Sunday, May 29, 2011
Posted by Will at 2:47 PM
- Syria Live Blog - May 25. Here .(Al-Jazeera).
- Libya Live Blog - May 23. Here (Al-Jazeera).
- Yemen Live Blog - May 27 . Here. (Al-Jazeera).
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity in Japan today 4.8 ! Lots of activity in Turkey.More info here.
- Japan - Latest official Situation Update No. 122.Source : Here .
- Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.
- Muslim convert ex -Guantanamo guard, was fired from army: "what is happening in that prison is really inhuman and violates the minimum principles of human rights,”(Emirates247).When US soldier Terry Brooks was sent to join military guards at the infamous Guantanamo prison that houses Moslem militants from Taliban and Al-Qaeda, he had not thought he would embrace the religion of those prisoners. After a few chats with a Moroccan inmate, he converted to Islam in 2003.Brooks was caught by local reporters this week praying in the western Saudi town of Madina before heading for nearby Makkah to perform his first pilgrimage (Umra), which he said had been his dream over the past years.The Saudi Arabic language daily Okaz said it waited for Brooks to finish his prayers and talked to him about his conversion to Islam. He credited “prisoner number 590” named Ahmed Al Rashdi of Morocco for his “landmark” decision. After converting, he was expelled from the army.Brooks told the paper he was sent to Guantanamo long before 2003 and later started to mingle with some prisoners there.“I still remember that great moment….the time was around 12:49 am in December 2003 when I embraced Islam…at that night, I took this landmark decision after numerous chat sessions with Al Rashdi,” he said.“It was a memorable moment in my life…….many prisoners sat around me when I converted and decided to call me Mustafa as their new friend…later I added the name Abdullah so I am now called Mustafa Abdullah.”Brooks said he had been delighted when the US army decided to send him to Guantanamo as it was an adventure for him since had not seen a prison before.“When I arrived there, it was a big shock for me… even before I entered the prison buildings, I could see that it was horrible and could suit only cactus and poisonous reptiles….I then asked myself ‘are those people behind the bars really so dangerous that they are worth these costly security measures.”Brooks said he started to be interested in Islam after his talks to Al Rashdi and other prisoners about Islam, Palestine, Afghanistan and the Middle East.“I used to sit just outside their cells at night listening to them…by time, a sort of mutual respect developed between us …I had never believed in God before I went to Guantanamo.…now that I embraced Islam, I can feel the sweetness of religion…Islam is a pure religion and the ultimate right.”Brooks said he had first concealed his decision to convert to Islam from other US guards at Guantanamo, adding that when the officer learned about it, he and the other soldiers began to treat him cruelly and accused him of betraying America. Around two years before the end of his contract, he was fired from the army.“I am now working on a book about my experience to embrace Islam.…I have just quit my job in the US to devote my time to helping the prisoners in Guantanamo..…what is happening in that prison is really inhuman and violates the minimum principles of human rights,” he said.Hmmmm....what would be the odds that Obama might reinstate him?Read the full story here.
