Friday, November 18, 2011
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation New Zealand 6.1 -5.8 - 5.7 - 5.2 ; Portugal 5.3 ; papua New Guinea 5.1!More info here.
- Europe - Nuclear Event in MultiCountries situation update on Wednesday, 16 November..Here.
- Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.
- Canary Islands - El Hierro earthquake and volcano eruption – Update 21. here , Live webcams here and here.
- Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians back in Cairo’s Tahrir square with Islamists in the forefront.(AlArabiya).Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians rallied Friday in Cairo’s Tahrir square with Islamists in the forefront to protest against what they say are attempts by the country’s military rulers to designate themselves as the guardians of a new Egypt. It was one of the largest rallied in Egypt in recent months.Most rallies in Tahrir have been led by liberal- or left-leaning groups. But Friday’s rally was dominated by the country’s most organized political group, the Muslim Brotherhood, which has rarely come out in full force since the protests that forced President Hosni Mubarak to step down in February.The Brotherhood had until recently avoided confrontation with the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, but now warns of escalating its protest campaign if plans to give permanent political powers to the military are not scrapped.“The army has no role in ruling people. Its only job is to protect the country. We want civilian rule chosen through democracy,” said Hani Hegazi, a 28-year old Brotherhood member who traveled by bus to Tahrir from the Delta province of el-Beheira, according to The Associated Press.Banners read: “Down with military rule. Egypt our country is not a military camp.” Some demonstrators flew the Egyptian flag, while others including ultraconservative Salafis waved a banner declaring Islam's holy book, the Quran, to be “our constitution.”The rally was called to protest a document floated by the government which declares the military the guardian of “constitutional legitimacy,” suggesting the armed forces could have the final word on major policies even after a new president is elected. The document, which includes guiding principles for Egypt's new constitution, also introduces clauses that would shield it from civilian oversight.Most of Egypt’s pro-democracy groups object to the document, calling it an attempt to perpetuate military rule past the post-Mubarak transitional period which is supposed to end with the election of a new parliament and a new president.Delivering the Muslim prayer sermon, imam Mazhar Shahin urged protesters to keep defending the goals of the revolution.“Perhaps those who rule us think we will forget our cause with the passage of time. They are deluded and mistaken,” he warned the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which took power when Mubarak was ousted.“We reject the imposition of dictates on the people, we reject Silmi’s document. No voice can drown out the voice of the people,” Shahin told the crowd.“Those who fear Islamist movements in Egypt, I tell them don’t be scared of Islam in Egypt,” Shahin said, AFP reported.“Egypt is Islamic, like it or not... We want a civic democratic state with an Islamic vision that allows people to practice their rights and democracy,” he said.In addition to the Brotherhood, Salafis, left- and liberal-leaning groups such as the April 6 movement and other youth revolutionary alliances have joined the rally, demanding a timetable for the end of military rule which began in February.They have called for marches from mosques around Egypt to major squares, dubbing it the “Friday of the Single Demand” - that demand being a clear date for the transfer of power to civilian rule. Many groups have planned to hold an open ended sit-in until a date has been set.The Brotherhood says the document reinforces “dictatorship.”Walid Farouk, 32, who wore the heavy beard and traditional robe of the ultraconservative Salafi trend, said that Egypt had seen nothing good from military rule since the army took power in 1952.“All of us are scared that the army could try to hold on to power,” he told AP. “It is time for a civilian government.”The writing of Egypt’s constitution has been a divisive issue, and details of who will write it and what it contains are at the heart of the recent rally.Some liberals have supported the idea of writing guiding principles for the constitution, fearing that a parliament controlled by Islamists would insert religious principles into the document.Hmmm....The gloves come off and the hardline Islamists rise?So much for 'moderate' Muslim Brotherhood.Read the full story here.
- Russia warships to enter Syria waters in bid to stem foreign intervention.(Haaretz).Russian warships are due to arrive at Syrian territorial waters, a Syrian news agency said on Thursday, indicating that the move represented a clear message to the West that Moscow would resist any foreign intervention in the country's civil unrest. Also on Friday, a Syrian official said Damascus has agreed "in principle" to allow an Arab League observer mission into the country.But the official said Friday that Syria was still studying the details. The official asked not to be named because the issue is so sensitive. The Arab League suspended Syria earlier this week over its deadly crackdown on an eight-month-old uprising. The 22-member body has proposed sending hundreds of observers to the country to try to help end the bloodshed. The report came a day after a draft resolution backed by Arab and European countries and the United States was submitted to the United Nations General Assembly, seeking to condemn human rights violations in the on-going violence in Syria. Jordan, Morocco, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia were among Arab states that joined Germany, Britain, and France to sponsor the draft submitted to the assembly's human rights committee. In Washington, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the U.S. would sign on as a co-sponsor of the resolution. The draft demanded an end to violence, respect of human rights and implementation by Damascus of a plan of action of the Arab League. The move comes as clashes escalated in Syria and after Russia and China used their veto in October to block a Security Council resolution that would have condemned the Syrian government of President Bashir for the violence. Such a veto is not applicable in the 193-nation assembly, which will consider the issue after the human rights committee reports back to it.Read the full story here.
