Search NEWS you want to know

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Serbia and Kosovo sign deals

Accords were the first between them since Pristina declared independence three years ago.

Serbia and Kosovo have struck several deals to overcome practical problems for citizens caused by Belgrade's refusal to recognise Pristina's independence.

The deals, signed on Saturday, were the first between them since Kosovo declared independence three years ago.

ASSAD SACKS GOVERNOR OF HAMA, SENDS MORE TROOPS TO IDLIB

The embattled Syrian President Bashar Al Assad has sacked the governor of the restive central city of Hama where 500,000 people demonstrated against his iron-fisted rule on Friday and sent troop re-enforcements to the northwestern province of Idlib.

The dismissal of Gov. Ahmed Abdul-Aziz was seen as the latest attempt by President Assad to weed out potential weak links in his ruling system and possibly signal a renewed crackdown on the city.

The state-run news agency SANA gave no reason for the firing Mr. Abdul-Aziz a day after an estimated half a million people joined an anti-government rally in Hama -- marking the largest single turnout since the uprising began in March.

Libya’s warring parties say they accept African Union’s plan for talks, but questions arise about progress

Both the government of embattled Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi and the Libyan rebel opposition council welcomed on Saturday an African Union plan for negotiations, but diplomats and observers say it is a fragile accord that belies divisions.

“We understood that the spirit of the document is that Colonel Qaddafi will not have a role to play in the future of Libya,” Mr. Mansour Sayf al Nasr, the rebel’s representative for France, told reporters at the summit in Equatorial Guinea.

Libyan Prime Minister Al Baghdadi Al Mahmoudi, meanwhile, welcomed talks with the opposition council, adding that initial contacts have already been made in Cairo and Norway, an Al Arabiya correspondent in Tripoli reported.

Bahrain: Sunni leaders begin talks with Shia groups

Talks between Bahrain's Sunni-led government and the majority Shia opposition are under way.
King Hamad Bin Issa Al Khalifa has said all options are on the table for the meeting, which is being attended by al-Wifaq, the main Shia opposition bloc.
The discussions follow months of anti-government protests that have killed more than 30 people. Hundreds of opposition supporters remain in prison.
One accused doctor has given the BBC an account of abuse he says he suffered.
The talks have been strongly backed by the US, which has its 5th Fleet based in Bahrain.
Ahead of the talks, the king announced an investigation into the handling of the unrest by the security forces.
Most of the Saudi troops who were sent to Bahrain to support the government as it imposed emergency law are also being withdrawn.

Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar is new CVC

Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar was on Saturday unanimously chosen the next Central Vigilance Commissioner, four months after the Supreme Court had quashed the appointment of P.J. Thomas to the post.
Though no official announcement has been made yet, sources said Mr. Pradeep Kumar, who retires as Defence Secretary on July 31, was chosen by consensus by a panel comprising Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj.
Mr. Pradeep Kumar, who will be 62 in September, is a Haryana cadre IAS officer of the 1972 batch. He was Secretary, Defence Production, before becoming the Defence Secretary. He will have a three year term as he will have to demit office on attaining age of 65 under the CVC Act.
Ms. Sushma Swaraj, who had opposed in writing the appointment of Thomas as CVC, had no objection to Mr. Kumar’s candidature.
“The name has been finalised... I have not raised any objection,” Ms. Swaraj told reporters after the 20-minute meeting at the Prime Minister’s official residence but she did not disclose the name.
Sources had said that a list of probable candidates was prepared by the Department of Personnel and Training which placed it before the selection panel.

Africans will not implement ICC warrant against Qaddafi.

The African Union said on Friday it would not execute an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court against Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.

In a summit held in Equatorial Guinea, African states said in a joint statement that the warrant issued last week “seriously complicates” efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict between Mr. Qaddafi’s forces and Libyan rebels, a text of the decision said.
An assembly of the summit decided that “AU member states shall not cooperate in the execution of the arrest warrant,” according to a text of the decisions.

Qaddafi exhorts supporters to seize French arms from rebels

A general view of supporters of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi during a rally at the green square in Tripoli. (REUTERS photo) 
Muammar Qaddafi on Friday urged his supporters to seize the weapons France supplied to rebels in the Nafusa mountains, hours before NATO jets launched a new wave of air strike on the Libyan capital Tripoli.