- 'I would do it all again': The last surviving 'righteous gentile' who hid Jews in Nazi Austria.(DailyMail).Edeltrud Becher shuddered as she heard a knock on the door from unannounced visitors.It was 1942 in Hitler's Austria, and there was no way of knowing who could have been paying her an unannounced visit. But as she opned the door, rather than the terrifying sight of Gestapo officers, her Jewish fiance and his two brothers were on the doorstep, looking nervously over their shoulders.The three had fled to Prague after the Nazi annexation of Austria in 1938. But by 1942, that city too was in the hands of Hitler's henchmen.They were told to pack essentials for deportation to a concentration camp.They wrote suicide notes to make authorities think they were dead, and then did what no one thought any Jew would do - they took a night train straight to Vienna, back into the heartland of the Nazi Reich.In deciding to protect them from the Nazis that night, Becher - now Edeltrud Posiles - embarked on a dangerous game of hide-and-seek that included some truly hairy moments: on one occasion the three jumped from a balcony to escape detection, and Walter, her future husband, pretended to be a waiter as the Gestapo stormed a cafe.Walter Posiles as well as his brother Ludwig survived. Hans, the oldest brother, beat the odds of being found by the Nazis only to be killed by a Russian bomb during the dying days of the war.Hiding Jews was punishable by death. But the feisty 94-year old says 'there was never a moment's doubt in my mind', when asked if she hesitated as she was asked by the brothers for sanctuary.And - even though the marriage ended in divorce - 'I would do it again,' declares Posiles, the last one of 88 Austrians known to have saved Jews from the Holocaust who is still alive.'Even though I'm a coward,' the former librarian adds after a pause, moving gingerly from her walker to stand proudly before banner letters prominently spelling out her name on Vienna's bustling Ring Avenue along with Austria's 87 other known 'Righteous Gentiles.'The title is reserved for those in Austria and elsewhere who saved Jews during the Holocaust and whose names are engraved by Israel on a Wall of Honor in Jerusalem's Garden of the Righteous.German industrialist Oskar Schindler and Swedish diplomat Raul Wallenberg are well known for rescuing thousands, but others who saved more modest numbers of Jews remain anonymous - unless profiled by exhibits such as the Vienna show, put on by a Holocaust remembrance group.While many Austrians embraced Hitler and his ideology, not all were enthusiastic followers. Posiles said that while some friends would not have hidden Jews out of fear for their lives, they shared in her secret - and kept silent.'They behaved admirably,' she said of the dozen or so people she said she had to confide in 'for one reason or another'.'As for me, I have a clear conscience,' she said of the war years. 'Not everyone can say the same.'Hmmmm......An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law. Martin Luther King, Jr. Read the full story here.
- Is this Bigfoot caught on video? Hiker swears she really HAS caught him this time.(DailyMail).A woman hiker got the fright of her life after she went walking with a friend in Spokane, Washington, and stumbled across what she claims is Bigfoot.Samantha, who has not revealed her surname, caught the footage in Downriver Park with her iPhone camera and posted the video on YouTube.After capturing the mysterious creature, also known as a Sasquatch, on film, her YouTube video has become a hit and has already been viewed almost 8,000 times within four days.In her post, Samantha said she didn’t realise Bigfoot was there until she replayed her video after the hike at home.She wrote an email to KXLY news website in the US, and said: ‘Someone asked me in the comments section if I believed in Bigfoot before the video.‘I have never given it much thought, but now I’m not so sure. Seem real enough to me.KXLY apparently showed the video to students and staff at Spokane Community College to ask for their opinion, seeing as their school mascot dresses as Bigfoot.Student Margaret Clarke said: ‘Looks like just a normal person to me.’While fellow pupil Ryan Constable added: ‘I think there is something big and hairy walking around out there like that.Hmmmm....."their school mascot dresses as Bigfoot"Nice try!Read the full story here.
- Kyoto deal loses four big nations.(SMH).DEAUVILLE, France: Russia, Japan and Canada told the G8 they would not join a second round of carbon cuts under the Kyoto Protocol at United Nations talks this year and the US reiterated it would remain outside the treaty, European diplomats have said.The future of the Kyoto Protocol has become central to efforts to negotiate reductions of carbon emissions under the UN's Framework Convention on Climate Change, whose annual meeting will take place in Durban, South Africa, from November 28 to December 9.Developed countries signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. They agreed to legally binding commitments on curbing greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming.Those pledges expire at the end of next year. Developing countries say a second round is essential to secure global agreements.But the leaders of Russian, Japan and Canada confirmed they would not join a new Kyoto agreement, the diplomats said.They argued that the Kyoto format did not require developing countries, including China, the world's No. 1 carbon emitter, to make targeted emission cuts.At last Thursday's G8 dinner the US President, Barack Obama, confirmed Washington would not join an updated Kyoto Protocol, the diplomats said.The US, the second-largest carbon emitter, signed the protocol in 1997 but in 2001 the then president, George W. Bush, said he would not put it to the Senate for ratification.Hmmmm......If you want to talk about an era of global warming, look no further than what happened 10,000 years ago. We're in a prolonged warm period.Read the full story here.
- Hamas treathens UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon "Moon will be held responsible for any harm that comes to the next Gaza flotilla".(Memri)Hamas has condemned the call of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to refrain from sending flotillas to Gaza, stating that this call will encourage Israel "to continue the siege and its aggression against the Palestinians." The International Committee for Breaking the Siege on Gaza said that Moon will be held responsible for any harm that comes to the next Gaza flotilla. Mushir Al-Masri, a member of the Hamas legislative council, said at a conference of the Turkish organization IHH that the blood of the Marmara activists shall be avenged. Hmmmm.....The 'Peace partners' of the Obama regime?Read the full story here.