- Report: Arab Nations Pressing for Iran Strike by Year's end.(INN).Newly acquired intelligence reports indicate several Arab countries in the Middle East are lobbying the US to strike Iran this year, Israel's Channel 10 reported.According to the report, which is said to be making its rounds in Britain's political circles, Saudi Arabia wants the Obama administration to attack Iran's nuclear facilities before the final withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.US president has vowed to close the door on American military involvement in Iraq by year’s end, but Riyadh is reportedly afraid Iran will use the American exit to take over the country.Since 2008, officials in the Iraqi interim government have complained to Washington that both Iran and Saudi Arabia were, respectively, funding the Shiite and Sunni insurgencies that have plagued the country since the US-led invasion that toppled late dictator Sadam Hussein.Security experts say Baghdad's security forces are unprepared to confront the rival insurgencies that hold Iraq in their grip - and that Obama's dogged drive to fulfill his campaign promise may have disastrous consequences both for the region and US interests.Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab allies have been locked in a strategic battle with Iran for hegemony over the Persian Gulf - and have accused Tehran of seeking to destabilize the region through its ‘Shiite Diaspora.Gulf Arab leaders have sought to exert pressure on Iran and its regional allies - most notably Syrian president Bashar al-Assad - by allying themselves with Western powers opposed to Tehran's aggressive posture.They have also joined western powers in targeting Iran's nuclear program, which they see as targeting them first and foremost - rather than Israel, who Iran has threatened repeatedly with destruction.Suadia Arabia has also said, should Iran obtain nuclear weapons, Riyahd will seek them as well - raising the specter of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Analysts say this may be a lever to spur Obama to alter course from his current passive, sanctions-driven posture towards Iran.Despite this, Arab powers have been reticent to publicly call for an Iran strike - which has been a high profile part of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's diplomatic agenda.Instead, observers say, they have sought to work behind the scenes to avoid being seen as working in concert with Israel.Read the full story here.
- Van Jones on Occupy Wall Street: ‘You Haven’t Seen Anything Yet’.(TheBlaze). Van Jones offered a prediction Wednesday for those who have been watching the Occupy Wall Street movement: "You haven’t seen anything yet." The former Obama administration "green jobs czar" — an ardent supporter of the Occupy movement since its inception — said in an interview with CNN that the movement is ready to evolve into the areas of politics and policy-making, much like the Tea Party did in 2010. (Related: What connections does Beck make between Van Jones’ revolution group & Occupy Wall Street?) "You’re going to see an [R]evolution now as you go from protests, keep the protests, but now expand into politics," Jones said. "And if you thought there was an earthquake in 2010 when the Tea Party moved into politics, wait until this 99 percent movement moves over into politics. You haven’t seen anything yet." Jones said the movement is "going to be recruiting 2,000 candidates to run for office now under this 99 percent banner" as Occupy Wall Street enters "phase two." "Phase two, you move from anger to answers. You move from pointing out the problem to pointing out the solutions," Jones said. "What you’re going to see now is you have the Occupy movement at the center, that’s the beating heart." Jones said despite New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s eviction of protesters from Zuccotti Park, "you can‘t put toothpaste back in the tube and you can’t evict an idea." Hmmm........Obama's 'army' going for civil war?Read the full story here.
- Excellent News: Self-Described 'Militant Marxist-Leninist Skinhead' Heads Obama's Political Action Wing. (DougRoss).Barack Obama's personal political action wing -- don't call them modern day brown-shirts! -- is "Organizing For America", or OFA. Among OFA's leaders is a self-described "Marxist-Leninist Skinhead" who is also behind the Young Communist League.Yesterday we released a video of John Bachtell, a national board member from the Communist Party U.S.A., addressing the bongo-banging, spoiled, suburban run-aways at the #OccupyChicago tent city and an interview with a few of his “fellow travelers” in the march....Farrar, seen in the white C.P. USA shirt, is not only a Young Communist League leader, but he is also a member of Barack Obama’s Organizing for America and he organized a rally in 2009 for OFA to support President Obama’s health care bill. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) was featured guest at Farrar’s event as well....Jordan is a self-described “militant anti-racist anti-fascist Marxist-Leninist skinhead... fight[ing] along with my comrades for a better world through peace, equality, democracy and by creating a socialist America to put an end to the imperialist and capitalist aggression that has been carried out in the name of the American people.”“Another world is possible, another United States is necessary!”In other words, a prominent Obama supporter is also an advocate for the overthrow of the United States government.As an aside, can anyone tell me when it become acceptable for a member of the Democrat Party to be an avowed, militant Communist? I'm just looking for this year happened so I can figure out when this political party became infected with such a virulent strain of anti-Americanism.Hmmmm.......I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes. ~ Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776.Read the full story here.
