries," the Greek Foreign Ministry said, adding Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos had scrapped his trip over the matter. Berisha's office sought to play down the spat, saying he was referring to the "historical context of a 100 years ago" and that did not "express any territorial claim to our neighbours in the south, north or east". Former foreign minister Paskal Milo, a historian, also sought to play down its impact, saying whoever heard Albanians celebrating should not misinterpret their comments. MOUSTACHES Nationalists in Greece and Albania had long made claims on their respective lands. But relations between the Balkan neighbours have significantly improved since they signed a friendship treaty in 1996. Last month, however, Greece had to apologise to Albania for placing its red flag depicting a black, double-headed eagle, upside down during a visit by its foreign minister to Athens. Albanians are by far the largest group of foreign workers in Greece - estimated at up to 800,000 in a country of 11 million people - and have been among the first to feel the hit from the deep Greek economic crisis. Hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo, Macedonia and Montenegro partied along with Albanians in the capital Tirana and the coastal town Vlore, where independence was declared. Some scooped chunks up of the giant cake with both hands and tossed pieces to friends and into the air. In Kosovo, some sported moustaches to mark the day. "I have grown my moustache to respect the men who declared independence in 1912 because most of them had moustache," said Kosovo Albanian Kreshnik Berisha in Pristina. The small Balkan country on the shores of the Adriatic turned into the battlefield for the belligerents of World War One and only began functioning as a state in the early 1920s. The self-proclaimed King Zog brought order and started reforms but also led the country into the influence of Italy and he fled shortly before the Italians occupied Albania during World War Two. Stalinist hardliner Enver Hoxha later established an isolationist communist rule for more than four decades until communism crumbled in 1990, causing an exodus of Albanians. (Additional reporting by Fatos Bytyci in Pristina and Karolina Tagaris in Athens; Editing by Alison Williams)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pakistan Govt Issues 35 O&G Exploration Licences

Pakistan Govt Issues 35 O&G Exploration Licences Daily Times (PK)|Sunday, November 25, 2012 pregnant, was it hard to tolerate pain To meet the ever-increasing gas demand of the country, the government has issued and signed 35 exploration licenses during the last four years, sources told Daily Times on Saturday. Currently, there are 133 exploration licenses for exploration of oil and gas operating in the country including the 35 issued during the tenure of current government. Apart from these licenses, the government has taken several measures to explore new reserves of natural gas in the country. The sources said total 100 exploratory wells were drilled during last four years period for exploration of oil and gas. As a result of these efforts, 39 oil/gas discoveries have been made which are under evaluation for reserve estimation. Efforts are being made to put these discoveries on production during the ongoing fiscal year 2012-2013. During the reported period, gas production has been enhanced from 3973 MMscfd (million standard cubic feet per day) to 4200 MMscfd. The Council of Common Interest (CCI) has approved 'Tight Gas (Exploration and Production) Policy, 2011' which offers 40-50 percent higher prices than the price announced in exploration and production policy 2009 to attract exploration companies to invest in tight gas fields. Tight Gas Reserves are estimated at 24 TCF. Initially 100-150 MMcfd would be added depending on its success rate. Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Policy, 2012 has been notified that gives additional incentives to the investors for exploration of oil and gas in Pakistan, the sources maintained. ECC has approved Low BTU Gas Pricing Policy, 2012 wherein additional incentives to the investors have been given for exploitation of untapped reservoirs. In offshore fourteen exploration licenses are operating. Presently the Nikko Resources has planned to drill one offshore well in the next weather window. The success of the well can prove a corridor for enhancement of exploration activities in the offshore area. Copyright 2012 Right Vision News All Rights Reserved