- Dubai - Another Indian worker commits suicide,toll at 27 in the last five months.(Emirates247).In yet another case of suicide in Dubai, another Indian worker died last night when hejumped down from his accommodation.The victim has been identified as Rajesh aged 26 from Tamil Nadu in India and was working in a logistics company in Dubai.Accordingto a source from DCL Shipping, Rajesh died early this morning at around 7.30amin his accommodation.“He jumped down from his room located on the third floor of the building. It was the security guard who first discovered the incident and immediately called the police. The body has been taken to the police mortuary,” said the official.Rajesh who had earlier worked with the company for two years left the company and had rejoined just six months ago. “He was working as a welder. We are still notsure what caused him to commit suicide,” said the official.There has been an increase in the number of Indians committing suicides in the UAE. According to recent statistics at least 27 Indians have committed suicide during the last five months alone.Earlier this month another Indian died after he jumped from the 148 floor of Burj Khalifa.Hmmmmm....You think it's something in the air?Read the full story here.
- Iranian Basij Commander: The Homes of the Israeli Settlers Will House the Returned Palestinian Refugees.(Memri).Iranian Basij Commander Mohammad Reza Naqdi called on the Israelis to continue building homes the settlements, because these will be used to house the Palestinian refugees returning to their homeland. He added that the Islamic awakening in the Middle East will bring about the end of the Israeli occupation, as predicted by the Ayatollah Khomeini when he said that Palestine would one day be conquered from the Israelis.Hmmmm....Will there be room for the "hidden imam"? Read the full story here.
- Iranian Ayatollah: Open Plan Kitchens Are Un-Islamic.(Memri).Senior ayatollah Javadi-Amoli said at a conference of Iranian engineers that open plan kitchens contravene the teachings of Islam because the women of the household are exposed to the gaze of guests.Hmmmm....we don't want anything 'burned' do we?Read the full story here.
- FSB blamed as Russian Islamic Centers Close down.(MoscowTimes).An influential Islamic organization with offices across the country has been forced to close, highlighting a political struggle over the country's millions-strong Muslim population.Representatives of the Islamic Cultural Center and analysts said a Supreme Court ruling upholding the center's closure was politically charged."This is a bureaucratic order from people who want the Muslim part of society to be represented by puppets," the center's chairman and founder, Abdul-Wahid Niyazov, told The Moscow Times on Thursday.The Supreme Court on Wednesday confirmed a decision from the Justice Ministry last fall to close the center for "multiple violations of financial regulations," Interfax reported.Among the objections mentioned by the court was that 21 of the center's 54 regional branches lacked proper legal documentation.But Niyazov said the evidence presented by the Justice Ministry was obtained under pressure from the Federal Security Service. "Any member of our regional staff will testify that they were threatened and pressured," he said at a Supreme Court hearing Tuesday, Interfax reported.He said many of the center's regional directors had resigned after receiving intimidating calls from the FSB.Niyazov said Thursday that he would appeal the decision in every possible way, including with a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.He said he would also appeal to the All-Russia People's Front, the political vehicle set up by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin earlier this month. Putin is widely seen as the country's most powerful politician and in control of the security services.The Islamic Cultural Center, whose work has been suspended since last fall, held exhibitions, news conferences and readings and hosted visiting Islamic dignitaries.It describes itself as the "public arm" of the Council of Muftis, one of four organizations representing the country's Muslims.Council spokeswoman Gulnur Gaziyeva said the center's work was directed at the well-being of the country's Muslims."We believe that we can correct the legal problems and re-register the organization," she said by telephone.But the center's closure was welcomed by the All-Russia Muftiate, a rival organization set up last December, reportedly with active help from the Kremlin."This so-called public arm of the Council of Muftis was just a poor excuse for a sham," the muftiate's executive chairman, Mukhammedgali Khuzin, told Interfax. He said the center had done real harm to the Muslim community and to the country's interfaith relations. He did not elaborate.Asked to comment on Khuzin's allegations, Gaziyeva said only that it was "very sad to hear such a smear" coming from within the Muslim community.Analysts linked the struggle to authorities' desire to bring the country's Muslims under tighter control.Alexander Soldatov, a religions expert with Portal-credo.ru, said the Kremlin was frightened after the Council of Muftis organized mass prayers at Moscow's central mosque for the Eid al-Adha feast last November."After the prayers last fall they introduced the All-Russia Muftiat — which is obviously directed against the council," he said by telephone.Soldatov also said City Hall has shown extreme reluctance to Muslims' demands to build new mosques in the capital after last year's nationalist rioting on Manezh Square.Hmmmmm....."Outreach to Muslims Putin Style".Read the full story here.