- Obama Admin Broke Law to Push Abortion in Kenya.(LifeNews).An investigation by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), into the Obama Administration’s use of $18 million in taxpayer funds to provide funding for a group pushing legalized abortion in Kenya finds the administration broke the law.The investigation by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, shows at least one Obama grantee openly pushed to expand abortion in Kenya despite a long-standing, annually renewed law that prohibits U.S. tax dollars from being used to lobby for or against abortion in other countries (known as the Siljander Amendment).The GAO report also reveals that a key Obama official stonewalled investigators and refused to cooperate with the GAO in its investigation of the activities initiated by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the State Department during the 2010 constitutional referendum in Kenya.“The Obama Administration basically hired surrogates to do its dirty work of abortion promotion in Kenya,” said Congressman Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican who is the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights.“U.S. policy on international constitutional reform is, by law, supposed to be abortion-neutral” Smith said. “This new report shows that at a minimum the Obama Administration ignored the prohibition with the end result being a new Kenyan constitution that vastly expands access to abortion in Kenya, courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer.”“That a high-ranking official in the Obama Administration, Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, Maria Otero, chose not to cooperate with the GAO as they uncovered procedural and funding problems begs for further investigation and review,” Smith said. “What else might they be hiding?”In May 2010, Smith teamed up with Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and requested the GAO investigation. The GAO report, made publicly available on Monday, shows that the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) received $400,000 from USAID to provide analyses of the draft constitution to the Kenyans’ Committee of Experts (COE), the body primarily responsible for drafting and finalizing the constitution. The IDLO seized the opportunity to blatantly advocate for the legalization of abortion in Kenya in its communications with the Kenyans prior to the vote on the new constitution.A prior USAID report indicates the Obama administration spent $61.2 million related to the vote on the Kenya constitution, with $12.6 million going to efforts to directly promote the pro-abortion constitution.The GAO indicates that the IDLO provided advice “on the issues of fetal rights and abortion, though the draft had not mentioned either issue at this point. Specifically, the IDLO report advised that the COE might consider adding language to make clear that the fetus lacks constitutional standing, and that the rights of women under these articles therefore take priority. IDLO also provided examples of countries whose courts have held that fetal rights to life serve as a partial barrier to the ability of national legislatures to protect… the legal right of access to abortion.”In its report, GAO also quoted IDLO as advising the Kenyans that “[I]n the coming years, the Kenyan Parliament may wish to take such measures. One way to handle this would be to modify [the constitution] to make clear that a person is a human being who has been born.“The IDLO communications to the Kenyans introduced the abortion issue into the constitutional debate, ‘advised’ the Kenyans to include language in the constitution that clearly supported the legalization of abortion, and expressed opposition to later proposed language that would have restricted access to abortion,” Smith explained. “If this isn’t lobbying, what is?”With regard to the stonewalling by the Obama Administration official, Smith said “It actually comes as little surprise that Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, Maria Otero, ignored repeated requests from the GAO to question her regarding her activities in Kenya.”GAO informed Smith’s office that Otero failed to respond to multiple requests for meetings.Otero, whose portfolio includes population issues, traveled to Kenya from November 29 to December 2, 2010 in her official capacity, and met with Prime Minister Odinga, senior government officials and civil society representatives. She previously traveled in Kenya with Ms. Phoebe Asyio, a commissioner on the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission and chair of the Kenyan Caucus for Women’s Leadership (CWL), who advocated for and later lauded the legalization of abortion in Kenya as a result of the new constitution.“In light of the law, Otero’s activities raise serious questions that she apparently did not want to answer,” Smith said.Political reform in Kenya was – and continues to be – an extremely important undertaking in light of the 2007 violence that claimed approximately 1, 300 lives and displaced tens of thousands more in that country.“There are justifiable concerns that the deadly upheaval could be repeated with the elections in 2012 unless dramatic reforms are in place,” Smith noted. “However, this needed reform should not be used by pro-abortion groups funded by the Obama Administration to rewrite the pro-life laws of Kenya.”Smith noted that even after its clear violation of the lobbying prohibition, the IDLO continues to receive U.S. funding to play a central role in the drafting of laws implementing the new constitution.Read the full story here.
- FBI releases 2010 Hate Crime Data.(ReligionClause). The FBI yesterday released its report on 2010 Hate Crime Statistics. (Full text of report.) Of the 6,224 single bias incidents reported in 2010, 20% were motivated by religious bias-- second only to racially motivated hate crimes which accounted for 47.3% of the incidents. Sexual orientation bias was involved in 19.3% of the single bias incidents. Of the 1,409 hate crimes offenses motivated by religious bias, 65.4% were anti-Jewish; 13.2% were anti-Islamic; 4.3% were anti-Catholic; 3.8% were anti-multiple; 3.3% were anti-Protestant; 0.5% were anti-Atheism/Agnosticism/etc.; and 9.5% involved various other religions. The 6,628 total hate crime incidents in 2010 amounted to an insignificant increase over the 6,604 incidents reported for 2009. (See prior posting.) ADL issued a press release commenting on the 2010 data and decrying the fact that numerous law enforcement agencies around the country failed to report their hate crime data to the FBI.Read the full story here.
