Tuesday, August 23, 2011
In Homs, Syria, on Monday, the UN came to meet with local officials. Here's a video of the UN inspectors leaving as hundreds of Syrians surround their cars shouting anti-Assad slogans.
According to what I read on Twitter, as soon as the UN was gone, the Syrian army opened fire on the protesters. Source : IsraelMatzav.
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity in India 5.1 - The US (Colorado) 5.2 and Virginia 5.9 ! More info here.
- Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.
- U.S. Uses Global Warming to Lay Claim to 200,000 Square Miles of Arctic Waters.(BlacklistedNews).The upside of global warming and the melting of the polar icecap is that the United States may be able to significantly expand its territorial interests at sea.But that’s assuming other countries near the Arctic Ocean go along with America’s attempted grab.According to the U.S. Navy, Washington is seriously thinking about using the Alaska coastline to claim about 200,000 square miles of territorial and exclusive economic zone waters. With large untapped reserves of oil and gas lying beneath the (not-for-long) frozen waters, plus the potential for new commercial shipping lanes, U.S. officials want to stake as big a claim as possible in the changing region, which, according to the Navy, could be ice-free during the summer months within 25 years.But so do the other seven nations whose territory borders on the Arctic; the members of the Arctic Council are the U.S., Russia, Canada, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Sweden and Denmark, which represents Greenland.Longtime ally Canada poses one barrier to expanded American interests involving the Northwest Passage. Canadian leaders say it’s in their territorial waters, while the U.S. contends it is an international waterway.Hmmmm......Since when being an ally has stopped Obama from throwing you under the bus?Read the full story here.
- "I Have A Debt To China?" - Martin Luther King memorial made in China.(Telegraph). It is perhaps a fitting tribute to racial co-operation. However, the decision to outsource to China the carving of a new national memorial to Martin Luther King has raised eyebrows in the United States.The 30ft-tall statue, which forms the centrepiece of a $120 million (£73 million), four-acre memorial to Dr King, opened to the public on Monday on the National Mall in Washington. It is the only memorial on the Mall that does not honour a president or fallen soldiers.Standing in the shadow of the Washington Monument, the statue shows Dr King emerging from a mountain of Chinese granite with his arms crossed and is called The Stone of Hope.However, there has been controversy over the choice of Lei Yixin, a 57-year-old master sculptor from Changsha in Hunan province, to carry out the work. Critics have openly asked why a black, or at least an American, artist was not chosen and even remarked that Dr King appears slightly Asian in Mr Lei's rendering.Mr Lei, who has in the past carved two statues of Mao Tse-tung, one of which stands in the former garden of Mao Anqing, the Chinese leader's son, carried out almost all of the work in Changsha.More than 150 granite blocks, weighing some 1,600 tons, were then shipped from Xiamen to the port of Baltimore, and reassembled by a team of 100 workmen, including ten Chinese stone masons brought over specifically for the project.Dr King's son, Martin Luther King III, has defended the outsourcing. "I have seen probably 50 sculptures of my dad, and I would say 47 of them are not good reflections," he said, to USA Today."This particular artist: he has done a good job."However, Ed Dwight, a sculptor in Denver, said Dr King would be "turning over in his grave" if he knew his likeness had been conceived by someone living under a Communist regime."He would rise up from his grave and walk into their offices and go, 'How dare you?'"Mr Lei was chosen after the memorial's fund-raisers observed him at work at a stone carver's symposium in Minnesota. Amid the criticism, the architects in charge of the project said that they had visited Mr Lei's studio in Changsha to find he had already carved several versions of the work.He has also prepared a bronze bust of Barack Obama which he intends to gift to the president.The new memorial is next to the Lincoln Memorial, on whose steps Dr King delivered his "I have a dream" speech in 1963, a defining moment in the American Civil Rights movement. The statue will be officially dedicated on Sunday, the anniversary of the speech, but the park has opened in advance to visitors. Around 400,000 people are expected in the run-up to Sunday's event.The statue, meanwhile, will be 11ft taller than the statues in the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials. It is unclear how much money was saved by making it in China.Hmmmm......."I Have A Debt To China?"Read the full story here.
- White House Insider: The Obama Plan – Part Three.(NewsFlavor)."The president doesn’t like the Oval Office much – he’s made that point repeatedly to more than a few at the White House. He prefers to be upstairs, no suit. No shoes. No joke —"
Insider: (Pauses)… As far as it takes. We’re preparing for it. I sure as hell hope America is too. Like I told you…this election coming up…Brutal.
Ulsterman: What do you mean by we – we are preparing for it? And are you actually saying that Barack Obama would push for race riots to somehow win a presidential election? That sounds…far fetched. Even for this administration.
Insider: Does it? How so? You need to take step back and see more of what has been happening in this country. It’s why this thing went from a concern about the party to a serious concern about the country. Why aren’t you seeing that?