- Syria Live Blog - May 25. Here .(Al-Jazeera).
- Libya Live Blog - May 23. Here (Al-Jazeera).
- Yemen Live Blog - May 27 . Here. (Al-Jazeera).
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity in Japan today 4.8 ! Lots of activity in Turkey.More info here.
- Japan - Latest official Situation Update No. 122.On 29.05.2011 at 04:50 GMT+2
The cooling system at the No. 5 reactor at Japan's Fukushima power plant stopped working Saturday, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said. The reactor's temperature was 68 C and the fuel pool's was 41 C when a worker discovered the problem at 9 p.m. Saturday. Tepco began work to switch to backup pumps at 8 a.m. Sunday, when those temperatures were recorded at 87 C and 44 C, respectively.
Situation Update No. 121 - On 28.05.2011 at 15:26 GMT+2
Japan has detected radiation hundreds of times above normal levels on the seabed off the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. Japan's science ministry announced the highly radioactive materials were found in a 300-kilometre stretch of the seabed off eastern Japan, from Kesennuma in Miyagi Prefecture to Choshi in Chiba Prefecture. It says it has detected both radioactive iodine and caesium several hundred times above normal levels and warned the contamination could affect the safety of seafood. Earlier this week, the conservation group Greenpeace said its own tests had found radioactive contamination in a variety of marine life off the coast of the Fukushima nuclear plant. The anti-nuclear group, which conducted the coastal and offshore tests this month, criticised Japanese authorities for their "continued inadequate response to the Fukushima nuclear crisis" sparked by the March 11 quake and tsunami. Greenpeace said it detected seaweed radiation levels 50 times higher than official limits, which it charged raised "serious concerns about continued long-term risks to people and the environment from contaminated seawater". It also said that tests, which it said were independently verified by French and Belgian laboratories, showed above-legal levels of radioactive iodine-131 and caesium-137 in several species of fish and shellfish. In the aftermath of the quake small amounts of radiation from Fukushima spread across Asia, deepening concerns for millions of people in countries which had already imposed bans on Japanese produce from near the nuclear plant. The governments of China, South Korea, the Philippines and Vietnam reported that radiation had drifted over their territories, although they emphasised the levels were so low that there was no health risk. Fukushima prefecture has told reporters no fishing is going on at the moment in its waters. Japan's fisheries agency, and neighbouring prefectures, have been checking marine products at different spots, and the government has prohibited fishermen from catching some species found to have elevated radiation levels.Source : Here .
- Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.
- "Surf and Turf" - Exhibit A: Food-Stamp Fraud.(DougRoss).Consider: at least ten cents of every dollar government spends on Medicare and Medicaid is fraudulent, according to experts that put the total amount of criminal waste at over $100 billion.Since Barack Obama took office, roughly 12 million additional people have begun using food-stamps. And since Democrats took control of Congress in January 2007, almost 20 million people have joined the rolls of food-stamp recipients.15 out of every 100 people living in the U.S. are now receiving food-stamps.And a huge percentage of these people are using them for fraudulent purposes. Worse yet, the unfettered giveaway of these chits leads to all sorts of unintended consequences: more single-parent families and more violent crime in inner cities, to name just two.It's time to end the Democrats' failed "War on Poverty" once and for all.Hmmmmm....Obama care Waivers for fancy Restaurants and foodstamps to buy lobster and steak......What do they have in common?Read the full story here.
- #Weinergate:The “Would Your Spouse Buy It?” Test.(LeeStranahan).Although I don’t think what Anthony Weiner is even accused of doing rises to the level of ‘love child while your wife has cancer’, the #Weinergate story reminds me a lot of the post-Beverly Hills Hotel phase of the John Edwards story. Some people like to apply “Occam’s Razor” or some such test in such a situation, but I have a much easier test. I call it “Would your spouse buy it?”