- GE Filed 57,000-Page Tax Return, Paid No Taxes on $14 Billion in Profits.(WeeklyStandard).General Electric, one of the largest corporations in America, filed a whopping 57,000-page federal tax return earlier this year but didn't pay taxes on $14 billion in profits. The return, which was filed electronically, would have been 19 feet high if printed out and stacked.Ken Kies, a tax lawyer who represents GE, confirmed to THE WEEKLY STANDARD the tax return would have been 57,000 pages had it been filed on paper. The size of GE's tax return has more than doubled in the last five years.Ryan used the data point to underscore the irrationality of the corporate income tax code. He also contrasted GE with UPS to make the point that the corporate income tax code doesn't make sense. "UPS paid a 34 percent effective tax rate," while its biggest foreign competitor, DHL, paid a 24 percent tax rate, Ryan said. Read the full story here.
- Pentagon Successfully Tests Flying Bomb.(INN).The Pentagon held a successful test flight of a flying bomb that travels faster than the speed of sound on Thursday, AFP reported.The bomb will give military planners the ability to strike targets anywhere in the world in less than a hour, the report said.The “Advanced Hypersonic Weapon,” or AHW, was launched by rocket from Hawaii and proceeded to glide through the upper atmosphere over the Pacific “at hypersonic speed” before hitting its target on the Kwajalein atoll in the Marshall Islands, a Pentagon statement said.Kwajalein is located about 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers) southwest of Hawaii. The Pentagon did not say what top speeds were reached by the vehicle, which is maneuverable.Hypersonic speeds are classified by scientists as those that exceed five times the speed of sound -- 3,728 miles (6,000 kilometers) an hour, AFP said.A Pentagon spokeswoman told the French-based news agency the test aimed to gather data on “aerodynamics, navigation, guidance and control, and thermal protection technologies.”The U.S. Army’s AHW project is part of the “Prompt Global Strike” program which seeks to give the U.S. military the means to deliver conventional weapons anywhere in the world within an hour.The timing of the test may raise some eyebrows, in the wake of the recent controversy regarding Iran’s nuclear program.In its latest report, the IAEA said last week that it was able to build an overall “credible” impression that Iranian were engaged in carrying out “activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device.”Iran has dismissed the report as “baseless.” Nevertheless, there has been wide speculation of a military attack on Iran which might be launched by Israel.Recent reports suggested that the U.S. might also support a strike on Iran’s nuclear program: The Obama administration is reportedly considering arming Qatar with huge bunker buster bombs, raising the possibility of an American-Israel-Arab attack on Iran.Read the full story here.
- Phoenix Europe - How the EU Can Emerge from the Ashes.(Spiegel).The old European Union didn't work, that much has been made clear by the ongoing debt crisis. But many in Europe think there is now a clear path to a new, more integrated -- and smaller -- bloc. What must happen first? Greater democracy and less nation-state sovereignty. Read the full story here.
- Israel to help Kenya fight al Shabaab militia.(DefenceWeb).Israel is willing to help Kenya fight al Shabaab militia in Somalia, the Kenyan Prime Minister’s office has said.The BBC says that during Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s visit to Israel the Kenyan government received backing from Israel to “rid its territory of fundamentalist elements.”In a statement, Odinga's office quoted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as saying that "Kenya's enemies are Israel's enemies"."We have similar forces planning to bring us down. I see it as an opportunity to strengthen ties."Odinga said that Israel could help Kenya’s police detect and destroy al Shabaab’s networks in Kenya. He also said that Israel needed to supply vehicles for border patrols and maritime surveillance equipment to curb piracy off the East African coast."We need to be able to convincingly ensure homeland security," Odinga said.Netanyahu as promising to help build a "coalition against fundamentalism" in East Africa, incorporating Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Tanzania.Israel's President Shimon Peres had promised to "make everything available" to Kenya to guarantee its security within its borders."Consistently, Kenya has shown a very positive attitude towards Israel and Israel is ready to help," the statement quotes Peres as saying.Kenya mounted an air and ground offensive against al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab in Somalia a month ago after a string of kidnappings and cross-border raids it blamed on the group.Kenya is the latest country to entangle itself in the affairs of its anarchic neighbour which has suffered two decades of civil war. Kenya has long cast a wary eye at its lawless neighbour, awash with weapons and mired in conflict since the overthrow of a dictator in 1991.The region's biggest economy is so worried by the anarchy in Somalia, where first warlords then Islamist insurgents have stepped into a political vacuum, that it has quietly supported the birth of a semi-autonomous Somali province dubbed 'Jubaland', comprising the three Somali regions bordering Kenya.The status of Jubaland, also sometimes called Azania, is not clear. Somalia's government says it does not support the Jubaland initiative.Kenya's military has denied its incursion was carefully planned for years with a view to annexing Somali territory that could act as a buffer zone between the two countries.The military says it wants to eliminate the threat of al Shabaab, which has hit Kenya's crucial tourist industry, and help the Western-backed Mogadishu government which has been fighting the militants since 2007.The African Union said on Monday its peacekeeping force in Somalia, AMISOM, would receive an extra 1,150 troops from Burundi and Djibouti by mid-December, taking the total to around 11,000 -- near the 12,000 authorised by the United Nations.The peacekeepers have prevented al Shabaab from expelling the government from its foothold in the capital. "For the first time, we are now realistically envisioning the (government) extending its political reach and authority beyond Mogadishu," AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Ramtane Lamamra told reporters in Addis Ababa.After a fairly smooth advance, the Kenyan forces fighting al Shabaab have camped near several rebel strongholds, but have had no serious clashes with the insurgents, and have not seized any significant bases.Read the full story here.