Ulsterman: Just explain – the race rioting. I don’t see how that would help Obama get re-elected. It doesn’t…I just don’t see how that would work. In fact it seems like just the opposite. If we go from economic chaos to…whatever one would call it – racial chaos…that doesn’t help Obama. So yeah – I don’t see what you are saying there.
Insider: (Leans back – folds arms across chest) You and too many goddamn Americans don’t see it so don’t feel so bad. You know, other world leaders see it. Putin. Sarkozy. Merkel. Harper…Barack Obama is incapable of anything remotely resembling leadership, but he is also quite capable of the kind of dangerous arrogance that the very worst leaders in history possessed. (Pauses) Look, let me try and paint a picture for you – a clearer picture of what Obama really is. If you were to step into the White House and see the man at work, or whatever the hell it is he calls it. It’s not the same as what some of his own people are calling it – I know that for certain. The jokes, the sneers that go on behind the president’s back. You want to see that picture? The real Barack Obama? Maybe then you might understand what the man is capable of – really capable of.
Ulsterman: Go ahead.
Insider: I’m at my desk here right? We’re sitting here having this conversation. How about we take a look at what the president would look like in the same situation? Walk into that room – that office of his on the 2nd floor. He spends less and less time downstairs – that’s Daley’s world now. The president doesn’t like the Oval Office much – he’s made that point repeatedly to more than a few at the White House. He prefers to be upstairs, no suit. No shoes. No joke —
Ulsterman: (Interrupts) —Shoes?
Insider: Yeah – shoes. President Obama, when he is in his de facto office upstairs – the one that is closer to Jarrett’s own office, and a short hop over to the residence, he spends his time there often in shorts, or sweats, a t-shirt, and those sandal things…flip-flops. There is a large screen television in there and that’s where hours of his time are spent when he is actually at the White House. Day in and day out. The First Lady rules the residence, and the president heads over to his 2nd floor West Wing study. Starting around last spring, he started to take regular briefings in there. And the instructions that went out on those briefings to the president were that they were to be most importantly – brief. Anything more than about 15 minutes is unacceptable to Obama. Read the full story here.
- Obama to Rally Detroit Unions on Labor Day.(NewZeal).President Obama will be hobknobbing with socialist labor leaders Richard Trumka and Bob King, in Detroit, on Labor Day.President Barack Obama will visit Detroit on Labor Day for the annual celebration of workers, the White House said today.From The Detroit News.Obama will be joined by national AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka, United Auto Workers President Bob King, Teamsters President James P. Hoffa and Service Employees International President Mary Kay Henry, officials said.Because of security concerns, Obama isn’t expected to march in the annual Detroit Labor Day parade, but will address union members afterward…White House spokesman Josh Earnest confirmed the president’s planned trip…Hoffa said unions are eager to support Obama, who is to announce a new jobs effort after Labor Day.“We’re frustrated – like he is frustrated,” Hoffa said, complaining that Republicans in Congress have blocked much of Obama’s agenda.Hoffa called for more infrastructure spending to get people back to work, and said union members would work to get the “crazies” — identified by Hoffa as some Republicans — voted out of Congress.The Labor Day rally in Detroit will help Obama “rally his base,” Hoffa said.Labor unions made Detroit a blighted city.Obama is rapidly turning the US into a blighted country.How appropriate that Obama should stand shoulder to shoulder with his fellow lords of destruction.Hmmmm........National Socialist Workers on the March with their 'leader'....where did we hear this before?Ah yes they were known as NAZIS.Read the full story here.
- Ground Zero Mosque man robbed us: insurer.(NYPost).The self-proclaimed leading moneyman behind the Ground Zero mosque ran a $5.1 million insurance scam that cashed in on car-accident injuries, a lawsuit alleges. Hisham Elzanaty, 52, ran the "highly developed and sophisticated kickback scheme" for years, Allstate Insurance claims in a federal suit on Long Island. The scheme routinely submitted inflated medical bills to Allstate and involved illegal fee-splitting, court papers say. Allstate claimed that Elzanaty fraudulently incorporated medical professional corporations in The Bronx -- which were then used to bill the company for care of patients involved in wrecks. The operations were fraudulent because Elzanaty is not a licensed medical professional, as required by law, court papers say. Elzanaty did not return requests for comment.Read the full story here.