With John Edwards the test went something like this:
“Hey, honey I know that reporters caught me in the middle of the night leaving the hotel room of a woman and then I hid in the bathroom when they asked me about it – but really, nothing was going on!”
Would the average spouse just let it go right there? No?Hmmm.....Welcome to the world of the 'sperminator'?Read the full story here.
- Obama gave the speech Saeb Erekat requested.(IsraelMatzav). So much for the 'biggest Yerushalayim in Jewish history.' When President Obama delivered that bombshell speech at the State Department ten days ago, he was delivering the speech that chief 'Palestinian' negotiator bottle washer Saeb Erekat asked him to deliver in October 2009.The following is from minutes of a meeting between Saeb Erekat and then-US Special Middle East Envoy George Mitchell that was held on November 1, 2009. SE is Saeb Erekat, GM is George Mitchell and PS is permanent status. SE noted that it was time for the US to upgrade its position and explicitly endorse the 67 border, as Sec Rice had done during Annapolis – it was agreed then, it is consistent with US policy regarding the occupied territory. GM replied that this means taking a new position. SE said this is a new administration that should state what others have tacitly agreed in the past.GM noted that difficulties with the Israelis on this and other issues, that they would not agree to any mention of 67 whatsoever and that strongly objected to Obama’s UNGA speech. He said he will continue to pursue the issue next week. SE suggested the following language: “two states along the 67 border with agreed swaps”. He stressed the importance of parallel negotiations of all PS issues.Anyone still think Obama has Israel's best interest in mind?Read the full story here.
- Will Obama not use his veto in September when the question of 'Palestinian statehood' to the UN General Assembly arises?(IsraelMatzav).Remember the David Horovitz piece I blogged a couple of months ago about the 'nightmare scenario'? Under the scenario laid out by Horovitz based on experts with whom he had a spoken, it was possible for a 14-1 vote in the UN Security Council (with the one vote being a US veto) to be declared 'deadlocked,' thereby pushing the question of 'Palestinian statehood' to the UN General Assembly. But according to the current UN General Assembly President - Joseph Deiss of Switzerland - 'Palestine' cannot be admitted to the United Nations if the United States vetoes its admission in the Security Council.The UN charter says that new members are admitted by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the 15-nation Security Council, where the United Sates, Britain, France, China and Russia are permanent members with veto powers.He added that the issue would not go away.
"If there is a large number of member states who recognize the statehood of Palestine -- and in addition in our (General Assembly) resolution of 1947, it's already said that there should be an Arab state or a Palestinian state -- (these) are elements that you have to take into consideration," he said.
"It's really up to the member states to make this decision and the rules are given," he said, adding that the permanent Security Council members have the right to wield their veto.Egypt's UN Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz said last week that 112 countries now recognize a sovereign Palestinian state and more are expected to recognize it in the coming months.But the bottom line is that no state can be admitted without passing the Security Council, which means that the US has a veto.
Two weeks ago, I would have said that it was a no-brainer that the US would veto such a resolution a year before a Presidential election with a sitting President running for re-election. Ten days ago, I started to get the feeling that Obama is just dogmatic enough not to exercise the veto and to take the chance that a few more Jews might vote against him.Hmmmmm....Of course he will stab Israel in the back if he thinks he can get away with it,has he been listening to Congress these last two years?Read the full story here.
- "Arab Spring" - Revolution Muslim reports...(JawaReport)....that brother Jesse Curtis Morton has been taken into custody by Moroccan authorities, who intend to hand him over to the United States.Hmmmm.....Cair already on the phone with their lawyers and AG Holder?Read the full story here.