“March on the jebel (Nafusa) and seize the weapons that the French have supplied. If later you want to pardon them (the rebels), that’s up to you,” the embattled Colonel Qaddafi said in a message played over loudspeakers in central Tripoli.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Hu warns Chinese Communist Party

China's President Hu Jintao has warned the Communist Party that corruption could cost it the support the people - in a speech marking 90 years since the party was founded.
Mr Hu said the "incompetence" of some members had caused problems for China.
But he praised the party's record since taking power in 1949.
The party has orchestrated hundreds of events for the anniversary, including a flag-raising ceremony in Beijing attended by thousands of loyalists.
The country's rulers have been planning the anniversary celebrations for years.

Lokpal bill and the Prime Minister --opinion

When the basic structure of the Constitution denies the Prime Minister immunity from prosecution, how could it be argued that the office should not be brought under the scrutiny of the Lokpal?
The Indian citizenry is up in arms against corruption at the highest levels of government. Anna Hazare's movement has caught the people's imagination. The former President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, has pitched in and called upon the youth to start a mass movement against corruption under the banner “What can I give?” (The Hindu, June 27, 2011).
According to a CRISIL report (The Hindu, June 29, 2011), inflation has caused the Indian public to be squeezed to the extent of Rs. 2.3 lakh crores. According to the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), the estimate of loss to the exchequer owing to the 2G spectrum scam is Rs. 1.22 lakh crores.

Morocco urges ‘Yes’ vote on draft constitution, amid calls for boycott

Moroccan authorities urged voters on Thursday to vote “Yes” for a draft constitution seen to curb some legislative and executive powers of King Mohammed VI amid opposition alls for boycott.

“Moroccans tomorrow have a date with history,” L’Opinion, the newspaper of Prime Minister Abbas El Fassi’s conservative Istiqlal party, wrote in a front-page editorial.
“Participate and vote tomorrow for the new constitution,” it said.

Faced with protests modeled on the Arab Spring uprisings that ousted long-serving leaders in Tunisia and Egypt, King Mohammed VI announced the referendum this month to transfer some of his wide-ranging powers to the prime minister and parliament of the north African country.

NATO and Libya: 100 Days, but any progress? Analysis

Misguided air strikes, civilian casualties, a desperate Libyan ruler still fighting for power with an International Criminal Court indictment issued against him. These are some of the highlights that color the 100 days since NATO began air strikes against Muammar Qaddafi’s forces.

In February, Colonel Qaddafi swore to “fight until his last drop of blood” for his role as leader amidst mass protests calling for his removal. An element of what has become known as the Arab Spring, these protests called for political freedom and economic opportunities to be encouraged by their non-traditional government.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

China Communists celebrate 90 years

The Communist Party of China (CPC) is celebrating its 90th anniversary.
Gala performances and celebratory television programmes have been taking place. An epic patriotic film featuring many of China's biggest stars has been released.
A ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing is being attended by the country's top leaders.
The CPC has more than 80 million members, making it the biggest political party in the world.
Established in July 1921 in Shanghai by a small group of intellectuals, it took power in 1949 after defeating the Nationalist Party in a long civil war.

Manmohan ignored ruling on CAG's rights

In 2005, Madras HC said watchdog could brief media
In questioning the propriety and legality of the Comptroller and Auditor-General holding a news conference on its 2G report, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ignored not only past precedents but also a court ruling upholding the CAG's right to do so.
In his interaction with a group of editors on Wednesday, Dr. Singh criticised the press meet held by the CAG in early January after the report on 2G spectrum irregularities was tabled in Parliament. He said: “It [has] never been in the past that the CAG has held a press conference. Never in the past has the CAG decided to comment on a policy issue. It should limit the office to the role defined in the Constitution.”
But a 2005 judgment of the Madras High Court, upholding the right of CAG and its functionaries to brief the media on the contents of reports prepared by them and presented before the relevant Legislature, leaves no ambiguity on this count.
In P.G. Narayanan vs CAG (W.P.No.23408 of 2004 [2005] RD-TN 714), the High Court dismissed the contention of the petitioner, an MLA belonging to the ruling AIADMK, that the Tamil Nadu Accountant-General had ‘misused his authority' by going to press on an audit report pertaining to the State. The court noted that the CAG had stated in his affidavit “that specific instructions have been given by him to all the Accountant-Generals (Audit) of the States to explain the salient features of the Audit Report to the Press to make the public know about the same after the Audit Report is placed before the respective Legislative Assemblies.”