- US: Aid to Egypt conditional on peace with Israel.(JPost).Kay Granger tells ‘Post’ that level of Muslim Brotherhood involvement in new Egyptian government will impact US assistance, if PA goes through with UN statehood bid $500m. of US aid will be suspended. Washington’s $2 billion in annual aid to Egypt will be cut off if Cairo backs out of the peace treaty with Israel, Congresswoman Kay Granger – whose job as chairwoman of the US House appropriations foreign operations subcommittee means she literally writes America’s annual foreign aid bill – told The Jerusalem Post on Monday. “The United States aid to Egypt is predicated on the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, and so the relationship between Egypt and Israel is extremely important,” the eight-term Republican from Texas said in an interview. “As an appropriator I have two concerns: One thing is the continuing relationship between Egypt and Israel, and the other thing of course is what government we will be dealing with in Egypt, and what position the Muslim Brotherhood will play in this government.” Granger, here among a delegation of 25 Republican congressmen sponsored by the American Israel Educational Foundation, a charitable organization affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, said she is on record as saying that “if the treaty between Egypt and Israel is not continued, our financial support will not continue.”Everyone, she said, assumed the Muslim Brotherhood would have some role and some participation in the next Egyptian government, but what will impact the level of US assistance will be the level of its governmental control.She said all of this has been made clear to the Egyptians, and that at a meeting in March with transition head Field Marshal Muhammad Hussein Tantawi, the first thing she asked was whether the treaty with Israel would be honored.“The answer was yes,” she said.Read the full story here.
- UN’s Ban says Assad broke pledge to halt violence as death toll in Syria hits 2,200.(AlArabiya).UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday it was “troubling” that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had not kept a promise to end military and police operations against protesters, as the UN rights chief said more than 2,200 people have died in the Syrian regime’s crackdown. Assad had told Ban in a telephone conversation last Wednesday that the operations against the pro-democracy demonstrators had stopped.“It’s troubling that he has not kept his words,” Ban told reporters, according to Reuters. “I sincerely hope that he heeds ... all (the) international community’s appeals and calls.”The UN rights body, meanwhile, held an emergency meeting on Monday to press Assad to end a deadly crackdown on dissent, a day after he scoffed at Western calls to quit.More than 2,200 people have died in the Syrian regime’s crackdown, UN rights chief Navi Pillay told the Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva that was expected to condemn the bloodshed.“The gravity of on-going violations and the brutal attacks against the peaceful protesters in that country demand your continued attention,” he said, according to AFP.Assad on Sunday night rejected calls by US President Barack Obama and other world leaders to step down even as the regime of another autocratic Arab ruler, Libyan leader Muamer Qaddafi, was crumbling.The UN Human Rights Council met to consider a draft resolution deploring the “indiscriminate attacks” on Syrian demonstrators and seeking an end to the violence, a copy said.The text seen by AFP also underscores the need to send independent investigators to probe the government's crackdown on protesters.“As of today, over 2,200 people have been killed since mass protests began in mid-March, with more than 350 people reportedly killed across Syria since the beginning of Ramadan,” on August 1, said Pillay.The UN had previously estimated a death toll of 2,000.There was more bloodshed on Monday as five people were killed, including three shot dead by security forces who opened fire on protesters at a rally in Homs as a UN fact-finding team visited the central Syrian city.The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights which reported the killings said several people were also wounded in Homs.The crowds took to the streets when they heard the UN mission was in town, Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP by telephone, apparently to make their voices heard.“Three people were killed and several wounded when some shabiha (pro-regime militiamen) and members of the security forces opened fire,” he said. Before dawn on Monday, two other people were killed in Hama, also central Syria.The mission, which arrived Saturday for a five-day visit, began its work the next day in Damascus to assess humanitarian needs, officials said, and while the team was in the suburb of Douma protesters rallied against Assad.Despite global pressure mounting against his regime, Assad told state television late Sunday he would not quit power as demanded by world leaders.“While withholding comment, we tell them that their words are worthless,” Assad said in an interview.“Such remarks should not be made about a president who was chosen by the Syrian people and who was not put in office by the West, a president who was not made in the United States.”Assad, who has insisted his forces are battling “armed gangs” determined to sow chaos in his country, said “successes on the security front” had been made to allow for political reforms to go ahead.“The situation is now more reassuring,” he said, adding however that reforms would only come when security has been sealed. “A political solution can not be put in place if security is not preserved.”Assad said local elections would be held in December, to be followed by parliamentary polls in February after a new law on political parties comes into effect this week.On Monday, he signed a decree setting a commission--chaired by the prime minister and comprising a magistrate and two lawyers--tasked with legalizing political parties.On August 4, the embattled president signed a decree authorizing the creation of political parties alongside the ruling Baath party which has monopolized power for nearly five decades.Assad said Syria will reform at its own pace, ruling out bowing to Western demands.“When they speak of reforms, Western colonialist countries mean that we must give them everything they want, that we abandon resistance, that we abandon our rights.”“They shouldn’t even dream of it,” he said in his fourth television appearance since the start of the pro-democracy demonstrations on March 15.As he spoke Libyan rebels swept through large swathes of Tripoli, where two sons of strongman Qaddafi were arrested, while the veteran Libyan leader's whereabouts remained a mystery.Prominent Syrian opposition leader Fayez Sara said developments in Libya would have a “positive impact” on Syria but stressed that “the pulse of the street” was different in Damascus.The Syrian opposition has vowed to bring down Assad’s regime without foreign intervention.On Monday, the authorities released leading human rights activist Abdel Karim Rihawi, 11 days after he was detained, his lawyer said. Rights groups say more than 10,000 people have been put behind bars since mid-March.Read the full story here.