Target Killings continued in Karachi after ashoora

Three Mohajir Qaumi Movement activists shot dead in Karachi 336*280 KARACHI: Four people, three reportedly belonging to the Mohajir Qaumi Movement, were gunned down on Thursday in Mansehra Colony of Karachi, Express News reported. According to Express News correspondent Wasiq Muhammad, the deceased were on board a taxi, which stopped for refueling at a petrol pump near National Highway. Four unidentified gunmen on two motorcycles surrounded the car and opened fire on it. Two people died on the spot, while the other two were moved to Civil Hospital, where they succumbed to their injuries. The deceased were identified as Abdul Ali, Zafar and Qadir, while the taxi driver could not be identified. SSP Malir, Jam Darmani, said that the suspects had adorned police caps and were aged between 20 to 30 years. The police recovered about 15 shells fired from a 9mm from the site. According to the police, the party members were shot in the head, chest and arms. The police added that it was a planned attacked. Later during the day, a man identified as Dr Iqbal was shot dead along with a woman when he was passing through Sachal Goth in his car. Two other people were gunned down in the Baldia Town area taking the death toll of people killed in Karachi on Thursday to eight. Police has claimed to have arrested 25 suspects during several raids and recovered weapons from them. ========== AzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews #GILGIT: Kal 30/11 Ko Shia Students Nay KIU Me Y0m-e-Imam Hussain(asw) Manana Tha. Yazidion K Dabao Me Akar Adminstration Nay KIU Bandh Krdi Expand Reply Retweet Favorite More 3hAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews #ISLAMABAD: #DIKhan Ashura Blast K Zkhmi 30 Sala Jamil Husain S/O Aashiq Husain Of Basti Diwala PIMS Hospital Me SHAHEED,Body DIKhana Rawana Expand 4hAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews Final Timing! #karachi:Famly K Mutabiq SHAHEED Iqbal&Unki Wife Kaneez Fatima Ki N.Janaza Kal Bad Zohrain Incholi ImamBargah Me Ada Ki Jaegi Expand 5hAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews #karachi:SHAHEED Iqbal&UnKi Wife Kaniz Fatma Ki N.Jnaza Aj Rat 9:30Pm,SHAHEED Iqbal Ki Tadfin Khushab&Wife Ki Wadi_Husain Me Hogi rpt>sm.ali Expand 6hAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews #karachi:SHAHEED Iqbal Husain Kiran Hosptal Me Receptionist&Wife SHAHEEDA Kaneez Fatima Lab Technician Thi N.Janaza Kal Bad Zohrain Incholi Expand 7hAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews #Karachi: 5pm: SHAHEED Dr.Iqbal Hasan aur SHAHEED Dr.Kaneez Fatima Ki Bodies Juloos-e-Janaza Ki Shakal Me Incholi ImamBargah Shift Krdi Gai. Expand 9hAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews #Karachi:AbulHasan Ispahani Road Pr SSP Ki Clinic Pr Firing Shia Dr.Iqbal Hasan&UnKi Wife Dr.Kaneez Fatma Shaheed Body Abasi Shft rpt>sm.ali #Karachi: Masomia ImamBargah Gulbahar No2 K Trusty Mohsin Urf Mamu Ko SSP Ny Jama-e-Imamia K Qarib Firing Kr K SHAHEED Kr Dia Body @>Abbasi QUETTA: SHAHEED Haji Hussain Ali S/O Sultan Ali Ki N.Janaza Kal Subah 10 Bajy ImamBargah Wali Asr Jb K Tadfeen Behisht-e-Zainab(sua)Me Hogi Expand Reply Retweet Favorite More 25mAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews #Karachi: SHAHEED S.Hasan Mohsin Naqvi Ki Namz-e-Janaza Kal Bad_Zohrain Old Rizvia ImamBargah Me Ada Ki Jaegi Tadfeen Wadi-e-Hussain Me Hogi 3hAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews Ashra_Majalis 15-24,Muharram @>Aza Khana-e-Zehra sec:5-D,North #Karachi 10pm spk:Mol,S.Ahmed Iqbal Rzvi&S.M.ALi frm>ISO N.K UNIT rpt>Faiz ========== karachi: orangi Town Me SSP Ki Firing Sy M.Daraz S/O Ali Daraz SHAHEED Body Abbasi Sy Edhi Sard Khana Shift Ki Jarhi Hy. Body Punjab Jaegi. ======== karachi: Baldia Town Me Sipah-e-Yazeed Ki Firing Say Fazal Abbas ke sath unky Walid Ghulam Haider bhi SHAHEED Follow AzadarSnews&send 40404 FAISALABAD: #Karachi Me SHAHEED Honay Waly SHAHEED Ghulam Qadir&Un K Bety SHAHEED Fazal Abbas Ki N.Janaza&Tadfeen Aj 4pm #Kamalpur Me Hogi Karachi: Shahed Ghulam Qadir aur Shahed Fazal Abbas ki Namaz-e-Janaza AjRat 9:30pm Khurasan road par&Tadfeen Faisalabad Me Hogi rpt>Faizan ========== ============== Shah Faisal Colony Green Town Me sipah-e-yazeed K Dehshtgardo Ki Firing Say Riaz Hussain SHAHEED Jb K Mehdi Shah Zakhmi karachi:Shaheed Riaz Hussain Ki Body Masjid-e-Hur Green Town Shah Faisal Shift Jb K Zakhmi Mehdi Shah Ka Agha Khan Hospital Me Elaj Jari Hy karachi:SHAHEED Riaz Hussain Ki Body Sard Khana Saudabad Malir Shift. Namaz-e-Janaza Ka ailan Bad Me Kiya Jaega. facebook,com/AzadarSnews #karachi:SHAHEED Riaz Hussain Ki Namaz-e-Janaza Aj Bad Namaz-e-Zohrain Masjid-e-Hur Shah Faisal Green Town&Tadfeen Wadi-e-Husain Me Ada Hogi ============== #karachi: Shaheed-e-Millat Road Pr SSP Ki Firing Syed Mazhar Abbas Zaidi SHAHEED,14 Sala Beti Mehzar Shadid Zakhmi,Body Jinah Hospital Shift 12year old Mehzar Zehra injured by Talban In #Khi On Her Way To School Her Father was Martyred Why Media Silent?Bcoz She is Shia Not Malala Afia&Malala ki tashir k zarye pese kamanewala media ab chup q?kia mehzar qom ki beti nhi?in beshrmo ko shram dilany kelie khoob forwjrd karo - Zain Mehdi 12 Years Old Girl, 7th Grade Student Syeda Mehzar Zahra Shoot by Taliban on 30-11-12 (Friday) in karachi, in her Way to School, whose Father has Expired at the Spot due to Gun Shots. Why is Our Media Silent on this Event because the girl is not Malala Yusafzai..??? - Hassan Kazmi Khi, 30.Nov, 7th Grade Student 12 Year Old Mehzar Zehra student of Al Murtaza School, Targeted Shoot In Karachi On Her Way To School this Morning & admitted in the AKUH in serious condition, Her Father Also Assassinated with her, *Why Media is Now Silent? Because She is Not Malala* - Karachi violence: Live updates By Web Desk Published: December 3, 2012 Five cars, several tyres set on fire after madrassah students come out to protest killing. PHOTO: SCREENSHOT . KARACHI: Unidentified armed men opened fire on a religious leader belonging to Jamia Arabia Ahsanul Uloom on Abul Hassan Ispahani Road, Karachi, Express News reported on Monday. The leader died on the spot. Students of the madrassah came out on roads to protest against the killing. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… LIVE UPDATES ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 01:12 pm A blast was heard in the Federal B Area, Karachi, Express News reported. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 01:10 pm Express News correspondent Rehan Khan reported that situation has been brought under control in most of the affected areas. However, protesters are still present in the area around Gulshan Chowrangi. Rashid Minhas Road is still blocked and commuters are advised by traffic police to take alternate routes. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 12:35pm Funeral prayer for the deceased religious leader will be offered after Zuhr prayer. Police have arrested around 12 people involved in vandalism. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 12:15pm The body of the religious leader has been brought inside the madrassah for his final rites. Rangers have arrested ten people involved in looting activities. Residents of the area are stranded inside their houses as violence gripped the Gulshan-e-Iqbal Town. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 11:40am Protesters have damaged more than a dozen cars. Rashid Minhas Road, Abul Hassan Isphani Road and Main University Road are blocked and traffic is badly affected. Protesters want government to assure that killers of the dead religious leader will be arrested soon. Express News reports six people have been killed in different parts of the city in firing incidents. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 11:30am Law enforcement officers are struggling to bring the situation under control. Protesters have also attacked a wine shop. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 11:25am Areas in Gulshan-e-Iqbal affected by the protests include those around Gulshan Chowrangi, NIPA, Maskan Chowrangi, Moti Mehal and Disco Bakery. All business activities have come to a halt in the area because of the protest. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 11:00am Five cars and several tyres were set on fire. Public property was also destroyed, while a CNG station was attacked. The incident took place near a Rangers check post. Police and Rangers reached the area after the killing, started an operation and arrested at least seven protesters. Rashid Minhas Road is completely blocked because of the protest. ============ Home Connect Discover Me Search querySearch Settings and help Compose new Tweet AzadarSnews @AzadarSnews http://www.facebook.com/pages/AZADARSNEWS/218931624844265 islamabad · http://facebook.com/azadarsnews Following4,622 Tweets 1,952 Following 1,225 Followers Tweet to AzadarSnews Tweet text@AzadarSnews Image will appear as a link Tweets Following Followers Favorites Lists Similar to AzadarSnews [YAMMS]‏@yammsnews110Follow HussainiVoice‏@HussainiVoiceFollow Shaheed Askari Raza‏@ShaheedAskari14Follow © 2012 Twitter About Help Terms Privacy Blog Status Apps Resources Jobs Advertisers Businesses Media Developers Tweets 6hAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews Shaheed Dr.Kaneez Fatima &12 sala Mehzar Zehra Pr Hamly KeKhilaf Khawateen Ka Protest 8Dec(Saturday) @>Numaish mwm women wing #Khi rpt>Abbas Expand 6hAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews Ab Mazeed Na Marna Hoga Ab Dharna Hoga Srf Dharna Hoga 14Dec>M.A Jinah Road #karachi pr Kafon Posh Dharna All Shia Must Come rpt>ibraheem Expand 6hAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews Taliban Hamly me Zakhmi HoneWali #Mehzar Zehra ko apni dua me zarur Yad rakhyn,Allah Basadqa_shahzadi Sakina(sua)sehat-0-salmti ata farmaey Expand 14hAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews #Wazirstan Me Taliban Sy Jang Larty Hue Pak Army K Capt Iqrar Hydr Shaheed Hogae. Namaz-e-Janaza Imambargh Jafaria MalirCant #karachi M Hogi Expand 15hAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews Khamsa majalis 20-24mhrm,shabih_tabut<24mjls Masjid_Zain-ul-Abidin Nagan Chorngi #karachi spk:Molana Raza Hydr Rzvi Bad_Maghrabyn rpt>askari Expand 16hAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews Khamsa majalis 21-25mhrm @>ImamBargah shah_krbla Rzvia1 #karachi spk:Agha Ghlam Abbas Raesi 9pm frm>ISO,IO,MWM RIZVIA GULBAHAR UNT rpt>yahya Expand 17hAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews Rawalpindi: 6Mhrm Ko Juloos Me Dhamaky Sy Zakhmi HoneWaly Azhar Shah Aj Benazir Hospital Me Shaheed Hogae N.Jazana Aj 3pm Dhok Syeda Me Hogi Expand 5 DecAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews Shabe_Dua for>Sister Mehzar Zehra 6Dec @>Bhojani Hall soldier bazar #karachi 7PM Bro.Mubashir&Bro.Shuja will recite dua 4 L/Gents rpt>Abbas Expand 5 DecAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews Majlis_Aza>isal_swab>Zafr Ali s/o Ramz Ali 10am salam:Manzar abas Spk>Alama Asad Ali @>Vilage ZafrAli Taluka Tharimirwah #khairpur rpt>Manzr Expand 5 DecAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews New Karachi me IMAM-E-Masjid ko Kaladum jamat ki mukhbari krny pr Qatal kia gaya,Ahkamaat Waziristan sy aey dehshatgard Kashif k inkeshafat Expand 5 DecAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews Ana Ho Jisy Sar Py Kafan Bandh K Aae, Maidan-e-Shahadat Hy Azadari-e-SHABBEER(asw) SALAM YA HUSAIN(asw) >Type:FOLLOW AzadarSnews send 40404 Expand 5 DecAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews Req frm>S.mohammad>iltemas_sure_fateha barae_esal_sawab>Rashida Khanam D/o Ibraheem Hussain&All marhum mominin&shohda-e-millat-e-jaffarya Expand 5 DecAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews Message from>Jawwad raza> Urgently require donor of blood group B(-ve) contact sarosh raza 03002578911 Expand 5 DecAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews #karachi: #Sipah-e-Sahaba k #terrorist Kashif jo Paish IMAM k Qatl me griftar hua,uski ki rehai kelie #terrorists police station pr hangama Expand 5 DecAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews #Khi:#Sunni #Deobandi #AhleHadis #Ulma k Qatil #Sipah-e-Sahaba k terrorist #Kashif New Karachi m Molvi Shakur ko Qatl k bd grftar rpt>sm.Ali Expand 5 DecAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews #Karachi:AhleSunat Molvi Ahsan k Qatal me #Sipah-e-Sahaba ka #terrorists #Kashifullah moqyy sy Girftar #Sunni #Ulma k Qatil #SSP waly hi hyn Expand 5 DecAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews P2/2> Arrest kar lia tha aj Allama mirza yousuf hussain sahab ki koshishon say rehai amal mein agai hai report by>danish abdi Expand 5 DecAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews P1/2 #Karachi Alert: All Pakistan Shia Action Comety S.Abu Hassan Hashmi shah faisal k rehaishi jinko kal ranger ny un k office gulshn say Expand Reply Retweet Favorite More 5 DecAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews majlis-e-aza Tonight bad namaz-e- maghribain @>jama masjid haidry 10,number orangi town #karachi spk>Allama sadiq jafry rpt>Nomi Zaidi Expand 5 DecAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews Majlis&juloos_Shahadat_MauLa Sajjad(asw) 24mhram bad_namaz_maghrbyn spk>Gazanfar abas @>imambargh darbar sakhi shah #Rawalpindi rpt>Ali shah Expand 5 DecAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews #Karachi: Tariq Road Pr SSP Ki Firing Sy Shia Jawan Tanveer Bangash Shaheed Shaheed Pr Pehly B Hamla Hochuka Hy. Body Fatmiya Numaish Shift Expand 5 DecAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews Majlis_tarhim>shaheed>Zakir>Aftab hydr jafry bad_mghrbyn 6dec imambargah darbar husaini Malir #karachi spk:Allama dr.Kalb_sadiq rpt>faizan Expand 5 DecAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews #Karachi: Shaheed Tanveer Bangash ki Namaz-e-Janaz Aaj 5pm Numaish Chowrangi par ho gi. Shaheed Anjuman-e-Sadeqan-e-Bangash kay member thay Expand 5 DecAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews Qadeemi julus_Shahadat_MauLa Sajjad(asw)&shabih_taboot 25,muharram subah:11am @>imambargah jafarya Thari mirwa #khairpur rpt>manzar Expand 4 DecAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews Hum tamam shia,sunni muslim biradran say guzarish karty hain key Yazidiat ka numainda News paper daily Ummat ka bilkul bycot karain, plz Fwd Expand 4 DecAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews #Lahore: Molana Ghulam Raza Naqvi Case Ki Samaat Aaj Phir Nahi Hui. >Zakhmi Senior Wakeel Abid Masood Naqvi K Liye Dua-e-Sehat Ki Appeal. Expand 4 DecAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews #Quetta: Askari Park k Qareeb sipah-e-yazeed ki firing say Ashfaq Hussain Shaheed,Jabkey Police Constable Altaf Husain Zakhmi, CMH Shift Expand 4 DecAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews #Karachi:Shaheed Kashif Imam Zaidi S/O Mohd Zaidi Ki Namaz-e-Janaza Kal Bad_Namaz_Zoharyn Rzvia1 Me Ada Ki JaeGi Tadfeen Wadi Husain Me hogi Expand 4 DecAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews #Khairpur: Talka Thari Mir Wah Ke Wareeb Yazidiyon Ne Dargah Peer Musafar Pe Nasb Alam E Pak Ko Shaheed Krdya. Police Ka FIR Katne Se Inkar. Expand 4 DecAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews Salana Majlis_Aza Tonight 8pm Sec:4\A,L729 Surjani twon #khi Salam:Arsalan hyder spk:Allam kamran hyder abdi frm>intzar husain>03333343291 Expand 4 DecAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews #karachi:2 Months Pehly Gulbahar Thany K Pas Firing Sy Zakhmi HoneWaly Kashif Imam Agha Khan Hsptl Me Zakmo Ki Tab Na Laty Hue SHAHEED Hogae Expand 4 DecAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews Milta Nhi Agr Tujhy Tqder Se, Ja Krbla r Maangly Shabbir(asw) Se, Ye Dunya Waly Tujhy Kia Dengy AZADAR, Ye Sab Faqir Hn Dar-e-Shabbir(asw) K Expand 4 DecAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews #Tehran: #Iran Nay Americi Drone Tayara Apne Qabzay Main Lay Liya, Tayara Irani Samandari Hadood Me Parwaaz Kar Raha Tha,International Media Expand 3 DecAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews Sipah-e-sahaba ek peshawr qatil,dahshtgrd,daket&luteron ki tnzim hai,GOVT un sy nrmi brt kr mulk k halat begar rhi he. Aijaz jafri #Larkana Expand 3 DecAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews #LAHORE: Fareed Court Road Pr Punjab Govt Ki Wing Punjabi Taliban Ki Firing Se Advocate Abid Mehsood Naqvi Shadeed Zakhmi. Move Meo Hospital Expand 3 DecAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews #Larkana>Alam ki behurmti k mana krnepar sipah_yzid ki firng sy bachi smit 2afrad shaheed,SUC rehnma k bhai&kzn zkhmi,CMC Hsp shift rpt>Ejaz Expand 3 DecAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews Sion Pr Golian BarsaneWali Rangers Ab Khamosh Q? #karachi>SSP K Dehsht Gardon Ka Gulshan Me Jalao Gherao Awaam Pr Firing 6 Buses Jala Di, Expand 3 DecAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews #karachi: Ahtejaj ki Ar me kaladam sipah-e-sahaba k ghundo ny Gulshan_Iqbal me 5,garian jala di,Shops me loot maar,kai shops jala di gai, Expand 3 DecAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews #DeraIsmailKhan: Ashura Blast k zkhmi Hasnain(Dawar) S/o Gh.Husain Nishter hospital me shaheed hogae, Namz_Janaza Aj 12.30PM Chah S.Munawar Expand 2 DecAzadarSnews‏@AzadarSnews #karachi:Mehzar Zehra D/O SHAHEED Nazar Abbas KeLie Dua-e-Sehat Ki Guzarish Hy,30/11 Ko Zakhmi Hui Theen&Is Waqt Aga Khan K ICU Me Admit Hyn Expand -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Authorities struggle to contain protests at Myanmar mine