- Egyptians back in Tahrir against army’s ‘supra-constitutional’ plans.(AlArabiya).Thousands of Egyptians were massing in Cairo’s Tahrir Square early on Friday for a mass rally against the military rulers’ proposed “supra-constitutional principles” that seek to shield the army from public scrutiny.Liberal and Islamist group, including the powerful Muslim Brotherhood movement, announced they would hold the rally after the government went ahead with its plan to draft overarching constitutional principles.Tents were pitched and sound stages set up as protesters returned to Tahrir square, the epicenter of an uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak from office in February, in what they said was an attempt to put “the revolution back on track.”“There will be a big revolution tomorrow,” said a protester demanding rights for Egyptians killed and wounded in the revolution.The government’s draft drew fire from most quarters for including clauses that removed the ruling military’s budget from parliamentary oversight and allowed the military final say on military-related laws.The government revised the draft, but the Islamists, who organized a mass protest in July against such a charter, have rejected the very idea of a document that would limit parliament’s authority to draft the constitution.“The protest on Friday is to reclaim power from the army and oppose Silmi’s document,” said Mohamed Fathi from the youth group the Front to Protect the Revolution.Salafi parties and movements, who follow orthodox Islamic teachings, were the earliest to galvanize support for the Friday protest, with the Muslim Brotherhood and a number of liberal parties following suit.“Our demands are the revolution’s demands ... our sit-in is open until we leave,” said protester Abdulla Ibrahim.Any extended protest by demonstrators camping in Tahrir square could potentially destabilize preparations for a parliamentary vote due on Nov. 28.Political groups have demanded the military council announce a clear timetable for handing power over to an elected civilian government with a deadline for presidential elections no later than April 2012.Read the full story here.
- Egyptian Salafist figure storms student concert, reignites debate over Music in Islam.(AlArabiya).The debate over music in Islam, forbidden or sanctioned, has resurfaced in the Egyptian media after popular Egyptian Islamic Salafist scholar Hazem Shoman stormed the stage of a concert last Tuesday, telling the audience that what they were watching was sinful.Students at Nile Academy campus in the city of Mansoura were surprised when Shoman took the stage of Hisham Abbas’ concert “advising” them that music is “haram,” or forbidden in Islam, and that they should not be watching or listening to it.The students reportedly responded with chants against the scholar, and in order to prevent the escalation of the situation, the academy’s vice president Mohamed Abdel Ghaffar and other officials interfered and persuaded Shoman to vacate the venue.In a TV interview by Nile channel, Shoman later said that he was “shocked” to enter the concert hall and see female dancers mixing with men.He said that he decided to give “advices” to the concert’s youth whom he described as responsive to his concerns. According to him, the concert was later canceled after the withdrawal of a “sizeable group of the attendees.”Khalid Saeed, a spokesman for the Salafi Front, hailed Shoman’s “good behavior” but said Shoman only represented himself as an individual Salafi advocator. But Saeed told the electronic al-Ahram newspaper that the concert is “unacceptable” and that it was “full of sins” with both genders mixing. Prominent Islamic figure Salim al-Awa, likewise, said Shoman’s behavior was his own and did not represent any religious or political bloc in the country and that whether singing is forbidden in Islam was still an unresolved issue among the clerics and scholars. Awa said that there was no evidence in the Quran or in the teaching of the prophet that singing is “haram,” but he said there was “evidence” that anything that leads to committing sins should be banned.Read the full story here.