- China paper warns of impact from euro crisis "Black Death".(Reuters).BEIJING - The "Black Death" of debt crisis across the euro zone will hurt China by sapping demand for exports, although Beijing's relatively small holdings of euro assets will limit any damage to foreign exchange reserves, the nation's top official newspaper said on Monday.The bleak diagnosis for the euro's prospects appeared in the overseas edition of the People's Daily, the top newspaper of China's ruling Communist Party, in a commentary by a former central bank official and an economist for the state-owned China Development Bank.The commentary in the People's Daily does not reflect a definitive view from China's top leaders, but it suggests the euro zone's successive crises have stirred anxiety and debate in Beijing about the impact on China."The euro debt crisis has now been going for nearly two years since the end of 2009, and the sovereign debt crisis has spread like the Black Death of the fourteenth century across the euro zone countries," said the commentary, referring to the rodent-borne pandemic that devastated Europe.The commentary came days before French President Nicolas Sarkozy is due to meet Chinese President Hu Jintao in Beijing for impromptu talks that will probably focus on the recent turbulence in global financial markets."The spread of the euro debt crisis will not have as large an impact on our country's foreign exchange reserves as the U.S. sovereign debt downgrade, because euro assets make up far less of our country's foreign exchange reserves than the dollar," added the authors, Zhang Zhixiang, a former head of the People's Bank of China international department, and Zhang Chao, an economist for the China Development Bank."But the euro debt crisis will lead to a decline in real demand that will have a far-reaching impact on our country's real economy," they wrote.Read the full story here.
- Out of Control - The Destructive Power of the Financial Markets.(Spiegel). By SPIEGEL Staff. Speculators are betting against the euro, banks are taking incalculable risks and the markets are in turmoil. Three years after the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, the financial industry has become a threat to the global economy again. Governments missed the chance to regulate the industry, and another crash is just a matter of time.The enemy looks friendly and unpretentious. With his scuffed shoes and thinning gray hair, John Taylor resembles an elderly sociology professor. Books line the dark, floor-to-ceiling wooden shelves in his office in Manhattan, alongside a bust of Theodore Roosevelt and an antique telescope.Taylor is the chairman and CEO of FX Concepts, a hedge fund that specializes in currency speculation. It's the largest hedge fund of its kind worldwide, which is why Taylor is held partly responsible for the crash of the euro. Critics accuse Taylor and others like him of having exacerbated the government crisis in Greece and accelerated the collapse in Ireland. People like Taylor are "like a pack of wolves" that seeks to tear entire countries to pieces, said Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg. For that reason, they should be fought "without mercy," French President Nicolas Sarkozy raged. Andrew Cuomo, the former attorney general and current governor of New York, once likened short-sellers to "looters after a hurricane."The German tabloid newspaper Bild sharply criticized Taylor on its website, writing: "This man is betting against the euro." If that is what he is doing, he is certainly successful. While Greece is threatened with bankruptcy, Taylor is listed among the world's 25 highest-paid hedge fund managers.A well-read man, Taylor likes to philosophize about the Congress of Vienna and the Treaties of Rome. But is this man really out to speculate the euro to death? And does he have Greece on his conscience?Taylor grimaces and sighs. He was expecting these questions. "The big problem is that in some cases these politicians are looking for the easy way out and want to blame somebody else and say speculators are taking Europe apart, taking the euro down and ruining the prosperity of our country," he says, characterizing such charges against hedge fund managers as "nonsense." "My capital isn't the capital of the Rothschilds," he says, insisting that he is working with the "capital of the people," and that his goal is to protect and increase this capital. Taylor points out that no one from any of the German pension funds that invest their money with him has ever called him on the phone to tell him not to bet against the euro.Read the full story here.