Authorities struggle to contain protests at Myanmar mine Fri, Sep 07 07:59 AM EDT By Aung Hla Tun YANGON, Sept 7 (Reuters) - The Monywa copper mine in Myanmar's rugged northwest Sagaing region should symbolise all the opportunities of a resource-rich country emerging from nearly half a century of military misrule. Instead, as thousands of villagers protest against the mine in a rare standoff with authorities, Monywa is a vivid reminder of the festering problems that have long overshadowed Myanmar's promise - from questions over rights abuses to the opaque dealings of the financially powerful military. On Thursday, security forces confronted demonstrators armed with sticks and knives at the mine, a day after about 5,000 villagers protested over what they say is the unlawful seizure of thousands of acres of land to make way for a $1 billion expansion of the Chinese-run project. Its backers, the military-owned Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd (UMEHL), operated with impunity for decades. Now, emboldened by reforms, villagers are pushing back and testing the limits of newfound freedoms, including a relaxation of laws on public protests. The dispute has halted work at the mine run by a unit of China North Industries Corp, a leading Chinese weapons manufacturer, which signed a cooperation pact with the government of Myanmar in June 2010 to develop the project after Canada's Ivanhoe Mines Ltd pulled out in 2007. Win Cho, a Yangon-based activist, said the authorities detained one organiser of the protests and were searching for seven others in Sayhte village, about 750 km (465 miles) north of the commercial capital, Yangon. "The police on Thursday night tried to raid Sayhte village in their hunt for the remaining seven activists but they gave up after villagers pushed back," he said. Police, some armed with rifles, faced down hundreds of angry protesters on an area of disputed land, according to video shot on Thursday by the Democratic Voice of Burma, a Norway-based media group run by exiles. The footage showed police advancing towards the protesters, beating their truncheons against their shields. There was no violence. But two officers carried what appeared to be a crate of ammunition. The protesters carried signs, one of which read: "This land belongs to the village. No trespassing." Others burned paper coffins bearing the mining company's name, while the crowd cheered. The Myanmar Times newspaper said the protest had delayed the start of a planned expansion aimed at raising capacity from 30,000 tonnes a year to about 100,000, although analysts said this would hardly affect Chinese buyers. "Most of that will be going to China," said London-based Deutsche Bank analyst Daniel Brebner. "But 30,000-100,000 tonnes is not a lot of metal, so it's not going to impact balances within the copper market." "VERY TENSE" The 2010 deal with China North Industries, or Norinco, was heralded at the time as a sign of Myanmar's embrace of its powerful northern neighbour and of China's insatiable hunger for natural resource to fuel an industrial boom. But since Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao signed the pact during a 2010 visit Myanmar has seen dramatic changes - from the freeing of hundreds of dissidents to peace talks with ethnic rebels, a loosening of media censorship and signs of pulling back from the powerful economic and political orbit of Beijing. Western business executives have swarmed into Yangon in recent months to hunt for opportunities after Washington and the European Union eased sanctions this year on the country of 60 million people, one of the last frontier markets in Asia. "Is Myanmar an important country for minerals supply? Not at this moment. But certainly there's a lot of potential as the country is becoming more friendly to investment," said Brebner at Deutsche Bank. But the protests at Monywa underscore the potential pitfalls of those investments, even after the military handed power to a quasi-civilian government last year. Villagers claim more than 7,800 acres (3,160 hectares) of farmland - encompassing more than two dozen small mountains - were unlawfully confiscated for the project, an echo of complaints by farmers around the country in recent weeks. Local sources contacted by Reuters said four of 26 villages at the project site were completely displaced, along with monasteries and schools. "The situation is very tense. Authorities are hunting for the activists while the company has not taken enough measures to remedy the losses," added Win Cho, the activist in Yangon. Officials at the local operator of the mine, Myanmar Wanbao Mining Copper Company Limited, were not immediately available. The mine has had a chequered history. Ivanhoe Mines severed financial ties to the mine in 2007 amid criticism of companies dealing with the former military junta. It began trying to sell its 50 percent stake in 2004, and transferred the holding to an independent trust as a condition of a strategic partnership with Rio Tinto Plc . A U.S. diplomatic cable, dated June 27, 2006, and released by Wikileaks, showed the difficulties Ivanhoe faced at the mine. "Despite the high world price for copper, the over 99 percent purity of the product coming from the mine, and the desire of Ivanhoe to boost production from 39,000 to 200,000 tons annually, (Myanmar government) inefficiencies resulted in reduced production in 2005-06 and a short closure of the mine." The cable added that Ivanhoe's Myanmar partners never received approval from senior officials to pursue an expansion. Other problems included "inefficient import processes, power shortages and banking difficulties", the cable said.