- Syria - France says too late for Syrian regime; Turkey warns of civil war.(AlArabiya).French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Friday that “it is now too late” for the Syrian regime to remain in power because it failed to implement necessary reforms. Meanwhile, Turkey warned that the conflict in Syria risks turning into a civil war.“We believe that the (Syrian) regime was not willing to implement a reform program and now it is too late,” Juppe said after a meeting with the Turkish parliament’s foreign relations committee head, Volkan Bozkir.Hours earlier, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, pointing to the new attacks by army defectors, said, “There is a risk of transforming into civil war. It is now the right time to stop this massacre, and therefore the Arab initiative is important.” The Arab League has given Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a deadline to halt his “bloody repression” of anti-regime protests or risk sanctions.Al Arabiya correspondent in the Moroccan capital Rabat, hosting an Arab League meeting on Syria, reported that the Assad’s regime has accepted the Arab call without giving further details.“If it is not successful of course there is always a risk of civil war or high level tension in Syria,” Davutoglu added.Up until now the Turkish diplomat said it has been “difficult to call it a civil war because in civil war there are two parties attacking each other.“But in this case usually civilians are being attacked by the security forces.”The eight-month revolt in Syria has turned increasingly violent, with the Free Syrian Army, made up of army defectors, mounting a daring attack this week against a military intelligence base near the capital and the opposition becoming more militarized.Davutoglu also said that Turkey was prepared to help the opposition Syrian National Council to develop its relations within Syria and with the international community.“At this stage it is important that the (opposition council) has access to the international community, the Syrian people, and that it has a solid base as an organization of the Syrian people,” he said.Syrian security forces shot dead at least five protesters on Friday and wounded tens when they fired live ammunition to disperse protests against the Syrian president after Friday prayers, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.Among those killed was a 14 year-old protester in the southern city of Deraa. The rest of the deaths occurred in the Damascus suburb of Erbin, the central city of Homs and the countryside of the city of Hama to the north, said the Observatory.Read the full story here.
- Iranian official calls for better cooperation against terrorism.(TodaysZaman).An Iranian lawmaker has called for better cooperation between Turkey and Iran against terrorism, which he said requires “a serious fight, regardless of where it is staged,” as he surprisingly hailed growing relations between the nations with the hope that Iran and Turkey would fulfill their true potential in the future.“Our true potential exceeds what we currently make of it. Relations are good, but they could be better,” the head of the Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, told the Anatolian news agency on Thursday before he departed for a visit to Turkey, where he will meet with Turkish officials and discuss bilateral and regional relations later in the day.Boroujerdi spoke of great opportunities ahead for Iran and Turkey, suggesting that the countries had more common than diverging interests. Turkey and Iran are neighbors with a remittent relationship in the volatile Middle East, and diplomatic relations between the regional powers have cooled with regard to Turkey's cooperation on a bilateral and regional level with the US, a country Boroujerdi regarded as “the Great Satan.”Touching on the US role in the Middle East, the Iranian official suggested that the nations of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region could secure the region through cooperation with each other, and there would be “no need to lean on the walking cane of the US,” Anatolia reported.Turkey and Iran are both combating terrorism seeking autonomy in their countries, and share intelligence regarding the activities of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and its Iranian offshoot, the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK). Commenting on the common terrorism problem of Turkey and Iran, the official noted that the two countries were cooperating through a mutual security committee for years to find a solution to the problem, and suggested that a serious fight was needed to overcome terrorism wherever it was staged.On Thursday, Boroujerdi met with President Abdullah Gül in Ankara and had a meeting with the chairperson of the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, Volkan Bozkır, with whom he discussed bilateral relations between the countries and ways of countering terrorism and illegal drug trafficking. The Iranian official, speaking to reporters after his meeting with Bozkır, also noted that the foreign trade volume between Turkey and Iran stood at $12 billion, and that it would reach $15 billion by the end of the year, as he expressed that the two countries would like to see that figure at $30 billion next year.Hmmmm......"Sanctions that 'bite', good thing the US and Turkey take the lead in the fight against terrorisme?Read the full story here.