SAUDI PRINCE WARNS IRAN ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS.

A well-known Saudi prince has given a broad hint to senior US and British military leaders that Saudi Arabia will be forced to acquire nuclear weapons of Iran does so, according to a report in Britain’s Guardian newspaper.

Prince Turki al-Faisal, believed to be a prospective foreign minister, made the disclosure at a closed meeting held at RAF Molesworth, one of three British bases used by American forces since World War II. It is now a NATO intelligence center dealing with the Mediterranean and Middle East.
“Iran (developing) a nuclear weapon would compel Saudi Arabia...to pursue policies which could lead to untold and possibly dramatic consequences,” the prince was quoted as saying.

China and Russia redraw international battles lines on Libya. Analysis

The international battle lines over how to resolve the Libyan crisis are being redrawn.

China and Russia, staunch critics of NATO’s air campaign against Col. Muammer Qaddafi, are subtly increasing pressure on the embattled Libyan leader to agree to a diplomatic resolution of the four month-old crisis in his country that would end his 41 years in office.
In their latest signal to Mr. Qaddafi as well as the NATO-backed rebels, both China and Russia refrained on Thursday from criticizing France for arming the rebels.

Greece crisis: Greek MPs in second austerity vote

Greece's parliament is holding a second vote on its austerity programme, which it needs to implement to secure the country further financial support.
The vote is about putting into practice the tax hikes, pay cuts, privatisations and public sector redundancies approved in principle on Wednesday.
The vote was a retreat from the "grave scenario of default", the EU said.
Public reaction has been very hostile, and the debate has been accompanied by strikes and violent protest.
After hours of discussing the measures, MPs started voting shortly after 1600 (1300 GMT); it is not clear how many votes will need to be held to push the bill through.
Clashes continued on Syntagma (Constitution) Square outside parliament overnight, as police fired tear gas at stone-throwing youths.

Libya: Russia decries French arms drop to Libya rebels

Russia has strongly criticised France for dropping weapons to Libyan rebels and demanded an explanation from Paris.
"If this is confirmed, it is a very crude violation of UN Security Council resolution 1970," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
The African Union has also criticised the move, saying it risks causing a "Somalia-sation" of Libya.
The French military says it has dropped arms to Berber tribal fighters in the mountains south-west of the capital.
Mr Lavrov said Russia had formally requested information from France about the move, to check that it "corresponds with reality".

Congress, riot victims slam Gujarat govt. for destroying 2002 riots records

Congress leaders and lawyers of 2002 post-Godhra riots victims on Thursday slammed the Gujarat government for destroying vital State Intelligence Bureau (SIB) records pertaining to the clashes, calling the action a “criminal conspiracy.”
Alleging there was an attempt to ‘hide’ the truth regarding the alleged involvement of Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his Cabinet colleagues, they demanded an independent inquiry under the supervision of the Supreme Court into the BJP government’s action.
“This is nothing short of a criminal conspiracy to see that the truth does not emerge. It clearly points out that the State government is trying to cover up the entire matter,” party spokesperson Manish Tewari said in New Delhi.
Mr. Tewari found it a “complete travesty” that documents pertaining to a “massacre and carnage”, which is under investigation of the highest court of the land and in which the “needle of suspicion is directly at the Chief Minister of Gujarat”, gets destroyed in this manner.
The Congress spokesperson said that at a time when the investigation is going on, the disappearance or destruction of the documents that would have thrown light on “why the State machine was culpable or otherwise”, clearly points out that the State government was involved in the cover-up.
‘Criminal negligence’

Syrian troops kill 11 dissidents, as US mounts pressure on Assad

At least 11 people were killed and 50 others wounded by Syrian troops when they stormed villages in the northwest of the country on Wednesday to crack down on anti-government demonstrators, activists said, as Washington piled new pressure on the regime and its Iranian ally over the repression.

The latest military action came as hundreds of lawyers staged a sit-in in the second city of Aleppo calling for freedom and the release of prisoners and regime loyalists held a counter-protest, activists said.