BP suspended from new U.S. government contracts

BP suspended from new U.S. government contracts Wed, Nov 28 09:32 AM EST WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The British oil company BP Plc and its affiliates have been suspended from new contracts with the U.S. government due to the criminal charges in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Wednesday. Earlier this month, BP plead guilty to criminal misconduct in the Gulf of Mexico disaster, the worst oil spill in U.S. history, and agreed to pay record penalties of $4.5 billion. The temporary contract suspension stems from those charges, the EPA said. "Federal executive branch agencies take these actions to ensure the integrity of federal programs by conducting business only with responsible individuals or companies. Suspensions are a standard practice when a responsibility question is raised by action in a criminal case," the EPA said in a statement. In London, BP had no immediate comment. The company recognized the risk that it could be banned from U.S. government contracts when it agreed earlier this month to plead guilty to criminal charges over the spill, but it said at the time that it had not received any indication that government departments would go ahead with such a ban. (Reporting By Jonathan Leff and Karey Wutkowski; additional reporting by Andrew Callus in London and Roberta Rampton in Washington; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and John Wallace)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Profile of Shehla Raza

Profile of Shehla Raza Shehla Raza is a Pakistan People's Party politician, currently deputy speaker in the Sindh Assembly.[1] She was born on May 15, 1964 at Karachi.[2] By Qazi Asif KARACHI: Prior to her unopposed election Sunday as the deputy speaker of the ninth Sindh Assembly, 42-year-old Shehla Raza was mostly recognized for a tragedy that shocked Karachi. She lost both of her children, 13-year-old Aks-e-Batool and 11-year-old Shayan Ahmed, in a horrific car accident in 2005. Raza’s political career began with the Peoples Students Federation (PSF) at the University of Karachi in 1986. She became the PSF girls wing joint secretary at KU and worked at KU and other colleges till 1988 when she was elected the joint secretary of the PPP ladies wing Karachi. After the end of the PPP government, she was arrested on December 27, 1990 on the allegations of a double murder and possession of illegal arms. She was kept at the CIA centre in Karachi for 24 days where she was tortured. Since has been imprisoned for a total of four months and fifteen days in several jails. Raza married in 1991 and her daughter was born a year later and her son in 1994. After 1997, her husband Ghulam Qadir was transferred to Islamabad and she continued her political work in Wah Cantt and Rawalpindi. She was back in Karachi in 2000 and by 2005 became the general secretary of the PPP ladies wing Karachi division. The same year, her children died in an accident. Raza comes from a middle class family and she lives in Gulistan-e-Jauhar.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sky City: China to erect world's tallest tower in 3 months, building 5 stories a day

Get short URL email story to a friendprint version Published: 25 November, 2012, 19:00 TAGS: Asia, Architecture Proposed 220 floor Sky city (image from Wikipedia) China has embraced the challenge of putting up the world's tallest building in only 90 days. The 838-meter skyscraper, dubbed Sky City, is set to house 17,400 people as well as a hotel, a hospital, several schools, offices and apartments. ­Construction workers from the Broad Sustainable Building company are expected to build at a rate if five stories a day to meet the deadline. To speed the process up, they will reportedly use the 'prefabrication' technique in which blocks of the building are constructed offsite and then pieced together. The skyscraper, located in Hunan Province's capital Changsha, will feature over 100 high-speed elevators, and is expected to be able to withstand a magnitude 9.0 earthquake. When completed, the building will be 10 meters taller than the Dubai landmark Burj Khalifa, the world's current tallest building, which took five years to build. China's Sky City is set to cost half as much as the Burj – about $630 million. China-based Broad Sustainable Building will employ several thousand workers for the ambitious project. The company has already built 16 structures in China, including a 30-story hotel constructed in 15 days. =============== Analysis: "Caveat emptor" as foreigners rush to ride China rebound Sun, Nov 25 20:33 PM EST 1 of 3 By Vikram Subhedar HONG KONG (Reuters) - Foreign investors have started rebuilding their China equity portfolios, tempted by low valuations after two years of market underperformance and signs economic growth may be stabilizing. They have pumped nearly $4 billion into Chinese equity funds in the past two months alone, trying to get in early on what they hope will be a sustained rally. But sentiment looks to be running ahead of fundamentals. There are clear risk signals for the Chinese market -- including sluggish earnings, rising corporate debt and retail investors looking for other opportunities -- even if the broader economy gathers strength. "Valuations are attractive and fears of a major slowdown in China seem to be waning, while China still promises growth faster than the rest of the world," says Paul Gillis, professor at Peking University's Guanghua School of Management. "But most of the problems affecting Chinese stocks -- accounting fraud, the variable interest entity and regulatory stand-offs between the U.S. and China -- have not gone away and still need to be solved." Illustrating that growth does not translate into equity gains, the MSCI China stock index has fallen more than 40 percent since its launch in 1992. Over the same period, China's nominal GDP has increased by 15 times. REBALANCING The shift in foreign investor attitudes is clear. Bank of America Merrill Lynch's global survey of fund managers, covering 248 managers with $695 billion of assets under management, found confidence in China's economy was at a three-year high. In October, Chinese shares listed in Hong Kong, known as H-shares and the main gateway for foreign investors into China, jumped 7.6 percent to easily outpace other regional benchmarks. "I think most fund managers are looking at the fundamental mismatch in their portfolio between their direct exposure to China and the role China plays in the global economy, often very little versus one hell of a lot," said Michael McCormack, executive director at China-focused fund consulting firm Z-Ben Advisors. "Investors are now trying to rebalance that." One attraction is valuations. The MSCI China index, the most popular benchmark for China funds, has consistently underperformed Asian markets over the past two years, following a stellar run where it nearly tripled in value between October 2008 and November 2010. The index trades on a forward price-to-earnings multiple of 9.2, cheaper than Brazil on 9.9 and India on 13.2, and a lure to investors hoping to get in early on another substantial upswing. The H shares are at price-to-book ratios around four times lower than in 2007, according to Thomson Reuters data. Those valuations and signs the economy is improving -- Thursday's flash PMI reading showed the first expansion in manufacturing in 13 months -- have piqued interest, and it seems investors are worried about missing out on riding the recovery. Data from fund-flow tracker EPFR Global shows inflows into China equity funds accounted closed in on $4 billion over the 10 weeks to mid-November, and accounted for more than half of the flows in Asia ex-Japan funds in the week to November 15. " has bottomed out and found a new level, so people don't want to be negative about China anymore," said Stuart Rae, chief investment officer of Pacific Basin Value Equities at AllianceBernstein. The company's $879 million Asia ex-Japan fund, launched in November 2009, is now overweight China for the first time, said Rae, who also manages its US$150 million QFII China fund. PICK CAREFULLY As Beijing's new leadership settles in, the stock market's fundamentals are back in focus and they could make the recent enthusiasm seem premature, said Simon Grose-Hodge, head of investment advisory for South Asia at private bank LGT. For one, there is unlikely to be a repeat of anything remotely like the 4 trillion yuan ($640 billion) stimulus package that guided the Chinese economy through the 2008/09 global financial crisis. Instead, there may be smaller, more targeted spending plans that don't make cheap credit available across the board. And longstanding issues for investors, such as transparency, reform of state-backed companies, corporate governance and regulator interference in the market, have yet to be properly addressed despite some positive noises from authorities. So while the H-shares in Hong Kong are showing signs of life, China's domestic stock markets are languishing near three-year lows and on the nose with retail investors. Two-thirds of Chinese companies that have posted third-quarter earnings missed expectations, according to Citi Private Bank. Profits fell an annual 5.8 percent, and analysts, on average, are still cutting earnings expectations for next year. Leverage has soared above comfortable levels, with Beijing-based consultancy GaveKal-Draganomics expecting corporate debt to hit 122 percent of GDP by the end of the year, up from 108 percent at end-2011. Rising non-performing loans (NPLs) pose a risk for the banks, a hangover from cheap credit as part of the 2008/09 stimulus. Goldman Sachs & Co estimates the NPL ratio is more than six times the official reported rate of 0.97 percent. Further, China's industrials were owed more than 8 trillion yuan in net receivables at the end of September, up 16.5 percent from a year earlier, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. HSBC says the annual pace of profit growth of non-financial companies in the CSI 300, which tracks the performance of China's A-share market, has been falling for the last three quarters, while the quality of earnings -- measured as the ratio of free cash flow to net profit -- is in negative territory. The CSI300 is down 7 percent this year, following a 25 percent drop in 2011 and a 12.5 percent fall in 2010. "Five years back in 2007 the (Chinese) market was one of the most expensive and now it's cheap on a par with Korea -- it's one of the cheapest markets in Asia," said Pacific Basin's Rae. "There is lots of stuff that's cheap -- some has recovery potential but then some is cheap for a reason." ($1 = 6.2345 Chinese yuan) (Additional reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by John Mair) =======================