- Iranian Revolutionary Guards drug ring funding terror?(YNet).The revenues of an Iranian-run global narcotics network is being transferred to terrorist organizations, London-based The Times newspaper quoted former Revolutionary Guard officials as saying on Friday. According to the sources, members of the elite guard took over the Islamic Republic's drug smuggling industry, and are using the revenues – estimated to reach dozens of billions of dollars – to build a solid support base for global crime networks and terror organizations acting against the West.The report noted that hundreds of people are executed in Iran annually for drug smuggling and drug possession, as part of the administration's hard-line policy against narcotics. However, behind the stage, the Revolutionary Guard is engaged in an extremely profitable business that is fueled by the smuggling of heroin, opium and methamphetamines.The report was published on the heels of a recent controversy surrounding the suspected involvement of the Revolutionary Guard's elite unit – the Quds Force – in the assassination attempt of the Saudi Ambassador to the United States.Sources in Washington, who claimed that the Iranians planned to blow up a New York restaurant while the Saudi ambassador was dining there, said that the narcotics ring leaders were also planning to expand their smuggling routes to North America.The United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) identified at least one Revolutionary Guard commander directly involved in drug trafficking from Afghanistan through Iran, the sources told The Times. The Iranian sources named two other seniors officials who they claimed were involved in the smuggling ring, including the Revolutionary Guard's Tehran District Commander Abdullah Araqi, who is suspected of developing close relations with the eastern European underworld. According to the report, the Iranians are using ships and planes to transport drugs to Albania, Bulgaria and Romania, and from there to western Europe. "We were told that the drugs will destroy the sons and daughters of the West, and that we must kill them. Their lives are worth less because they are not Muslims," a former Revolutionary Guard member told the paper. The revenues funneled from the drug industry, the sources claimed, ars used to fund various Iranian military projects, including the development of missiles and weaponry, but is mostly aimed at "exporting the Islamic revolution" – a code name for sowing imbalance in other countries by supporting radical Islamist factions, including Hezbollah, the Islamic Jihad and Hamas.Hmmmm...... "Their lives are worth less because they are not Muslims'.Compare to a US President that says:"I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction."Read the full story here.
- Jerusalem mosque at Mount of Olives expanding illegally,despite evidence it has expanded to State-owned land.(YNet).The Ras el-Amud mosque, situated on Jerusalem's Mount of Olives, has been illegally expanded by 217 square meters (about 2,335 square feet) over the past year, Ynet reported Thursday.Construction work at the mosque began in October 2010. While the main structure was built on private property, the additions were constructed illegally on State-owned land. The initial preparations for the additional construction began – not coincidentally – during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the Jewish holiday season, when city inspectors normally don’t enforce the law. Following repeated complaints lodged by the area's residents, in June 2011 the City of Jerusalem ordered that construction at the site be halted. However, construction continued, and during this time the structure was connected to a water supply network and internal walls were erected.Michael Frankburg, legal counsel for Jerusalem District Police, said that the construction at the mosque was limited to internal renovations, but photos presented to him by residents indicated that three new structures were built at the site. Aryeh King, chairman of the East Jerusalem Public Complaints Bureau, said "it is a shame that all the law enforcement agencies are helpless, especially when this is about such an important site as the Mount of Olives."When Jews build in central and west Jerusalem, (the City) is very strict with them. It's a shame that the Prime Minister's Office, which is aware of this severe construction infringement, is in no hurry to enforce a law it is so quick to enforce when it comes to Jews who have built their homes on lands they have purchased in the West Bank," he added. Jerusalem Police said the case was under the municipality's jurisdiction. It said in a statement that as soon as it became evident that construction at the mosque violated a work stoppage order issued by the City, officers were dispatched to the site and made certain construction was halted. The City of Jerusalem said it would start legal proceedings against the mosque. Hmmmm....They destroy illegal Jewish settlers their houses don't they?Read the full story here.
- Egyptian Islamists Attack Christians Mourning Murder of 27 Copts.(INN).Muslim attackers have thrown rocks and broken glass at a Coptic Christian march in Cairo, injuring 10, witnesses told Reuters.Marcher Hossam Victor says about 400 Christians marched through the Cairo neighborhood of Shubra Thursday to mark the end of 40 days of mourning after sectarian clashes that killed 27 people, most of them Christians.During the march, attackers threw stones, bricks and broken glass on the marchers from a six-floor apartment building, Victor said. Clashes broke out and 10 people were injured, two of them seriously.Victor said the attackers were supporters of ultraconservative Islamist candidates in Egypt’s upcoming parliamentary elections.Sectarian clashes have become more common since the uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak in February.During the anti-Mubarak riots that marked the opening of the so-called Arab Spring in Egypt, the country’s community of Coptic Christians came under attack by armed gangs of Islamists.At least two Coptic churches were also burnt down during the uprising — one with ten people inside. Additionally, on New Year’s Day a bombing in a Coptic church killed 21.Cairo's caretaker junta has, to date, attempted to maintain the tolerant status quo of the Mubarak era, but Thursday's violence has raised concerns about the security of Egypt's Coptic Christians.Islamists are expected to make significant gains in polls scheduled to begin on November 28.Read the full story here.
Former Lebanese Minister Wiam Wahhab Vilifies the Qatari Leadership and "that Lowlife Gambler" the Jordanian King and Threatens Syrian and Iranian Attacks in Europe, the US, Israel, and Turkey
Wiam Wahhab: With the first strike, the first missile, or the first warplane [to attack Syria], 1,000 missiles will fall on Palestine. That's only for starters.
Interviewer: You talked about Turkey before…
Interviewer: You talked about Turkey before…
Wiam Wahhab: Missiles will definitely fall on Turkey if it participates… If Turkey creates a buffer zone, it will be bombarded. Bashar Al-Assad would lose his legitimacy if he refrains from bombarding them when they enter Syrian territory. He would not be able to claim to have the legitimacy of the people.