The Aleppo sit-in came as calls mounted on the Internet for a massive rally to take place Thursday in the northern city—the country’s economic center.

Wounded Saleh calls for implementing GCC plan he refuses to sign

Wounded Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in a message sent through his foreign minister on state television on Wednesday, has again called for talks with the opposition to implement a Gulf plan that calls for his departure in exchange for immunity.

“We discussed the Gulf initiative, and [President Saleh] called for the opening of a dialogue with the opposition ... in order to agree on a vehicle by which to implement the Gulf initiative,” Yemen’s Foreign Minister Abubakr Al Qirbi said in a statement on state television.
The health of President Saleh, who is recovering in Saudi Arabia from injuries sustained in an attack on his palace in early June, was “good and in continuous improvement,” Mr. Al Qirbi said.

UN SAID TO NAME HEZBOLLAH AIDES AS SUSPECTS IN HARIRI MURDER

A special United Nations tribunal has reportedly issued arrest warrants Thursday for four Hezbollah members in the 2005 murder of Lebanon’s former prime minister Rafik Hariri.

The disclosure was made on Thursday in Beirut by officials in the office of Mr. Hariri’s son, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri. An announcement by UN officials was expected soon.

Rafik Hariri was killed with 22 others on February 14, 2005, when a massive blast struck his motorcade in a seafront district of Beirut. Mr. Hariri, who was 60 when he was killed, headed five Lebanese governments between the years 1992 to 1998 and 2000 to 2004, when he stepped down from leadership.

African Union hits France for arms to Libyan rebels fighting Qaddafi

The African Union (AU) has condemned France after it admitted air-dropping weapons to Libyan rebels fighting to oust Col. Muammar Qaddafi.

AU Commission chairman Juan Ping made the criticism on the eve of a two-day summit of African Union leaders trying to mediate an end to the four-month conflict as rebel fighters backed by NATO strikes advance on Tripoli.

“What worries us is not who is giving what,” Mr. Ping said in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, where the summit began on Thursday. “It is simply that these weapons are being given by all parties to all the other parties. These weapons are already reaching Al Qaeda, drug dealers and traffickers. They will be used to destabilize African states and to kidnap tourists for whom you pay ransom,” he said.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

British workers plan rare strike over pension reforms

Around 85 percent of schools in England and Wales, as well as job centers, tax offices and courts will go on strike in a response to David Cameron’s liberal polices and slashing spending which will lead to the loss of 330,000 jobs by 2015. (File Photo)
 
 
About 600,000 British teachers and civil servants were set to join a rare nationwide strike on Thursday in the country’s biggest walkout since the coalition government took office last year.

Four trade unions voted to take action on June 30 to protest against changes to pensions, in what one labor union warned could be the start of the most serious widespread industrial unrest in Britain since 1926.

Prime Minister David Cameron made a final effort on Tuesday to persuade the unions to abandon the strike, which will close or disrupt around 85 percent of schools in England and Wales, as well as job centers, tax offices and courts.

French Socialist leader announces presidential bid

The leader of France’s opposition Socialists, Martine Aubry, says she will seek the French presidency.
Ms. Aubry faces a party primary in the coming months. The Socialists are France’s leading opposition party and their candidate is likely to be the chief challenger to the conservative and unpopular President Nicolas Sarkozy in the elections next April and May.
The leading Socialist contender was knocked out of the French political picture last month. Ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is under house arrest in New York facing charges that he tried to rape a hotel maid. He denies the charges.
Ms. Aubry announced her candidacy on Tuesday. Possible opponents for the Socialist candidacy include her predecessor, Francois Hollande, and his long-time partner Segolene Royal, who lost to Mr. Sarkozy in the 2007 presidential runoff.
In announcing her candidacy on Tuesday, Ms. Aubry denounced what she called policies “led exclusively for the profit of the most privileged.”
She pledged “decent” pensions, a rehaul of public services, and better pay checks, though didn’t detail how these would be paid for.
Ms. Aubry called on “green” parties and other leftists to come together ahead of the elections.
“I want to bring back France’s strength, its serenity, its unity,” Ms. Aubry said.
“One does not govern by pitting French people against each other, the unemployed against the workers, the young against the old, the French against the foreigners,” she said. 
AP