What Oil Companies Do With Their $375 Million a Day Profits

By Rebecca Leber, ThinkProgress 26 July 12 he Big Five oil companies – BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Shell – are slated to announce their 2012 second-quarter profits later this week. We can expect these companies, all of which rank in the top 10 of the “Fortune 500 Global Ranking,” to reveal billions of dollars more in profits, after earning $375 million in profits per day in 2011 ($261,000 per minute), and $368 million per day in the first three-months of 2012 — bringing their combined profits to $1 trillion from 2001 through 2011. Below is a quick look at just how much these Big Oil companies are making, and where they are spending their billions in profits. Big Oil’s Big Profits, In 24 Hours •The five biggest oil companies earned a combined profit of $375 million per day, or a record $137 billion profit for the year, in 2011, despite reducing their oil production. •In 60 seconds, these five companies earned $261,000 — more than 96 percent of American households make in one year. •These five oil companies received $6.6 million in federal tax breaks every day. •In 2011, the three largest domestic public oil companies spent $100 million of their profits each day, or over 50 percent, buying back their own stock to enrich their board, senior managers, and largest share holders. •The entire oil and gas industry spent on average $400,000 each day lobbying senators and representatives to weaken public health safeguards and keep big oil tax breaks, totaling nearly $150 million. •Each CEO of the Big Five companies received an average of $60,110 in compensation per day last year. On average, their pay jumped 55 percent in 2011. Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson’s compensation came close to $100,000 per day last year. Millions in Political Contributions and Lobbying •Despite ranking as some of the most successful companies in the world, big oil and gas companies continue to receive $4 billion in tax breaks each year. •The oil and gas industry has already given over $30.5 million in federal campaign contributions this year, with a whopping 88 percent going to Republicans. •Big Oil has spent an additional $37 million on lobbying Congress this year, with the top spenders being Exxon, Shell, Chevron, Koch Industries and BP. •Their efforts are paying off. This is the most anti-environment Congress in history, with the House of Representatives averaging one anti-environment vote per day, or a total 247 votes through mid-June. The biggest beneficiary of these votes has been Big Oil. The House voted to enrich the oil and gas industry 109 times, a total 44 percent of its anti-environment votes. •The House is on track to collect a record amount of oil industry contributions this cycle, having already reached 2008 and 2010 levels. And these are direct donations only — it does not include Super PAC spending or other campaign assistance. Outside Interests and Big Oil Allies Spending Tens of Millions More to Influence the Energy Debate •Fueled by Koch Industries and other Big Oil interests, the industry is spending hundreds of millions to fund false ads in this year’s elections. According to the Annenberg Public Policy Center, 85 percent of the dollars have funded false ad, during a season where most advertising have focused on energy. •Pro-Romney outside interest groups spent $24.6 million on energy ads through June 24, according to Kantar Media CMAG data. This is more than ten-times the amount spent by pro-Obama groups, which spent $2.3 million on energy spots. •American Energy Alliance, Americans for Prosperity, American Future Fund, and Crossroads GPS – the top outside pro-oil and pro-Romney interest group spenders – have spent a total $24.9 million on deceptive ads, many of them energy-related, according to the Annenberg Public Policy Center. •Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity has devoted more than 90 percent of its ad spending to energy ads. Two of the Americans for Prosperity ads pushed patently false claims — roundly debunked by fact checkers — that the stimulus funded jobs overseas. •Fact checkers have thoroughly debunked these anti-clean energy ads. Both Politifact and the Washington Post Fact Checker have given the ad their worst ratings of “pants on fire” and four Pinocchios, respectively. Politifact found all three examples used to be false, with the ad stringing together “alarming” soundbites that are “ultimately ridiculous.” Comments We are concerned about a recent drift towards vitriol in the RSN Reader comments section. There is a fine line between moderation and censorship. No one likes a harsh or confrontational forum atmosphere. At the same time everyone wants to be able to express themselves freely. We'll start by encouraging good judgment. If that doesn't work we'll have to ramp up the moderation. General guidelines: Avoid personal attacks on other forum members; Avoid remarks that are ethnically derogatory; Do not advocate violence, or any illegal activity. Remember that making the world better begins with responsible action. - The RSN Team +5 # Adoregon 2012-07-26 08:22 All the money in the world won't save these rapacious solipsists (hey, solipsists sounds better than calling them deranged fu*ks) and their children from the ecological collapse their actions are responsible for bringing about. +5 # JSRaleigh 2012-07-26 09:02 Quoting Adoregon: All the money in the world won't save these rapacious solipsists (hey, solipsists sounds better than calling them deranged fu*ks) and their children from the ecological collapse their actions are responsible for bringing about. I don't care anything about saving them or their children. I care about what they're doing to my family. +7 # reiverpacific 2012-07-26 08:38 They can't breath or eat their money and may yet choke on their lobbyist maintained lies -or are they building big McMansions in floating bubbles so they can watch the rest of us drown and/or suffocate? The planet has many tricks up it's sleeve and will hit back; already is in fact. Yet the damage marches on and we destroy ourselves, as the natives of this continent predicted. Let them eat tar-sands. +2 # paulrevere 2012-07-26 08:51 Add to all those number manipulations the costs of environmental remediation and health afflictions born by WETHEPEOPLE and these cretins are true vampires on the fiscal jugular of OUR treasury. +4 # Billy Bob 2012-07-26 09:52 The oil industry is using a lot of that money to undermine efforts to fix the environmental devastation they are creating. In another thread one of the right-wing commenters asked, in effect, "how much money was changing hands to 'support the green industry' ". It's not an exact quote, but that was the meaning of the remark. It doesn't deserve an exact quote anyway. Disingenuous arguments by the far right are just as pursuasive as the truth. That fact, alone, is the biggest threat to our ability to actually fix this and the global warming that is taking place as we speak. +8 # The Voice of Reason 2012-07-26 10:30 Well, someone FINALLY writes to complain about the porcine wealth of the Oil Companies and the politicians they own. What's the sudden rush? They have been ripping off the general public for 60 years or more without a complaint (as in 'shouldn't we be paying more for gas?) by selling us a product we don't need (fuel) and designing vehicles that waste this worthless fuel to guarantee their enormous riches. How do we not see this? and for so many, many decades. Until we demand an end to fuel based economies (or sucker economies) and the politicians who support them, we are indeed the suckers who pay for our own poverty. +3 # jwb110 2012-07-26 10:56 You can bet with the 6.6 million dollars in tax breaks that that us the first money to go into the Citizens United pot. So in effect the American Public is beng MADE to contribute to candidates that they may oppose. If this isn't a conflict of interest I don't know what is. +5 # thinkchip 2012-07-26 12:29 Let's not forget it's the deranged fu*ks in government that protect the people in these corporations from facing the consequences of their actions. I'm no fan of corporate oil goons, but what do government people do with the profits from their racket? Imprison millions of innocent people here and abroad, turn middle Eastern children into red mist, pad their own nests, etc. More powerful, better funded government is not the answer to this problem. No longer tolerating exploitation, fraud, theft, and violence wherever it's found is (even under the guise of government). Oh, and raising our children peacefully and respectfully so they never even consider submitting to or allowing this kind of crap. That's the real solution. -4 # Howard T. Lewis III 2012-07-26 13:35 B-A-A-A-A-A-A!! ! +1 # Howard T. Lewis III 2012-07-26 13:37 We are outnumbered by self-involved sheeple. A good overthrow would take care of these suckers just like the crooked bankers and pedophiles of the Bush cabal and various churches with their broad spectrum affronts to humanity. 0 # The Voice of Reason 2012-07-26 18:28 Wheeeeeee! The federal wrist slappers are coming!! 0 # geonomist 2012-08-08 17:25 Most people notice only the size of oil profit, not the kind. Oil companies do earn some money from extraction, transporting, refining, and retailing, but they reap their biggest harvest merely from the value of oil in the ground. Norway charges 80% of the world price to extract their oil yet oil companies still pay it because the other 20% is rewarding enough. Imagine if every government had the guts of Norway; oil companies would be about one fifth their current size and the public treasury that much richer. We could pay ourselves a dividend, invest in alternatives, have time to enjoy life. Let's act! ================== Deputy oil minister: 6 mln liters of gas oil is being smuggled from Iran daily 26 November 2012, 11:38 (GMT+04:00) About 6 million liters of gas oil is being smuggled from Iran each day, deputy oil minister said on Sunday. The prices of fuels in neighboring countries are 7 or 8 times higher than Iran, so smuggling gasoline and gas oil has created a great market for the smugglers, the ISNA news agency quoted Alireza Zeyqami as saying. "Iran needs to increase the price of fuels in order to prevent smuggling," Zeyqami said. Considering the official reference rate of 12,260 rials to the US dollar, the real price of gasoline in Iran is 10,000 rials (about 82 U.S. cents). Currently gasoline is sold at two prices: a 60-liter monthly allowance at 4000 rials (33 cents) per liter, and any amount above that at 7000 rials (57 cents) per liter. Last year the International Monetary Fund commended the Iranian government for the subsidy reform policy, which it said had led to a reduction in fuel consumption. ==================== U.S. judge approves settlement in BP class action suit Fri, Dec 21 21:11 PM EST * Settles claims for economic losses and property damage * Does not cover separate medical benefits settlement * BP expects to pay $7.8 billion to settle class action claims By Terry Baynes Dec 21 (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Friday gave final approval to BP Plc's settlement with individuals and businesses who lost money and property in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The order only addressed the settlement of economic and property damage claims, not a separate medical benefits settlement for cleanup workers and others who say the spill made them sick. BP has estimated that it will pay $7.8 billion to settle more than 100,000 claims in the class action litigation. U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier initially approved the deal in May, but held a "fairness hearing" in November to weigh objections from about 13,000 claimants challenging the settlement to resolve some of BP's liability for the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. London-based BP's Macondo well spewed 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico over a period of 87 days. The torrent fouled shorelines from Texas to Alabama and eclipsed the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska in severity. Lawyers for some affected parties had objected to the deal, reached in March between BP and lawyers representing plaintiffs ranging from restaurateurs, hoteliers, and oyster men who lost money from the spill. They argued that some claimants would be underpaid or unfairly excluded. But in a 125-page order approving the settlement, Barbier called the deal "fair, reasonable and adequate," citing the low number of class members who objected or opted out. BP welcomed the approval order in a statement, adding that the settlement resolves the majority of economic and property damage claims stemming from the accident. "Today's decision by the Court is another important step forward for BP in meeting its commitment to economic and environmental restoration efforts in the Gulf and in eliminating legal risk facing the company," BP said. Separate from the class action claims, BP has been locked in a year-long legal battle with the U.S. government and Gulf Coast states to settle billions of dollars in civil and criminal liability from the explosion. In a settlement with the U.S. government announced last month, BP agreed to pay $4.5 billion in penalties and plead guilty to felony misconduct. The government also indicted the two highest-ranking BP supervisors aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig during the disaster, charging them with 23 criminal counts including manslaughter. The class action case is In Re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig "Deepwater Horizon" in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, No. 10-2179. ==============