- Global Land Grab: Fear of unrest and hunger for profit are sparking massive acquisitions of farmland.By Terry J. Allen.Blacklistednews.A 21st-century land rush is on. Driven by fear and lured by promises of high profits, foreign investors are scooping up vast tracts of farmland in some of the world’s hungriest countries to grow crops for export.As the climate changes and populations shift and grow, billions of people around the globe face shortages of land and water, rising food prices and increasing hunger. Alarm over a future without affordable food and water is sparking unrest in a world already tinder-dried by repression and recession, corruption and mismanagement, boundary disputes and ancient feuds, ethnic tension and religious fundamentalism.World leaders feel the heat. Calling food security concerns “extremely significant,” a 2009 U.N. report noted, “The acquisition of land internationally is one possible strategic choice to address the challenge.”Fortunately for nervous rulers, the strategy of growing food abroad as shelter against the fires of revolution dovetails nicely with the goals of private and public capital. Governments drawing on sovereign wealth funds, and rich investors accessing state subsidies, have negotiated deals to acquire tens of millions of acres of farmland in Africa, South America and South Asia. When they export the food to their home countries, the valuable water used to grow the crops will ride along as a free bonus.The largest investors in foreign croplands hail from China, India and South Korea, along with Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich Gulf states. What these countries have in common is that all were shaken financially or politically by the 2007-08 food crisis. And all lack sufficient land or water to ensure that they can feed their populations in the coming years–especially if, as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warns, climate change continues to “exacerbate land degradation and water scarcity in many places, and to increase the frequency of extreme weather events affecting harvests.”Read the full story here.
- Who is Anna Hazare?(NDTV).He once contemplated suicide and even wrote a two-page essay on why he wanted to end his life. Anna Hazare was not driven to such a pass by circumstances. He wanted to live no more because he was frustrated with life and wanted an answer to the purpose of human existence.The story goes that one day at the New Delhi Railway Station, he chanced upon a book on Swami Vivekananda. Drawn by Vivekananda's photograph, he is quoted as saying that he read the book and found his answer - that the motive of his life lay in service to his fellow humans.Today, Anna Hazare is the face of India's fight against corruption. He has taken that fight to the corridors of power and challenged the government at the highest level. People, the common man and well-known personalities alike, are supporting him in the hundreds swelling to the thousands.For Anna Hazare, it is another battle. And he has fought quite a few, Including some as a soldier for 15 years in Indian Army. He enlisted after the 1962 Indo-China war when the government exhorted young men to join the Army.In 1978, he took voluntary retirement from the 9th Maratha Battalion and returned home to Ralegaon Siddhi, a village in Maharashtra's drought-prone Ahmadnagar. He was 39 years old.He found farmers back home struggling for survival and their suffering would prompt him to pioneer rainwater conservation that put his little hamlet on the international map as a model village.The villagers revere him. Thakaram Raut, a school teacher in Ralegaon Siddhi says, "Thanks to Anna's agitations, we got a school, we got electricity, we got development schemes for farmers.''Anna Hazare's fight against corruption began here. He fought first against corruption that was blocking growth in rural India. His organization - the Bhrashtachar Virodhi Jan Andolan (People's movement against Corruption). His tool of protest - hunger strikes. And his prime target - politicians.Maharashtra stalwarts like Sharad Pawar and Bal Thackeray have often called his style of agitation nothing short of "blackmail".But his weapon is potent. In 1995-96, he forced the Sena-BJP government in Maharashtra to drop two corrupt Cabinet Ministers. In 2003, he forced the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) state government to set up an investigation against four ministers. In April this year, four days of fasting brought thousands of people out in support of his crusade against corruption. They also made the government realise it could not be dismissive about Anna Hazare and his mass appeal. His relationship with the UPA government continues to be uneasy. The truce of April was short-lived. An exercise to set up a joint committee made up of equal numbers of government representatives and civil society activists, including Anna Hazare came to naught when the two sides failed to agree and drafted two different Lok Pal Bills. The government has brought its version in Parliament and Team Anna is livid. The Gandhian is soldiering on. From one battle to another in his war against corruption. He fought from the front to have Right to Information (RTI) implemented. He is now fighting for the implementation of the Jan Lokpal Bill, the anti-corruption bill drafted by his team of crusaders.This year, more than 30 years after Anna Hazare started his crusade, as the 74-year-old plans a second hunger strike in Delhi against large-scale corruption at the national level. Nothing really has changed except the scale of his battle.Read the full story here.