SC stalls return of land to Singur farmers

The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the West Bengal government not to go ahead with distribution and return of land in Singur to farmers which was acquired for Tata Motors’ small car project Nano.
“As an interim order we direct state government not to hand over or return land to farmers concerned until further order passed by the Calcutta High Court,” a vacation bench comprising justices P. Sathasivam an A. K. Patnaik said.
The bench said it was making it clear that this was an “interim arrangement” and it was not expressing any opinion on the merits of the case.
The judges said they were passing a limited interim order and asking the high court to proceed with the main matter in which the Tatas have challenged the new law enacted by the Mamata Banerjee government for taking possession of land and distributing it to farmers who were the original owners.
However, the bench said since the main issues were pending before the high court, it was not inclined to go into them.
“We are not inclined to interfere at this stage on the main issues pending before the high court,” it said.
The bench observed it was granting interim protection as senior counsel P.P. Rao, appearing for the state government, said the possession of land will remain in the hands of state government till the high court decides the issues.

Sudan's Omar al-Bashir meets China President Hu Jintao

Sudan's leader Omar al-Bashir, wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes, has met Chinese President Hu Jintao.
The two leaders reviewed China's military honour guard at the Great Hall of the People before holding talks.
Beijing is a major economic partner for Sudan; it buys more than half the oil produced by Khartoum.
But China is worried about its investments, with South Sudan is set to become independent next month.
Serious clashes in the border areas, which are home to Sudan's oil industry, have sparked fears of a wider conflict.
Beijing has close contacts with both sides and has been pressing them to end the violence.
'Friendly relations' Mr Bashir greeted Mr Hu as a "friend and brother".

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Libya civilian deaths 'sap NATO credibility'

Italy's foreign minister says military alliance was losing the propaganda war to Gaddafi.
NATO has endangered its credibility with a bomb that destroyed a house in the Libyan capital, killing several residents, Italy's foreign minister has said.
It was the first time the military alliance had acknowledged causing multiple civilian casualties in Libya and came as the alliance feels the strain of a campaign taking more time and resources than expected.
"NATO is endangering its credibility; we cannot risk killing civilians," Franco Frattini told reporters on Monday before an EU foreign ministers' meeting in Luxembourg to discuss ways to aid rebels trying to oust Muammar Gaddafi.

Libyan rebels seize Gaddafi weapons depot

Capture of munitions dump seen as a big boost for the fighters, whose road to Tripoli remains rocky, however.
Rebel fighters have managed to capture a significant munitions depot from Libyan government forces in the west of the country, near the town of Zintan.
Tuesday's development is seen as a major victory for the rebels as they make their way to Tripoli, the seat of Muammar Gaddafi's power.
Al Jazeera's Jonah Hull, reporting from Jadu, a nearby town, said that finding the stash will be an "enormous morale-booster" for the fighters, who he said have been working with limited weaponry and had been anxiously eyeing the weapons dump.

India asked Google to block content critical of government

Number of content removal requests from the country up by 123 per cent
Are Indians allowed to use the Internet to criticise politicians and officials? If Google's latest ‘Transparency Report' is any indication, the police in some States don't seem to think so. In the last six months of 2010, law enforcement agencies across India asked the web search company to remove YouTube videos and a blog “that were critical of Chief Ministers and senior officials of different States.” Google says it did not comply with these requests.

Images show Chavez on his feet after surgery

New videos and photos of President Hugo Chavez appeared on state television Tuesday night, showing him on his feet and talking with Fidel Castro more than two weeks after undergoing urgent surgery in Cuba.
An aide to the Venezuelan leader said the encounter in Cuba took place earlier in the day.
“We see him recovering,” Information Minister Andres Izarra said on state television as the short video clips and photographs were shown of Mr. Chavez standing and talking outdoors with Mr. Castro.
Cuban state TV also broadcast pictures of the get-together.
They were the first images of Mr. Chavez to be released since he appeared with both Fidel and Raul Castro in photographs taken 11 days earlier and published in Cuban media.
But neither the new images nor government officials provided details about Mr. Chavez’s health. Despite assurances that he is doing well, the lack of information since the government announced June 10 that Mr. Chavez had undergone pelvic surgery has spurred talk among Venezuelans that he might be very ill.