Syrian rebels take airbase in slow progress toward Damascus

Syrian rebels take airbase in slow progress toward Damascus Sun, Nov 25 10:52 AM EST 1 of 4 By Khaled Yacoub Oweis AMMAN (Reuters) - Syrian rebels said on Sunday they had captured a helicopter base east of Damascus after an overnight assault, their latest gain in a costly battle to unseat President Bashar al-Assad that is drawing nearer to his seat of power. The Marj al-Sultan base, 15 km (10 miles) from the capital, is the second military facility on the outskirts of the city reported to have fallen to Assad's opponents this month. Activists said rebels had destroyed two helicopters and taken 15 prisoners. "We are coming for you Bashar," a rebel shouted in an internet video of what activists said was Marj al-Sultan. Restrictions on non-state media meant it could not be verified. The rebels have been firming their hold on farmland and urban centers to the east and northeast of Damascus while a major battle has been underway for a week in the suburb of Daraya near the main highway south. "We are seeing the starting signs of a rebel siege of Damascus," veteran opposition campaigner Fawaz Tello said from Berlin. "Marj al-Sultan is very near to the Damascus Airport road and to the airport itself. The rebels appear to be heading toward cutting this as well as the main northern artery to Aleppo." Assad's core forces, drawn mainly from his minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam that has dominated power in Syria for nearly five decades, are entrenched in the capital. They also have devastating air superiority although they have failed to prevent rebels increasing their presence on the edge of the capital and in neighborhoods on the periphery. A Western diplomat following the fighting said Assad still had the upper hand. "The army will allow positions to fall here and there, but it can still easily muster the strength to drive back the rebels where it sees a danger," the diplomat said. "The rebels are very short of international support and they do not have the supplies to keep up a sustained fight, especially in Damascus." IRAN CONDEMNS PATRIOT PLAN Iran said Turkey's request to NATO to deploy Patriot defensive missiles near its border with Syria would add to problems in the region, where Iran is pitted against mostly Sunni Turkey and Gulf Sunni powers. Iran's Shi'ite rulers have stepped up support for Assad while Sunni Arab powers helped forge a new opposition coalition this month recognized by France and Britain as the sole representative of the Syrians. Syria has called the missile request "provocative", seeing it as a first step toward a no-fly zone over Syrian airspace which the opposition is seeking to help them hold territory against an enemy with overwhelming firepower from the air. Most foreign powers are reluctant to go that far. NATO has said the possible deployment of the missiles was purely defensive. The U.S.-led Western alliance has had some talks on the request but has yet to take a decision. Turkey fears security on its border may crumble as the Syrian army fights harder against the rebels, some of whom have enjoyed sanctuary in Turkey in their 20-month-old revolt against Assad's rule. Ankara has scrambled fighter jets and returned fire after stray Syrian shells and mortar bombs from heavy fighting along the border landed in its territory. More than 120,000 Syrian refugees are sheltering in camps in southern Turkey and more are expected with winter setting in and millions of people estimated to be short of food inside Syria. Abu Mussab, a rebel operative in the area of Hajar al-Aswad in south Damascus, said the opposition fighters had given up expecting a no-fly zone. "The bet is now on better organization and tactics," he said. The video said by activists to have been filmed at the Marj al-Sultan base showed rebel fighters carrying AK-47 rifles. An anti-aircraft gun was positioned on top of an empty bunker and a rebel commander from the Ansar al-Islam, a major Muslim rebel unit, was shown next to a helicopter. "With God's help, the Marj al-Sultan airbase in eastern Ghouta has been liberated," the commander said in the video. Eastern Ghouta, a mix of agricultural land and built-up urban areas, has been a rebel stronghold for months. Damaged mobile radar stations could be seen on hilltops, with rebels waiving as they walked in the compound. Footage from Saturday evening showed rebels firing rocket-propelled grenades at the base, and what appeared to be a helicopter engulfed in flames. Last week rebels briefly captured an air defense base near the southern Damascus district of Hajar al-Aswad, seizing weapons and equipment before pulling out to avoid retaliation from Assad's air force. (Additional reporting by Dominic Evans in Beirut Yeganeh Torbati in Dubai and Ece Toksabay in Istanbul; editing by Philippa Fletcher) حقيقة ما جرى في مطار مرج السلطان تناقلت مواقع كلاب الاخوان المسلمين فديو يظهر سيطرتهم على مجموعة من الحوامات العسكرية في مطار مرج السلطان , وقد قمنا فورا بالتواصل مع مصادرنا المطلعة التي اكدت لنا انه عبارة عن مهب ط حوامات اضطراري و مكب للحوامات المنسقة اي خارج الخدمة . وبما ان الصورة اقوى من الكلمة هانحن نبرهن صحة كلامنا من الصور والفديوهات التي نشرتها الجزيرة القطرية وتنسيقيات العهر هناك مروحيتين ظهرتا في الفديو وهي بدون مراوح ( شفرات الدوران ) و هذا اكبر دليل على انها خارج الخدمة . ثانيا في المطارات العسكرية يكون البعد بين الحوامة والاخرة ١٥٠م وكحد ادنى من اجل الامان اثناء الاقلاع و الهبوط او خلال التعرض لقصف جوي لذلك لا تكدس كقطرميز مكدوس بجانب بعضها كما ظهر بالفديو وفي النهاية نقول لتنسيقيات العهر و جلاجيقها المرضى النفسيين بدل البحث عن انتصارات معنوية كاذبة , انشروا اعداد قتلاكم الحقيقية التي سقطت في داريا و المعضمية خلال الاسبوع الماضي والذي تجاوزت 2000 قتيل بدل نشر اعلانات عن مفقودين تعرفون تماما من هم وكيف واين قتلوا . {لكم التعليق لضمان بقائك كعضو بصفحتنا اكتب تعليق أو مشاركة} ================ The CIA started to flirt with the Sunni Political Islam during the days of the cold war. The Afghan Mujahideen, the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and Hamas were embraced and supported by the CIA, MI-6, German BND, Saudi Intelligence and the Jordanian regime; in order to fight communism. The Sunni fundamentalists were effectively used to toppling the government of communist Dr Najeeb Ullah in Kabul before hanging him on 27.09.1996. Hamas was established in 1987 with the tacit blessing of late King Hussein of Jordan and his Western allies, mainly to neutralise the effects of leftist-oriented Palestinian organisation, the likes of the PLO, the PFLP and PFLP-general command. Similar to Al-Qaeda, Hamas drifted away from what the USraeli wanted them to be; a Political Islam at the Service of Uncle Sam. But within the Sunni Islamic fundamentalists there are still elements connected to the USraelis while being finance by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States. These elements are currently implementing USraeli designs by promoting the premises that Israel is a friend and Iran as the enemy. In the process, they are justifying attacks on the anti-USraeli Shiats in Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Bahrain. It is a well known fact that Arabs don’t have clear strategies or effective tactics. The Sunni fundamentalists need allies if they ever try to re-direct their weapons at the US-supported Israeli criminals and not at their fellow citizens. As it is recently shown in Gaza, it was the Iranians and not the Saudis who supplied Hamas with weapons and training. There is no need at all to kill shiat or to antagonize Iran, because that is exactly what the US-Israeli strategists wanted us to do. If the West wants to limit the role of Iran and Hizbullah, it should work to force the Israelis to implementing 39 UN Security Council Resolutions they are in breach of, lifting the siege they imposed on Gaza, releasing the thousands of Palestinians from prisons and stopping the building of illegal settlements. Anything short of ending the occupation is a mere waste of time, money and valuable lives on both sides. How many more conflicts and truces are needed before the USraelis realise that keeping the status quo is becoming extremely costly and dangerous to everyone.. Adnan Darwash, Iraq Occupation Times. 14 November 2012 - 06:55 AM For some reason, you forgot to mention Indonesia, the largest non-Arab Muslim country. Islam and Mohammed did introduce ideas not known, let alone practiced, by other religions, that is the equality between all people infront of God. Until today, the Imam during prayers turns left and right to see that the faithfuls are standing in one line. In Judaism, Jews believe that they are God's selected few. The Hindi religion divides people into 17 castes depending on what they do. Naturally the ones who don't get their hand dirty, the Brahmas, are ranked on top. Christianity didn't address this issue and Christians went to enslave blacks and to intitutionalise apartheid. For this reason, many of the oppresses minorities, slaves and the untouchables, became Muslims. Have you ever wondered why Indonesians embraced Islam while no conqueror went there to convert them? In addition Islam, recognised Judaism and Christianity. Until today, Jews don't recognise neither Christianity nor Islam while Christians don't recognise Judaism or Islam. The Muslims believe that all the prophets cited in both the Torah and the Bible. Talking about the truth: There are 1.5 billion Muslims who recognise Judaism and Christianity. But Christians mention the 12 Million Jews who don't recognise them and ignore the 15 billion Muslims who do. It is the Jewish money that started to distort history and bribe historians. It was only in 1964 that the Catholic Church had exonerated the Jews and rehabilitated them. Can you possibly imagine that In the coming one hundred year there will be three times as many Muslims as there are today!!!!! - Hamas and Jesse Ventura: Sacrifices the way forward Posted 14 November 2012 - 11:57 PM Mr Jesse Ventura believes that the shooting of four innocent students at the Kent University Campus by the Ohio National Guard on May 4, 1970 shocked America and lead to the end of the Vietnam war. At the time, the students were demonstrating against Nixon-Kissinger's attempt to extend the Vietnam war to Cambodia. Following the shooting, four million US students went on strike that opened the eyes of the rest of the nation. Mr Ventura advised the 'Occupy Movement' to make sacrifices in order for the nation to hear their warnings of the danger of the mafias controlling the US Banks and its Financial institutions. Similarly, Hamas knows that the International community will remain silent about the Israeli siege of Gaza and their daily atrocities against the Palestinians unless sacrifices are made. President Mahmoud Abbas has failed and the peaceful approach will never end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands,, stop the illegal Jewish settlements or force the Israelis to abide by 39 UN Security Council Resolutions, they are in breach off. The fighting in Gaza couldn't come at a worst time for the Israelis and for their American mentors: who are currently financing and arming Islamists in order to depose Assad in Syria and in trying to direct the world attention to Iran's Nuclear capabilities. Since the West will never arm Hamas fighters with Stinger anti Aircraft Missiles to defend against the Israeli warplanes, the way it is currently doing in Syria, the Arab street will punish all the Pro-West Kings, Sultans, Sheiks and Emirs currently in power, one at atime. It is natural to conclude that the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi will not be the last if the US continues its current policy of double standards and selective morality. Adnan Darwash, Iraq Occupation Times =====================