- Hamas won’t oppose EU presence at border, official says.(JPost).Hamas doesn’t object to the reinstatement of European Union observers at the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, a Hamas official told The Media Line."We don’t mind if the Europeans are involved as long as the Egyptian side agrees to this," Ahmad Yousef, a political adviser to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, told The Media Line on Sunday. "The only objection we have is to Israeli involvement. This is an agreement between Palestinians and the Egyptians," he added.The position comes amid growing tensions between Israel, the Palestinians and Egypt after Hamas and rival Palestinian faction Fatah reached a surprise agreement to end four years of feuding and form a national unity government. Cairo, which brought the two sides together, said the pact would enable it to re-open its border with Hamas-controlled Gaza, spurring concerns in Israel about security.Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Al-Arabi said the crossing, which has remained mostly closed since Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, would be permanently opened within a week to 10 days, "to ease the suffering of the Palestinian people." Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Menha Bakhoum told Al-Ahram daily on Sunday that Egyptians regarded the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip "disgraceful."Opening the border would mark the biggest breach in the Gaza blockade, which was imposed by Israel and backed by the West since 2007. While Israel has been forced to ease its control over the territory, and tunnels dug under the border to Egypt allow other supplies to enter, Hamas has struggled to bring in weapons for use against Israel.Israel has come out strongly against the planned Hamas-Fatah unity government. Fatah favors a negotiated peace with Israel while Hamas is committed to the destruction of the Jewish state. The agreement doesn’t address how the unity government will square these positions. EU supervision, however, might ease Israel’s concerns about what passes through Rafah. which is the only border crossing not controlled by Israel. Following Israel's withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, responsibility for the Rafah crossing was handed over to the Palestinian Authority. An ad-hoc European force, the European Union Border Assistance Mission Rafah was appointed to oversee Egyptian and Palestinian management of the crossing, with Israel monitoring it from afar through a video surveillance system. But seven months later, in June 2006, Israel ordered the crossing closed for security reasons. The crossing was permanently sealed by the Egyptians the following June.While the terms of Egypt’s promised re-opening are still unclear, Gazans said on Sunday they were looking forward, saying it would give residents a big psychological boost.Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, declined to comment on the Egyptian decision, but Israeli daily Haaretz reported Sunday that Netanyahu is considering sending his special envoy Isaac Molho to discuss the matter with Egyptian officials. Amos Gilad, head of the Defense Ministry's diplomatic-security bureau, told Army Radio that "despite the announcement by the Egyptian administration, there will be no opening of the Rafah crossing." "Israel maintains the amount of products entering the Strip at a minimum," Zaqout said. "Every time it decides to close the crossings, a humanitarian crisis follows two or three days later."But Mathilde De Riedmatten, deputy director of the International Committee for the Red Cross in the Gaza Strip, said in an interview published on the Israeli army’s website April 20, that "there was no humanitarian crisis in Gaza.""If you go to the supermarket, there are products. There are restaurants and a nice beach," she added. Ali Abu-Shahlah, secretary-general of Gaza's Business Association, admitted that the main change in the life of Gazans would be in the ability of individuals to enter and leave freely. He predicted that the opening of the Rafah crossing would also ease trade and transfer of money but only on a small scale. "We are human beings and we need vacations," Abu-Shahlah told The Media Line. "I personally know people who haven't left Gaza in 15 years. This will have a psychological effect; people's mood will change.""There is what we call the 'suitcase merchants' who will be able to bring in some merchandise," he said. "Gazans living in the Gulf will be able to visit their relatives in the Strip without fear of getting stuck in Egypt, or in Gaza. They will be able to carry in a few thousand dollars or other gifts in their pockets."But Hamdi Shaqura, deputy director for program affairs at the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), a Gaza-based organization, was less optimistic about the new arrangement."It’s unclear whether the opening will include economic transactions or will only allow individuals to cross," Shaqura told The Media Line. "This isn’t an alternative to our demand from Israel to lift the blockade imposed on Gaza." Shaqura said Gaza needed to be allowed to export goods, not only receive them, and maintain land passage to the West Bank. Hmmmmm......It's all about the smugglers getting bigger deals.The unemployment rate rose to 45 per cent at the beginning of this year,how can they have 'Thousands of Dollars' in their pockets?Read the full story here.
- 'Al-Qaeda fighters seize Yemeni city'.(Al-Jazeera). Video - Residents say town of Zinjibar in southern Abyan province has been captured and fighters have taken over "everything".Yemeni gunmen alleged to be al-Qaeda fighters have reportedly taken control of the capital of the southern Abyan province.A resident told Al Jazeera on Sunday about 300 fighters entered the southern coastal town of Zinjibar on Friday and took over "everything" in the area.But the reports could not be independently verified by Al Jazeera due to official restrictions on reporting by foreign media.The developments came amid reports that an informal ceasefire in Yemen between security forces loyal to Ali Abdullah Saleh, the president, and a tribal group had brought a pause in political unrest.Read the full story here.More here .