- Political source: We cannot rush into war.(Ynet).Jerusalem is struggling to explain what has been criticized at its lax response to the escalation in southern Israel over the weekend.A senior political source told Ynet on Monday that, "You cannot rush into war. It would be a mistake to allow a murderous terror cell to drag us into war in Gaza." The decision to defer any ground operation in the Gaza Strip, he added, stemmed from the need "to make any such decision in a responsible, smart manner. You don't rush into war, nor do you enter it carelessly. "The entire Middle East is boiling over now, and we have to choose our path very carefully," he said. "We have to look at the entire region and decide how it could be affected, and what the consequences may be for us. It would be a mistake to get dragged into a war." Jerusalem sources stressed that despite the armistice the IDF will continue thwarting terror attacks. A political source said that as long as the Gaza groups maintain the lull, Israel "will not instigate an operation in Gaza and will not target tunnels"; further qualifying that "If terror cells are detected, they will be destroyed without qualms. We will not take any chances in that respect." The armistice, another senior source in Jerusalem said, was declared by Hamas unilaterally and without negotiations with Israel, Egypt or the United States. In a statement made earlier Monday, Hamas spokesman Taher al-Nunu said that Gaza's rulers "have reached an understanding on the ceasefire issue between the factions and Israel. The factions all confirmed that they are committed to the same points that Israel has committed to." The government suffered harsh public criticism over what many have called its lame response to the worst rocket salvo to hit the south since Operation Cast Lead, but according to one Jerusalem source, "at the end of the day it all comes down to the results." The Gaza groups, he noted, were the ones to ask for a ceasefire: "They understood where the wind was blowing. Would I like to see a group that threatens to abduct Israelis getting hit harder? Of course. But the question is, where do you go from there? "One difference between analysts and the prime minister can be described in one word – responsibility. Where would we be, if the PM's only consideration was the math of how many we have killed versus how many they have killed. It is a consideration, but it should never be the only one." Once of the issues discussed over the rocket-riddled weekend was the need to acquire more Iron Dome batteries: "Each additional battery means another city that's at lesser risk."We have to ask whether going into war while cities are unprotected is prudent, but that's not the kind of question you ask when an order is given to strike a terror cell." Any wide scale operation will require meticulous preparation by the IDF, he added: "We will be better prepared for any future war, should it happen. But that doesn’t mean we want war. We just need to be ready, should we need to take action, but a country doesn’t rush into war."Hmmm.......What if every inhabitant of Gaza is a "terror cell"?Read the full story here.
- Syria for PKK: The US-Turkish deal in the region.(EKurd).By Raber Y. Aziz.Turkish fighter planes have started to bombard northern Iraqi Kurdistan Region since Wednesday. So far, they have strike over 250 targets in the mountainous region of Qandil Mountain, Avashin, Khwakurk and Zap and other territories.The latest Turkish strike in Sangasar sub-district, north west of Sulaimaniyah city, left at least six civilians dead who were so charred dismembered by the rocket fire that they couldn't even be identified.All this is happening amid silence of the Iraqi government and their Kurdish authorities in Kurdistan have only "protested" against the attacks that have displaced hundreds of families and damaged villages by releasing a statement calling on the Kurdish separatist group, namely the PJAK and PKK, to not use Kurdish territories to stage cross border attacks against the neighboring countries. The Kurdistan Regional Government KRG and the Iraqi government are too weak to be able to sound a firm attitude towards the Turkish attacks on Kurdish territories. And the international community is also turning a blind eye.Some believe that these attacks by the Turkish military on alleged PKK hideouts in northern Iraq were part of Erdogan's promises in the elections. I believe that Turkey always wanted to attack the northern Iraq, but the US was hindering its designs. And these attacks came only after the US gave Turkey the green light to do so, but this is part of a deal between the countries: Syria for PKK.Turkey was understood as trying to convince Syrian authorities to do reforms because it did not want its long-standing ally to fall - that could open the borders open to Kurdish separatist groups to infiltrate into Turkey. Turkey also opposed US plans to impose more sanctions against Syria.On August 18, as US president Barack Obama called on the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to step down accusing him of "torture and slaughter" against his own people,the Turkish planes bombed targets in northern territories of Kurdistan Region.The same day, Obama ordered to freeze Syrian government assets in the United States, banned U.S. citizens from operating in or investing in Syria and prohibited U.S. imports of Syrian oil products.What is going on here is a US-Turkish deal whereby the US will allow the Turkish forces to stage air strikes against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq, in return, Turkey will not oppose US sanctions on Syria and its efforts to bring the Assad regime down.Hmmm......What else did Obama and Erdogan agree on during their weekly 'phonecalls'?........Boycot Israel anyone?Read the full story here.