Interviewer: Would he bombard the buffer zone or Ankara?
Wiam Wahhab: No, he would bombard cities and US bases in Turkey. He would bombard many Turkish economic centers.
[The Arab leaders] have made a decision to topple Syria, and we have made a decision to prevent this. When the time is right, they will pay the price – all of them, beginning with that disobedient Emir in Qatar, through that lowlife gambler, his royal whoreness the Jordanian king, who issued a statement today…
Interviewer: He said: "If I were in Al-Assad's shoes, I would step down." He said that Al-Assad should prepare for the transitional stage with his reforms…
Wiam Wahhab: First of all, his royal whoreness steals…
Interviewer: You mean royal highness….
Wiam Wahhab: He is the Jordanian royal whoreness... They call him "royal highness," but he's a royal whoreness. These people were the first to collaborate with Israel, the first to breach the Arab boycott of Israel, the first to betray Palestine and sell it out – them and their forefathers.
Did you know that this king steals from the Jordanian treasury, and delays the payment of salaries, so that he can go and gamble in South Africa? He goes all the way to South Africa, because there aren't many Arabs who might see him there. He delays the payment of salaries and takes money from the treasury, so that he can go gamble in South Africa…
Interviewer: Does he win or lose?
Wiam Wahhab: He always loses. He had to sell his private jet. He gambled it away.
Interviewer: When the Arab revolutions began…
Wiam Wahhab: He sold it, and had to return by a chartered plane.
Interviewer: You know a whole lot of details…
Wiam Wahhab: I know everything about him. The Jordanians keep me informed. I'm not making anything up.
I tell the Syrians that if a committee [of the Arab League] arrives in Syria, they should attack its members and drag them through the streets.
Wiam Wahhab: That impudent [Turkish foreign minister] Davutoğlu, who looks like a fox, is making threats today… They killed a million and a half Armenians, and by now, they have killed 45,000 Kurds, yet all of a sudden, they are shedding tears over the [Syrian] people. That's just great. They love people all of a sudden. Only yesterday, they attacked innocent civilians in north Iraq.
Can this [Syrian] people possibly be defeated?! What's your story? Who will attack you – that Bedouin, Hamad bin Jassim?! Don't pay attention to any of those statements. You are steadfast! You stand by your army, your president, and your country! Nobody in the universe can defeat you, even if the entire world gangs up on you. Are you afraid of that Bedouin with his 200 soldiers? Are you afraid of those virtual Gulf states? What are those countries, anyway? They are donkeys carrying money. Donkeys carrying money are still donkeys.
[In 1982] the Americans entered Lebanon. At the price of a single suicide bomber, 400 Americans were killed at the airport, and they fled like pussycats. The Americans, the French, and the Italians came to Beirut to replace the Israeli occupiers. At the price of the Beirut airport operation – a single martyrdom-seeker… Let me tell you, now there are thousands of Syrian martyrdom-seekers.
[Hamad bin Jassim] will die like a cat in the desert tomorrow. Tomorrow, the Americans will strip them of all their oil. They will strip them of all their money and send them back to live in tents.
[In 2006, the Israeli army] was destroyed with your weapons. Don't be afraid. It was destroyed by the Kornet missiles taken from the Syrian army. The resistance got these missiles from the Syrian army, and destroyed the Israeli tanks in Marjayoun with them. Don't be afraid. Syria has lots of weapons.
The resistance in Lebanon has 50,000 fighters and 5,000 martyrdom-seekers. The resistance will not allow Syria to be targeted. Get it?
If NATO wants to bombard Syria… Let us all think together… They have 15,000 soldiers in Lebanon. How do they expect to bombard Syria and generate chaos in Syria and Lebanon, when they have 15,000 soldiers stationed in Lebanon?! We do not intend to attack the UNIFIL forces in Lebanon, because we support their presence in Lebanon, but if there is chaos, what will happen then?
Nobody denies that they are capable of causing great destruction in Iran, but Iran is capable of causing destruction on the other side as well. The difference between Iran [and Syria] is that Iran is capable of striking anywhere. I'm not talking only about the capabilities of Iran as a state. It is capable of striking in Europe and in America.
Interviewer: You mean what is referred to by the West as "terrorist capabilities"…
Wiam Wahhab: Why "terrorist"? The US and Europe are conducting state-sponsored terrorism today.
What I'm telling you are the facts, not commentary. If Iran is attacked, it will retaliate mercilessly, and if Iran is not attacked, it will not attack anyone.
Half an hour after an attack on Iran, the [Iranian] bombardment will begin on all the US bases, and all the way to occupied Palestine.
Interviewer: All the US bases?
Wiam Wahhab: All the bases from which missiles are launched will be largely destroyed.
Interviewer: Why didn't Syria retaliate for the  attack on Deir Al-Zour?
Wiam Wahhab: Ask them. Source : Memri.