- Egypt detains Iranian diplomat on spying charges.(Al-arabia).Egyptian authorities have arrested an Iranian diplomat on charges of spying on the North African country for Tehran's intelligence services, state media reported on Sunday.A judicial source confirmed his arrest, which was denied however by the Iranian interests section in Cairo."The state security prosecution today began an inquiry into Iranian diplomat Qasim al-Hosseini, who works at the Iranian interests section in Cairo," the Egyptian state news agency MENA reported.Mr. Hosseini, who was arrested a few days ago, had been accused of "spying for a foreign state (Iran) in order to harm Egypt's interests," said MENA.An initial probe found the diplomat gathered "information about Egypt on the latest developments the country has experienced and the conditions through which it is passing, then sent them to Iran's intelligence services," it added.The Iranian interests section in Cairo denied the report."He is in the embassy as I speak. It did not happen that way, he was not arrested," an official in the section told Agent-France Press on condition of anonymity.Earlier in Tehran, the Arabic-language television channel Al-Alam quoted an informed source as saying that Mr. Hosseini "is currently in his office and working normally" in Cairo."We are following the case," he added without elaborating.Iran and Egypt have no diplomatic ties and relations between the two countries were tense under former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.Read the full story here.
- Hamas simulates raid on flotilla. (Ynet).As part of preparations towards arrival of Turkish flotilla next month, Hamas forces hold maneuver in Gaza port.The Hamas government and Gaza security forces held a maneuver in the Gaza port last Thursday in preparation for the arrival of the Turkish flotilla next month. Dozens of people took part in the drill, including divers and medical personnel who trained in a number of scenarios.The participants simulated an IDF takeover of one ship and several Hamas men played the role of Israel Navy commandos. In another scenario, the forces simulated a rescue operation involving a person thrown overboard.Deputy Interior Minister in the Hamas government Kamel Abu Madi attended the maneuver and praised Turkish solidarity. "The blood of the Turkish people mixes in with the blood of the Palestinian people," he said. The IHH's second flotilla was meant to depart next week but was postponed by a month, apparently due to Turkish elections set for early June. Last week, IHH head Bulent Yildirim declared that some 1,500 activists were slated to take part in the flotilla which will include 15 vessels.Hmmmm.....A real American President would have put Turkey in it's place years ago ,for aiding known terrorists like Hamas,instead they have weekly phone calls.Supporting Israel....yeah whatevah! Read the full story here.
- The 13 Worst Countries for Christian Persecution.(Planc'sConstant).We often read that CAIR, a known supporter of terrorism, likes to promote the fiction that Muslims in the West are victims of hate crimes. This, of course, is a complete lie. Most of the so-called hate crimes against Muslims are frauds and deceptions by Muslims themselves.(1) Any careful reader of world news knows that the great majority of religious persecution in the world is directed at Christians and Jews. Consider the following: "Despite communist North Korea topping the list for the ninth consecutive year, the most dangerous countries in which to practice Christianity are overwhelmingly Islamic ones, according to the annual Open Doors World Watch List [PDF]."Here are the 13 Worst Countries for Christian Persecution. Those with an asterisk * next to them also appeared in my previous Thursday 13 article, the 13 Most Dangerous Countries in the World for travelers.Click on a country link for examples of Christian persecution in that country.It should be noted that of the top 50 worst offending countries on the World Watch List, almost 80% are Muslim-majority nations. Muslims are guilty of two related lies: that Muslims are persecuted in non-Muslim countries and that Christians are not persecuted in Muslim countries.As bad and outrageous as it is that Muslim governments persecute Christians, it is even more an egregious insult that Western governments send your tax dollars to help these countries persecute even more Christians.Read and see the full story here.