- Justice "Turkish way" - Prisoners despite lack of any evidence.(HurriyetDaily).Two university students who participated in a pro-Kurdish rally in 2009 and have been in prison ever since, despite the prosecutor’s request for their release, plan to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.Baran Nayır and Ali Deniz Kılıç were accused by police of carrying six Molotov cocktails during a protest meeting in Istanbul organized by the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP. Fingerprint analysis conducted on the incendiary devices that finally reached the court a year and a half after the incident indicated no resemblance between the prints found on the bombs and those of the two suspects.In its last hearing July 28, the court nonetheless decided to keep Nayır and Kılıç in the Tekirdağ F-Type Prison. The lawyer for the two students, Murat Ato, intends to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights. The next court hearing in Turkey is scheduled for Dec. 20.Nayır and Kılıç were among nine young people apprehended by the police in Istanbul’s Ümraniye district Dec. 6, 2009, during a BDP rally demanding better prison conditions for Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. The two students, both members of the Socialist Democracy Party, or SDP, were apprehended as they were breaking off from the crowd to leave the area, having realized the tension was mounting on Kürkçüler Avenue, where the protest was in full swing.A prison term of up to 29 years was subsequently demanded for Nayır and Kılıç, who were charged with “membership in an armed organization” and “carrying hazardous materials.”Two of the other suspects who were apprehended along with Nayır and Kılıç were released during the first trial May 12, 2010, in the 10th Istanbul Court for Serious Crimes.Adem Bulut and Erdinç Yılmaz, the two police officers who signed the official police report indicating that Nayır and Kılıç were in possession of the Molotov cocktails, testified in court during the second trial Oct. 12, 2010.The two officers claimed it was the riot police who had apprehended Nayır and Kılıç, but who found the devices and alleged they belonged to the two students remained unclear.Prosecutor Kasım İlimoğlu requested during the third trial March 17, 2011, that the two suspects be released. While the remaining suspects involved in the protest rally were released, Nayır and Kılıç continued to remain in custody due to “strong doubt” that they had not been involved in the alleged crime.Hmmmm.......If you can arrest Generals and journalists without any proof, how easy is it then to arrest students?Read the full story here.
- Kurds In Europe Protest Turkish Anti-PKK Operations.(Aina).Around 100 Kurds protested The Hague in support of armed Kurdish rebel groups and shouted slogans against Turkish prime minister on Friday.Demonstrators targeted recent Turkish and Iranian military operations against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), shouting slogans like "Killer Erdogan," and "Long live the leader Ocalan," in reference to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan.Turkey has carried out dozens of strikes against the PKK in northern Iraq since Wednesday while Iran has stepped up cross-border attacks over the past few weeks against PJAK, an offshoot of the PKK. PKK attacks have killed more than 30 soldiers over the past month.Attacks have been continuing since Wednesday night and Ankara vowed Sunday to continue the cross-border operations until the Kurdish militants are eliminated. PKK attacks have killed more than 30 soldiers in the last month.Aydin Batman, who helped organize the protest in Holland's third-largest city, told Rudaw that he expects more protests in Europe against the Turkish and Iranian operations targeting the PKK."While Turkey criticizes Syria, they are bombing the Kurds," Batman said. "We as patriots living in the Netherlands should definitely not accept this destruction, and genocide [against Kurds]."Mariwan Muhammad, 30, a protestor who is originally from Sulaimani in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, told Rudaw, "Europe and America are against Syria, and Turkey condemns Syria. Why Turkey doesn't help us Kurds? They are playing games with Iran."The protestors planned to demonstrate in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but police banned them from holding a protest.There have been several protests in Europe in the capitals of Sweden, France, Switzerland, and the Netherlands organized by associations related to the Confederation of Kurdish Associations in Europe, which Turkey maintains is pro-PKK organization.On August 8, pro-PKK protestors camped out in front of the Dutch Ministry of Justice against Iranian operations targeting PJAK in Iraqi Kurdistan's Qandil mountains.Emrullah Uslu, a Turkish terrorism expert at Yeditepe University in Istanbul, told Rudaw, "it seems that the PKK is trying to mobilize the masses against the operations, and ease the European pressure on the PKK."Hmmmmm.......Erdogan Judge.....Jury....and Executioner?Don't Kurds deserve a trial?Read the full story here.
- Iraq - Police forces in Sulaimani, Kurdistan’s second biggest city, have launched a campaign to locate and close down “prostitution houses”.(Urmiye).Iraqi Kurdistan -- Police forces in Sulaimani, Kurdistan’s second biggest city, have launched a campaign to locate and close down “prostitution houses” following recent media reports that there are around 400 such houses in the city.Lieutenant Iqbal Muhammad of Sulaimani police department told Rudaw that plaincloth police officers monitor certain homes suspected of being prostitution parlors.In late July, the prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Barham Salih, telephoned Sulaimani’s mayor asking him to close down prostitution sites in the city and detain the prostitutes.According to police figures obtained by Rudaw, more than 100 prostitutes have been detained and handed over to the courts since the beginning of this year. Twenty prostitution houses had already been closed down and following the prime minister’s order 28 more houses were closed and around 30 people suspected of involvement in the prostitution business have been arrested.Lt. Muhammad said that most of the detained prostitutes are from other Iraqi cities outside the Kurdistan Region and they have been deported to their cities.Sulaimani police chief, Salar Abdullah, said, “Our problem is that those houses are secret locations. So we need tip-offs from people to locate them.” Abdullah said this police crackdown in the provincial capital may force some of the prostitution rings to go to other towns and cities.A Kurdish prostitute who wanted to be identified as Rishna has been working in the business for nearly four years. “Every (prostitution) ring keeps you for four or five months then hands you over to another ring because that way they can ensure they are not discovered,” she said. Rishna said that she was recently handed over to another prostitution band because her previous boss felt the police noose was tightening around his band.Rishna said that every night she made around $20-$180. However, she said, Arab prostitutes are more expensive and charge their clients more than the Kurdish women.Read the full story here.