Security forces clash with Cairo protesters

Egyptian security forces firing tear gas clashed with more than 5,000 rock-throwing protesters in central Cairo late Tuesday, leaving dozens injured in the latest unrest to rattle the country, witnesses and medical officials said.

Clouds of tear gas and the wail of police sirens engulfed Tahrir Square as lines of security forces in riot gear battled to regain control of the central plaza from the demonstrators, many of them family members of the more than 850 people killed during the revolution that toppled Egypt’s longtime ruler, Hosni Mubarak.

NATO TROOPS HELP KILL TALIBAN ATTACKERS AT KABUL INTERCON

Taliban bombers attacked the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul late Tuesday night, and many civilian casualties – mostly foreigners – were reported by Afghan police. The authorities said several people in the hotel had been killed—perhaps as many as a dozen—but could not offer verifiable figures. Several policemen were also reported hurt.

There were six insurgents in all, said a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, according to The Associated Press. In addition to three killed on the roof, two others were killed by hotel guards at the beginning of the assault and another was killed either in the attack by the NATO helicopters or by Afghan security forces, The AP reported.

Tatas move Supreme Court over Singur land

NEW DELHI: The Tatas moved Supreme Court on Tuesday challenging the Calcutta high court refusing to stay distribution of land to owners at Singur.

Tata Motors have requested the apex court to stay the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act passed by the West Bengal Assembly by the Trinamool Congress government.

Greece gripped by general strike over austerity package

A 48-hour general strike has begun in Greece, as parliament prepares for a key vote on tough austerity measures.
Thousands of protesters have gathered outside parliament in Athens and public transport in the capital has largely ground to a halt.
The rally started peacefully, but small groups of protesters later clashed with police, who used tear gas.
PM George Papandreou has said that only his 28bn-euro (£25bn) austerity plan would get Greece back on its feet.
If the government fails to win support for the austerity measures, the EU and IMF could withhold 12bn euros of loans and Greece could run out of money in weeks.
The general strike has halted most public services, banks are closed and hospitals are operating on skeleton staff.

Pakistan expels most British counter-terrorism trainers

Pakistan has told Britain to pull out some of its military trainers, in what appears to be the latest sign of strained relations with the West after last month’s killing of Osama Bin Laden by US troops.

Pakistan’s military faces its most severe crisis in decades following the May 2 raid in which the Al Qaeda leader was killed on Pakistani soil by foreign soldiers.

“The UK has been asked to withdraw some of its training support teams on a temporary basis by the Pakistani government in response to security concerns,” British High Commission spokesman in Islamabad, George Sheriff, told Reuters.
He said the Pakistan authorities had warned about “security concerns” but he did not elaborate.

Iran fires medium-range missile, says it showed downed US drones to Russian officials

The Islamic Republic’s state media reported the Iran's Revolutionary Guards on Tuesday fired a medium-range weapon capable of striking Israel or US targets in the Gulf.

On Monday the Guards said they began missile drills to maintain readiness for possible air strikes, which the United States and Israel have refused to ruled out as a means to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Iran said the exercises are a “message of peace and friendship to countries of the region” and are not directed against any country.
The Guards' aerospace commander, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, insisted Iran's missile program posed no threat to European nations but was intended to provide defense against Israel and US forces in the Gulf.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Libya: Hospitals in rebel-held Benghazi 'face crisis'

A medical crisis is looming in eastern Libya with hospitals in Benghazi running short of supplies, the rebels' health minister says.
Stocks of drugs and other items such as surgical gloves are said to be running out.
Dr Nagi Barakat told the BBC that most emergency aid donated from abroad went straight to the front line.
He said that if a new offensive broke out, hospitals would face a major crisis.
On the cancer ward of Benghazi's children's hospital, most patients are not getting the right dosage. There aren't enough drugs to go round.
Dr Amina Bayou says she and her colleagues juggle supplies to give everyone a little.
"We try to divide the drugs between this patient and that patient. It's not good," she said.

No let up in economic reforms: Pranab

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Monday strongly refuted observations by U.S. think-tanks, the government and industry that India has gone slow on economic reforms and insisted that a series of reforms are in the process, which will lead to the next round of growth.
However, Mr. Mukherjee observed that reforms in India require political consensus, which is being worked upon by the government led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Reform is a continuous process and the United Progressive Alliance government is committed to it.
“The more you reform, there is the need for additional reform,” he argued addressing a meeting of India and American corporate leaders, policy makers and think-tank members at a conference on the ‘US-India Economic and Financial Partnership’ jointly organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Brookings Institute, a Washington-based think-tank.
“We have taken certain steps, as I was talking of structural reforms,” said Mr. Mukherjee, who arrived in Washington on Monday leading a high-powered Indian delegation for the second India-U.S. Economic and Financial Partnership discussions being held here.