Suicide bombs kill 11 at military church in Nigeria

Sun, Nov 25 10:44 AM EST By Garba Mohammed and Isaac Abrak KADUNA, Nigeria (Reuters) - Two suicide bombs killed at least 11 people on Sunday at a church in a barracks in northern Nigeria, where the Islamist sect Boko Haram is waging a campaign of violence, the military said. Army spokesman Bola Koleoso said a bus drove into the side of the St. Andrew Military Protestant Church at the Jaji barracks in Kaduna state and exploded at around 1105 GMT, five minutes after a service had started. Explosives inside a Toyota Camry were detonated outside the church ten minutes later, he said. The military said at least 30 were injured. A military source who witnessed the attack said the second bomb was the most deadly, killing people who went to help the injured from the first blast. Witnesses said the barracks was cordoned off and ambulances carried the wounded to hospital. There was no claim of responsibility but Islamist sect Boko Haram has frequently attacked the security forces and Christian churches in its fight to create an Islamic state in Nigeria, where the 160 million population is evenly split between Christians and Muslims. A suicide bomber killed eight people and injured more than 100 last month at a church in another part of Kaduna state, which has a mixed Muslim and Christian population and often suffers from sectarian tensions. CHURCH ATTACKS A bomb attack in a church in Kaduna state in June triggered a week of tit-for-tat violence that killed at least 90 people. Gunmen killed six people in a village in northern Kaduna state earlier this month. The area was at the heart of post-election violence in April last year that left hundreds dead and thousands displaced. Boko Haram's purported spokesman Abu Qaqa, who used to confirm the sect's attacks in phone calls to journalists, was killed by the military in September, the army said. Since then there has been little public communication by the group. Nigeria's army on Saturday offered 290 million naira ($1.8 million) for information leading to the capture of 19 leading members of Boko Haram, including 50 million naira for the sect's self-proclaimed leader Abubakar Shekau. At least 2,800 people have died in fighting since Boko Haram's insurrection began in 2009, according to Human Rights Watch. Most in the northeast of the country, where the sect usually attacks politicians and security forces. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair visited Nigeria with the Archbishop of Canterbury-designate Justin Welby last week to launch a program by Blair's foundation to reconcile religious differences in Africa's most populous nation. The foundation said it was at consultancy stage and gave no details on how much would be spent or who would benefit. (Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Andrew Roche)