- Yemen - al-Qaeda appeared to have full control of city of Zinjibar in the flashpoint province of Abyan.(Al-Jazeera).An informal ceasefire in Yemen between security forces loyal to Ali Abdullah Saleh, the president, and a tribal group has brought a pause in political unrest.However, Al Jazeera's sources said that despite the truce, explosions were heard in Sanaa, the Yemeni capital, on Saturday.Fighting this week has killed at least 120 people, prompted thousands of residents to flee Sanaa and raised concerns that the increase in violence could benefit the Yemen-based branch of al-Qaeda and threaten adjacent Saudi Arabia, the world's leading oil exporter.The latest violence, pitting Saleh loyalist forces against members of the powerful Hashed tribe led by Sadiq al-Ahmar, was the bloodiest since pro-democracy unrest erupted in January and was sparked by Saleh's refusal to sign a power transfer deal.In another development, three French aid workers disappeared in Yemen's southern province of Hadramout on Saturday, but it remains unclear whether they had been abducted.Saleh has repeatedly imposed new conditions each time a Gulf-led transition agreement was due for signing, most recently demanding a public signing ceremony, according to mediators.Machinegun fire and explosions rattled Sanaa this week before clashes eased after mediation efforts. Al-Ahmar's fighters evacuated government ministry buildings they had taken over in return for a ceasefire and troops withdrawing from their area.There are worries that impoverished Yemen, where some 40 per cent of the country's 23 million people live on less than $2 a day, could become a failed state located on a shipping lane through which three million barrels of oil pass daily.In the south, dozens of armed men believed to be from al-Qaeda appeared to have full control of city of Zinjibar in the flashpoint province of Abyan on Saturday, a day after storming the city and chasing out security forces, residents said.The United States and Saudi Arabia, both targets of foiled attacks by the Yemen wing of al-Qaeda, are concerned any spread of anarchy could embolden the rebel group.With the political strife, the Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is likely to have more freedom to use a proven talent for daring bombing plots, analysts said."Given how distracted Saleh's government is in its attempts to cling to power, AQAP has much more open space in which to operate at the moment," Gregory Johnsen, a Yemen scholar, said.Read the full story here.
- Saudi Men and women commenting on women driving.(ArabNews).I had asked some of my readers for their views on the actions of Manal Al-Sharif, the Saudi woman who is being held for driving.
Jamshaid says: Who cares or gives a hoot? There are more important issues in the world than driving for Saudi women. Let them fend for themselves. If you do not oppress women they become like obnoxious American women who boss, dominate and degrade men. Men should stop empowering women as when they do this they give away/deplete their own power. Keep in mind that all “Women Rights” are at the expense of “Men Rights.”
Mahmood adds: I do believe that there are many more factors to be taken into account before allowing women to drive. Major issues such as traffic for instance. I am confident that if women were allowed to drive, most of them would never give up their drivers. This would mean adding tens of thousands of cars and drivers into the highly congested roads in Jeddah, Riyadh and all other major cities.
Zaman is blunt: My reaction is that they (Saudi women) should be kept under wraps
Mary: Firstly I'd say that the excuse being given by these women to protect against drivers is rubbish! Most of the women come from families where the drivers have been privately hired and so can be carefully vetted. Secondly, if this woman and others like her do not have valid driving permits then they are breaking the law here. That they should be allowed to obtain driving permits is very true. It's ridiculous that they aren't allowed to drive. Third, there is absolutely no rational and acceptable explanation for not allowing women to drive except as a means of control and domination of one sex over another. I'm sure that in the Prophet's (peace be upon him) times, a woman rode on a camel, donkey or horse all by herself. So what's the difference?Read the full story here.
- “May snow depths are deeper than anything we have seen in the last 45 years”.(Whatsupwiththat).That’s from the avalanche center in the Tetons, and here is a current web-cam view up Yosemite Valley towards still-closed Tioga Pass (in the left background):AP has a nice roundup of late snow and snowpack news (including the Teton quote). Just weather. No mention of climate. Nothing this time about snow and cold being caused by global warming. Now if we could just get the press to do the same when there is a regional hot spell. Still, it’s progress. Remember the spinning on last winter’s snowzilla? Most amusing was Al Gore’s quote from “the scientific community“:A rise in global temperature can create all sorts of havoc, ranging from hotter dry spells to colder winters, along with increasingly violent storms, flooding, forest fires and loss of endangered species.A click on Gore’s link showed “the scientific community” to be Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page. Gore should also have quoted Page’s credentials, which Page listed in his next line:That’s simple science even for me, a guy whose scientific education pretty much ended with the old “Watch Mr. Wizard” TV show and a subscription to Popular Mechanics.Read the full story here.