- Al-Turki case to be reviewed next week in the US.(ArabNews).RIYADH: Humaidan Al-Turki, a Saudi research student who was convicted in 2006 in the United States of abusing his maid, will come up before a parole committee at Limon Correctional Facility, Colorado, on Monday in a fresh bid to be discharged.Al-Turki was sentenced in August 2006 to 28 years in prison on 12 felony counts of false imprisonment, unlawful sexual contact with his Indonesian housekeeper, theft and criminal extortion.But Al-Turki, on appeal, got his sentence reduced. He received a revised sentence of eight years in February this year, instead of the 28-year imprisonment he was handed by a Colorado court.According to Al-Turki’s family spokesperson Fahd Al-Nassar, the defense team has filed for a parole hearing after Al-Turki had completed half of his sentence.Hmmmm....He wouldn't be by any chance related to Sulaiman Al-Turki Deputy Minister at The Saudi Ministry of Finance?Read the full story here.
- Ahmadinejad unveils new marine missile, torpedo.(AlArabiya).President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad unveiled a short range marine missile and a torpedo system Tuesday as Iran marked its annual “Defense Industry Day,” state media reported.“Qader (Able) missile, built by the capable hands of Iranian experts, is a marine cruise missile with a 200 kilometer (120 mile) range, possessing high destructive ability which can be used against coastal targets and warships,” the state television website reported.Ahmadinejad also unveiled a torpedo system called “Valfajr (The Dawn) to be used by submarines.It has a payload of 220 kilograms (485 pounds) and can be used in shallow and deep water, the website said, adding that the unveiling ceremony was held at Malek Ashtar University in Tehran which has close links to the Revolutionary Guards, the elite military force.Both weapons were “successfully tested,” the website said.It quoted Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi as saying that Iran was now “locally” producing the equipment and weapons systems for the navy.Iran has increased in the past two years the development, testing and unveiling of new “indigenous” military equipment, including missiles.These weapons are always accompanied by warnings against any potential aggressor, sometimes explicitly directed at the Islamic republic’s arch foes, Israel and the US forces deployed in the region.Read the full story here.
- Shariah Abolished for Greek Muslims.(GreekReporter).According to an article of the Greek newspaper “Eleftherotypia”, under the scope of reforms in the Greek Family Law, the Shariah will be abolished for Greek Muslims.This Muslim law establishes among others the right of polygamy and gives only to men the right to divorce their wives which constitutes a problem for the women in Thraki, Northern Greece. Even in Turkey, this law was abolished in 1926.In addition, this law does not comply with the Greek constitution which establishes the equality of Greeks regarding the application of the laws and the equality of men and women. The National Committee on the Human Rights considers that the Shariah does not protect minorities but abuses the rights and values of all the Greek Muslims.It is also announced that the family and hereditary relations of all Greek citizens will be regulated by Greek Laws. Thus, the Mufti will only be religious leader of Greek Muslims and will no longer have judicial authorities.Read the full story here.
- Mayan Secrets to Be Revealed by Mexican Government in '2012' Doc.(Reuters).The Mexican government is releasing state-held secrets about the end of the Mayan calendar to the makers of a documentary, "Revelations of the Mayans 2012 and Beyond," TheWrap has learned.The information -- protected for 80 years -- is expected to reveal Mayan beliefs in future catastrophes and wisdom characterized as "shocking," producer Raul Julia-Levy, son of actor Raul Julia, told TheWrap.The end of the Mayan calendar in December 2012 has long given rise to theories and speculation about the end of the world.The agreement will allow Julia-Levy to film in never-before-seen locations."The Mayans used to construct one pyramid over another," tourism minister for the Mexican state of Campeche Luis Augusto Garcia Rosado told TheWrap. "In the site at Calakmul (pictured below right), workers for INAH [the National Institute of Anthropology and History] have discovered rooms inside the pyramid that have never been seen or explored before."And we're letting this documentary film there, to see what has been discovered inside the pyramid." Julia-Levy (above) said he'd been made aware of the secret Mayan information by former Mexican president Vicente Fox -- a friend of his family -- and that it took four years of phone calls to finally get the OK from current president Felipe Calderon."This is very important for humanity, not just for Mexico," said Julia-Levy. "This information has been protected for 80 years, and now it's important for people to understand the series of events that are coming, and the consequences for all of us."At one point, Rosado was quoted in a press release talking about contact between the Mayans and extraterrestrials. That statement has been recalled, and Rosado now paints this as a simpler, more archaeological-oriented documentary"I can just say that the Mexican government is preparing to tell humanity and the world things that are critical for us, for the way we live, for the way we've been handling the planet."Read the full story here.