Israel may strike at ship allegedly carrying Iranian rockets to Gaza – report

Hezbollah says could hit all of Israel in future war Sun, Nov 25 08:37 AM EST 1 of 2 By Dominic Evans BEIRUT (Reuters) - Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah warned Israel on Sunday that thousands of rockets would rain down on Tel Aviv and cities across the Jewish state if it attacked Lebanon. Speaking four days after the ceasefire which ended a week of conflict between Israel and the Islamist Hamas rulers of Gaza, Nasrallah said Hezbollah's response to any attack would dwarf the rocket fire launched from Palestinian territories. "Israel, which was shaken by a handful of Fajr-5 rockets during eight days - how would it cope with thousands of rockets which would fall on Tel Aviv and other (cities) ... if it attacked Lebanon?" Nasrallah said. The Fajr-5s, with a range of 75 km (45 miles) - able to strike Tel Aviv or Jerusalem - and 175 kg (386 lb) warheads, are the most powerful and long-range rockets to have been fired from Gaza. But Hezbollah, which fought Israel to a standstill in a 34-day war six years ago, says it has been re-arming since then and has a far deadlier arsenal than Hamas. Nasrallah has said Hezbollah could kill tens of thousands of people and strike anywhere inside Israel if hostilities break out again. "If the confrontation with the Gaza Strip ... had a range of 40 to 70 km, the battle with us will range over the whole of occupied Palestine - from the Lebanese border to the Jordanian border, to the Red Sea," Nasrallah said. Hezbollah could hit targets "from Kiryat Shmona - and let the Israelis listen carefully - from Kiryat Shmona to Eilat", he said, referring to Israeli's northernmost town on the Lebanese border to the Red Sea port 290 miles further south. The movement has warned that any Israeli attack against the nuclear facilities of its patron Iran, which has armed and funded the Lebanese Shi'ite Muslim militant group, would inflame the Middle East - though it has not specified its own response. In a move it said showed it could penetrate deep inside Israeli defenses, it flew a drone over Israel last month. The drone was shot down after flying 25 miles into southern Israel. Israel says its Iron Dome missile defense system knocked out 90 percent of the rockets fired from Gaza which were on course to hit populated areas. TENS OF THOUSANDS MARK ASHURA Nasrallah, who has lived in hiding since 2006 to avoid assassination by Israel, was speaking by video-link to tens of thousands of Shi'ite faithful in southern Beirut commemorating Ashura, the day when the Prophet Mohammad's grandson Hussein was killed in battle 13 centuries ago. Wearing a black turban and robes in a sign of mourning, the 52-year-old cleric said his Shi'ite movement wanted to prevent sectarian tension in Lebanon - fuelled by the civil war in Syria - plunging his country into renewed conflict. "We want to avert strife and Israel is our only enemy. We have no enemies in Lebanon," Nasrallah said. Many Sunni Muslim political leaders blamed Hezbollah's ally Syria for last month's bomb attack which killed a top intelligence official and plunged Lebanon into political crisis. The opposition March 14 coalition blamed Syria for the assassination and called on the Lebanese government, dominated by allies of Hezbollah and Syria, to quit. Sporadic clashes have erupted since then, including a shootout in the southern city of Sidon two weeks ago when three people were killed after supporters of a Sunni cleric tried to tear down Shi'ite Ashura banners. On Saturday the army said it arrested five people and seized 450 grams (1lb) of explosives in Nabatiyeh on the eve of an Ashura march in the southern Lebanese town which was attended by thousands of Shi'ite mourners, many striking their heads with blades to draw blood to mark the tragedy of Hussein's death. Security sources said the arrested men were Syrians suspected of planning an attack on the Ashura processions but Nasrallah, speaking late on Saturday, suggested they were trying to send arms to the conflict in Syria. "We already know that many Syrians arrive in Lebanon to buy weapons," he said. "Neither weather nor rain can frighten us, nor can explosions or security threats stand between us and Imam Hussein". (Additional reporting by Laila Bassam in Beirut and Dan Williams in Jerusalem; Editing by Louise Ireland) =========================== Published: 25 November, 2012, 14:38 TAGS: Arms, Conflict, Military, Politics, Iran, Israel, War, Vessels, Security, Transport, Violence TRENDS: Israel-Gaza strikes AFP Photo / ISNA / Amin Khoroshahi Israel has reportedly vowed to destroy rockets and other weapons being sent to Gaza by Iran. Tel Aviv issued this threat despite a recent ceasefire following eight days of bitter conflict between Gaza and Israel. Israeli spy satellites spotted a cargo vessel in the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas that was allegedly Gaza-bound and carrying arms, the Sunday Times reported. “Regardless of the ceasefire agreement, we will attack and destroy any shipment of arms to Gaza once we have spotted it,” an Israeli defense official told the newspaper. The vessel reportedly began its voyage last week just as Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire ending eight days of violence in Gaza, in which over 150 Palestinians died. The cargo is believed to include Fajr-5 rockets, similar to those used by Hamas in the conflict, and Shahab-3 ballistic missiles. The ship is set to travel through the Red Sea, Sudan and Egypt, according to the Sunday Times report. The newspaper also cited Israeli officials speculating that Iran could be moving longer-range ballistic missiles into Sudan, which could be aimed at Israel from the African country. The Sunday Times’ report comes a day after the Hamas leadership announced they aren’t ready to stop arming themselves, despite the recently-agreed truce and ceasefire. "We have no choice but to continue to bring in weapons by all possible means," senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar told reporters, adding that he expected Tehran would "increase its military and financial support to Hamas." Earlier on Wednesday, exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal thanked Shia-majority Iran for what he described as arms and funding. On Saturday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad expressed support for Gaza in the bloody conflict, praising what he called Palestinian "resistance and perseverance" against Israel, which he said must now "bow" to Palestinian rights, IRNA news agency reported. The eight-day Israeli assault on Gaza killed 168 Palestinians, mostly civilians. It also led to $300 million in economic damage, a Palestinian Chamber of Commerce report said. Hamas fired Fajr-5 rockets against Israel, an unsettling revelation for the Israeli public. The country was last targeted by the 3-meter-long missiles during its 2006 war with Lebanon, and was expecting smaller-range rockets to be used in the recent conflict. Hamas' Farj-5 arsenal was able to strike Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, cities that were not attacked during the previous escalation of violence between Israel and Gaza in 2008. The IDF was forced to rapidly deploy an additional battery of its Iron Dome air defense system to counter the threat. =============== Saudi diplomat shot dead in Yemen - Al Arabiya TV Wed, Nov 28 06:22 AM EST SANAA, Nov 28 (Reuters) - A Saudi diplomat was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Wednesday, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television reported, citing diplomatic sources. The station give no further details. Yemen has been grappling with a number of security problems including the local offshoot of al Qaeda. SANAA, Yemen: A Saudi diplomat and his body guard have been shot dead in Yemen capital Sanaa, reports said on Wednesday. According to the report, Yemen security officials say gunmen have killed the diplomat, who was a member of Saudi military delegation. Another reports says, the diplomat and his Yemeni guard were killed on 50 Meter Road. Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television citing diplomatic sources also confirmed the incident, however, the station gave no further details. =========== Trotsky permanent revolution and Al-Zawahiri Perpetual Jihad Posted 27 June 2011 - 05:38 AM Bin Laden may be remembered as the Muslim warrior who was able to attack targets inside America and who had forced the Americans to launch very costly wars on Afghanistan and Iraq respectively, in 2001 and 2003. Many believe it was Dr Ayaman Al-Zawahiri who should be credited with expanding the limited agenda of Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda from freeing the holy Saudi Arabian lands, from the boots of the American infidels, to fighting continuous Islamic Jihadi wars throughout the world similar to Trotsky’s permanent socialist revolution. Because of the death of the 19 attackers and because of security reasons, the full details of what had happened on September 11, 2001 are still unknown. Nevertheless, the ability to launch damaging attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon despite the presence of 15 US intelligence agencies showed Al-Qaeda to having operators with quasi superhuman talents. While in Egypt, Medical Doctor Al-Zawahiri was credited with planning the assassination of President Anwar Al-Sadat on October 6, 1981, following his visit to Israel. Those close to Bin Laden know that their leader is not the person with the exceptional capabilities or with the high intelligence but they give credits to others, some still faceless, and to Dr Al-Zawahitri in carrying out spectacular attacks. It will take Al-Zawahiri some time before proving his worth in evading the US bullets and in launching the next attack which he promised to avenge the death of Bin Laden. Al-though Al-Qaeda hasn’t been in the news lately despite their daily attacks in Iraq, Pakistan and Yemen. However, Dr Al-Zawahiri’s job is being facilitated by the American unlimited support for the intransigence of the extreme right-wing government of Netanyahu-Liebrman in Israel and by the American desperate attempts to undermine the on-going Arab people uprisings against the USraeli Arab agents in government. The Americans have eliminated the enemies of the Islamic revolution in Afghanistan (2001) and in Iraq (2003), naturally to the cheers of the Iranians. The Arabs will also cheer the Americans if they eliminate their enemies in Israel. . Be reasonable and ask the impossible from the American Zombies whom I have given up on them. Mr Jesse Ventura believes that the shooting of four innocent students at the Kent University Campus by the Ohio National Guard on May 4, 1970=27th Safar/1425 shocked America and lead to the end of the Vietnam war. At the time, the students were demonstrating against Nixon-Kissinger's attempt to extend the Vietnam war to Cambodia. Following the shooting, four million US students went on strike that opened the eyes of the rest of the nation. Mr Ventura advised the 'Occupy Movement', to make sacrifices in order for the nation to hear their warnings of the danger of the mafias controlling the US Banks and its Financial institutions. Despite 5000 universities and high teaching institutes, the Americans are unable to connect the dots and end up being ruled by imbeciles like Ronald Reagan and G.W. Bush. The stupid Americans went to invade and destroy Iraq while they should have invaded Saudi Arabia. They are currently trying to undermine Iran while they should concentrate on Pakistan where most of the terrorists are being bred and exported. The Americans can't name one single Iranian or Iraqi who have carried out terrorist attack anywhere on earth. Bin Laden was a Saudi so were 15 out of the 19 who carried out the attacks on 9/11. Al-Zawahiri is an Egyptian so was Mohammed Al-Atta. Al-Zarqawi was a Jordanian. Adnan Darwash, Iraq Occupation Times