Greece general strike: Unions act amid cuts debate

Trade unions in Greece have begun a 48-hour general strike, hours after PM George Papandreou urged parliament to back an austerity package.
Huge crowds of protesters are expected on the streets of Athens, while public transport is set to grind to a halt.
On Monday, Mr Papandreou said only his 28bn-euro (£25bn) austerity programme would get Greece back on its feet.
If the government loses, the EU and IMF could withhold 12bn euros of loans and Greece could run out of money in weeks.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said French banks are ready to offer new 30-year loans to Greece when its current debts fall due.

Bahrain leftists head to talks, but fear crisis


A leader of Bahrain’s second largest opposition group said the party would join a national dialogue next week but a sectarian crisis was inevitable unless talks led to genuine political reform.

Four months after Bahrain’s Sunni Muslim rulers quashed pro-democracy protests led by the Shiite majority, King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa has set July 1 as the start of a national dialogue to discuss economic, political and social reforms.
The opposition has said only deep political reform, not mere dialogue, can permanently end popular unrest.

Qaddafi warrant: Rare unity could backfire on Russia, China.




A house in Tripoli destroyed by NATO bombing. (File photo



The International Criminal Court’s issuance of arrest warrants for Libyan leader Col. Muammar Qaddafi constitutes a rare recent instance in which Western nations have found common ground with China and Russia in efforts to stop brutal crackdowns on anti-government protesters in the Middle East and North Africa.

QADDAFI SCOFFS AT ICC ARREST WARRANT AS NOT ENFORCEABLE-Libya

Colonel Muammar Qaddafi on Monday became the second Arab leader, after Sudan’s Omar Hassan Al-Bashir, to be sought by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity. But the Libyan dictator seemed to dismiss the ICC’s arrest warrant as inconsequential and unenforceable.

The Hague-based ICC issued arrests warrants for Colonel Qaddafi, his son Seif al-Islam, 39, and the head of Libyan intelligence, Abdullah al-Senussi, for the murder and persecution of civilians who rebelled against his 42-year rule since February 17, 2011.
Libyan Justice Minister Mohammed Al Qamoodi told a news conference in Tripoli on Monday that the ICC arrests warrants would not affect Colonel Qaddafi and his son.

Israel “determined” to stop flotilla from reaching Gaza

Israel said Monday it was “determined” to stop the Freedom Flotilla II from reaching the Gaza Strip.
But it hopes to do so with “minimal friction,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet said in a statement.
The forum of about a dozen senior ministers held a special meeting to discuss the group of ships carrying pro-Palestinian activists who have said they will attempt to break the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza this week.
“The members of the cabinet decided at the end of a discussion about the flotilla, that Israel will be determined to prevent the flotilla from arriving in Gaza, and this with the minimal friction for as much as is possible with the passengers,” it said.
DPA

Chinese PM wants military action in Libya to stop

The visiting Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao on Monday told Britain that Beijing was opposed to continued military action in Libya, which, instead of protecting civilians as envisaged in the U.N. resolution, had actually led to the loss of numerous innocent lives.
“Foreign troops can win the war but not peace,” he said, addressing a joint press conference with his British counterpart David Cameron after holding talks as part of the annual U.K.-China Strategic Summit.
Calling for a political resolution, Mr. Wen said China had been in touch with both sides in a bid to bring them to the negotiating table.

ICC issues Qaddafi arrest warrant as rebel fighters near Tripoli--libya

The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Monday issued an arrest warrant for Libya’s leader, Muammar Qaddafi, for crimes against humanity committed against opponents of his regime since mid-February, as rebels and regime forces clashed on the road to Tripoli.

The decision by The Hague-based ICC comes on the 100th day of NATO's operations in Libya, with airstrikes having eased the siege of key rebel cities.

"The chamber hereby issues a warrant of arrest against Muammar Qaddafi," Judge Sanji Mmasenono Monageng said during a hearing at the Hague-based court.

 The chamber hereby issues a warrant of arrest against Muammar Qaddafi 
ICC Judge Sanji Mmasenono

Syria dissidents meet in Damascus to discuss transition

Some 150 Syrian dissidents are attending a conference in Damascus on Monday to discuss the country's crisis.
It is the first time such an event is taking place since anti-government protests broke out in March.
Some of those attending have spent time in prison in the past for their political activities.
But they do not represent political parties or activists involved in recent protests. Some opposition members cast doubt over the validity of the meeting.
The Syrian authorities are said to have been informed of the meeting and have not blocked it, but there will be no government representation at the event.

Clash over new high-speed rail tunnel in Italian Alps

Police have clashed with demonstrators in the Italian Alps over the construction of a new high-speed rail link with France.
Tunnelling is set to start for a line from Turin to Lyon, which is expected to cut the travel time by nearly half.
Local residents built barricades to prevent heavy machinery from starting work in the picturesque Val di Susa, in northern Italy.
Police used fire hoses and tear gas to disperse them.
The Italian government is determined to go ahead with the project, which is heavily backed by EU money, and has ordered work to go ahead despite environmental objections.

Singur land issue: HC refuses to pass interim injunction

KOLKATA: The Calcutta high court on Monday refused to pass an interim order restraining the West Bengal government from distributing to farmers in Singur the land acquired earlier to set up Tata'a car manufacturing unit.

On Tata Motor's plea that an interim injunction be passed to restrain distribution of the land from tomorrow, Justice Saumitra Pal said in that case the company's original petition challenging the Singur Land Rehablitation and Development Act, 2011 would become infructuous.

Egypt says it will not need IMF, World Bank funds

Egypt will not borrow from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund after revising its budget and cutting the forecast deficit, even though a loan had been agreed, Finance Minister Samir Radwan said on Saturday.

The 2011/12 deficit in the first draft budget was forecast at 11 percent of gross domestic product, but was revised to 8.6 percent because of a national dialogue and the ruling army council’s concerns about debt levels, the minister told Reuters.

“So we do not need to go at this stage to the Bank and the Fund,” Mr. Radwan said, adding that Egypt, which had borrowed from the IMF under ousted president Hosni Mubarak, still had the “best relations” with the two US-based institutions.

Secret chambers of Padmanabhaswamy temple opened

Four of the six underground inner chambers at the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple here, where priceless jewels and articles of rare antiquity are believed to have been stored, were opened on Monday morning in the presence of two former judges of Kerala High Court.
The cellars, remaining closed for several decades, were ordered to be opened by the apex court to prepare an inventory while considering a private petition recently.
The examination was conducted but the media was kept away as its result was meant to be informed only to the Supreme Court.
The apex court had appointed Justices M.N. Krishnan and C.S. Rajan as observers.

Dey murder case cracked; seven arrested: Patil

Two weeks after crime reporter Jyotirmoy Dey was shot dead here, Maharashtra Government on Monday said the murder case has been cracked with the arrest of seven persons from the state and Tamil Nadu.
Home Minister R.R. Patil said three people were arrested from Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, one from Solapur and three from Mumbai.
“All the seven hail from Maharashtra,” he told PTI here.
“Mumbai police commissioner and joint commissioner of police have informed me about the development,” Patil said.
He identified two of the accused as Satish Kalya and Anil Waghmode.
“I have announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh for the Mumbai Crime Branch team for exemplary work they have done in the case,” Mr. Patil said.
Meanwhile, a police source said that an underworld link was surfacing in the incident and is being verified.
Jyotirmoy Dey (56), working with the city-based English tabloid Mid-Day, was shot dead by four motorcycle-borne assailants in suburban Powai on June 11.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Four Khmer Rouge leaders go on trial

Defendants, including "Brother Number Two" Nuon Chea, accused over deaths of an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians.



The United Nations-backed trial of the four most senior surviving members of Cambodia's murderous Khmer Rouge regime began on Monday, three decades after its "year zero" revolution marked one of the darkest chapters of the 20th century.
The defendants, infirm and ranging in age between 79 and 85, were among the inner circle of the late Pol Pot, the French-educated leader of the Khmer Rouge's ultra-Maoist "Killing Fields" revolution.