Intrnational Agencies News
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1.01.05 TSUNAMI HELP & RESOURCES
ACCUSED Australian terrorist Mamdouh Habib will be released from Guantanamo Bay detention centre within days and return to Australia a free man after being held for three years without being charged.
1.11.05 Fierce storms hit northern Europe and west coast of US
El Niño may be back, putting California through 2 weeks of heavy storms. Los Angeles county is up 467% over last year's rainfall; San Francisco is up 176%, and high tides make things worse in the Bay Area. Monday a mud slide in La Conchita, a community south of Santa Barbara, California wiped out an estimated 12 homes, killing as of Tuesday morning 3, injure 10, with as many as 22 people being unaccounted for. [More>>cnn.com via bignewsnetwork]; For more on the mudslide see latimes.com]
Last week Rian.ru reported that Russia was experiencing the highest temperatures since 1932, attributed to the warm winds passing over northern Europe. More than 150,000 Swedes were without power Tuesday and police said another person was reported killed in fierce storms that struck northern Europe over the weekend, bringing the death toll to 17. The country's National Board of Forestry said the hurricane-strength winds felled more than 50 million cubic meters (1.7 billion cubic feet) of trees, or about two years worth of lumber. Four people were killed in Denmark by flying debris or falling trees.
Brush fires in South Australia have taken eight lives. It is Australia's worst firestorm in 21 years, since 1983's Ash Wednesday fires which claimed 28 lives in south Australia and 47 in Victoria. [More>>news.com.au]. Some people fleeing the fires jumped into the sea. [More>cnn.com]
Jan. 12 Firefighters are waiting for reinforcements today after battling through the night with an out-of-control fire in Victoria's west. The fire has burned through more than 8000ha of grassland north of Balmoral, in the state's far west, claiming a house, a car and a hay shed on one property at nearby Telangetuk East and killing about 2000 head of sheep in the region. [More>>news.com.au]
1.11.05 Yeltsin killed man in 'drunken hit and run', biographer claims
Andrew Osborn in Moscow reports: Boris Yeltsin, Russia's first democratically elected leader, has been accused of killing a man in a drunken hit-and-run accident when in power and of ordering his aides to cover it up. The incident, which is alleged to have taken place in the early 1990s, is detailed in an updated biography of Russia's first post-Soviet president written by his former top aide and senior bodyguard, Alexander Korzhakov. Mr. Korzhakov's book, Boris Yeltsin: From Dawn to Dusk, was published in 1997 but a new chapter containing the damaging new allegations has been added recently. [More>>independent.co.uk]
Police sergeant John Ellsworth has sparked a privacy debate in the US that has prompted many to reconsider who can access their E-mail. Mr. Ellsworth is locked in a legal fight with Yahoo! after his son, L/Cpl Justin Ellsworth, a US marine serving in Falluja, was killed by a roadside bomb.
A report by Ginger Thompson and Nazila Fathi reminds us how quickly promised relief to victims of disaster fade. Hurricane Mitch swept away a community in Honduras six years ago and, say the reporters, Nahum Cáceres said since his community was devastated a dozen international aid organizations have come and gone since then. Thompson and Fathi say, "But all too often when disaster strikes - from here in Honduras to Iran, where the ancient city of Bam was shattered by an earthquake a year ago, to Mozambique, which endured floods in 2000 - that mission seems to last only as long as the media attention. After the last bodies are counted and public focus shifts, governments stop sending money, pledges are withdrawn, many private relief organizations pack their bags and the poor are left to finish reconstruction projects in the face of the same entrenched systems of corruption and neglect." [More>>nytimes.com]
1.11.05 Blast in Saddam's hometown kills six
A day after Baghdad's deputy police chief was assasinated when more than a dozen people were also killed Monday, SIX Iraqi police have been killed in a car bomb blast in ousted dictator Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, northern Iraq. [More>>news.com.au]
BRUSSELS, Jan. 11 The United States and the European Union averted a legal clash over rivals Airbus and Boeing Tuesday, agreeing to talks on eliminating billions of dollars in subsidies to the world's top two plane makers.
BEIJING, Jan. 12 China has become the world's third-largest trading nation, following the United States and Germany, as its foreign trade value hit a record high of US$1 trillion in the first 11 months of 2004, and the whole year's figure was expected to reach US$1.1 trillion. Simultaneously, Shanghai reportedly has overtaken Rotterdam as the No 1 port in terms of cargo throughput, handling 382 million metric tons last year. [ More>>atimes.com]
TEHRAN, Jan. 11 (AFP) Iran said Monday that U.S. oil giant Halliburton had won a major contract to drill for gas, despite U.S. sanctions against foreign investment in the country's energy industry. "Halliburton and Oriental Kish [an Iranian company] are the final winners of the tender for drilling South Pars phases 9 and 10," Pars Oil and Gas Company managing director Akbar Torkan said, according to state television. An unidentified Pars company board member said the deal for the gas fields in the Gulf off the south coast of Iran was worth about $310 million. [More>>dailystar.com.lb]
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon called the newly-elected Palestinian Authority chairman, Mahmoud Abbas, on Tuesday to congratulate him on his election victory at the start of the week. According to Army Radio, the two leaders committed themselves to maintaining contact and agreed that they would meet in the coming weeks. [More>>haaretzdaily.com; see also Jerusalem Post]. Abbas offers hand of peace. [More>>Al-Jezeera]
In its $40 billion deal with the National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC), India committed to import natural gas from Iran over a 25-year period and to develop two Iranian oil fields and a gas field. Iran will sell the liquefied natural gas (LNG) to India at a price linked to Brent crude oil. [More>>atimes.com]
Korea's Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute, backed by the Ministry of Information and Communication, has been developing personal computer products that can deliver high-speed network capability and are smaller than conventional laptops, a concept dubbed as "wearable PC."The device will provide bassic computer functions, an internet connection, and function as a digital music player. [More>>koreaherald.co.kr]
1.11.05 International Space Station (ISS) orbit to be raised in height
The height of the ISS orbit gets closer to Earth by 100-150 meters every day. To compensate for the gravitational pull to Earth, the station is "pushed" 4-5 kilometers in a single operation. However, the November 17,2004 "push" failed to achieve its objective, so Saturday January 15 the ISS will be pushed up 8 1/2 kilometers. [More>>rian.ru]
MOSCOW, Jan. 11 (RIA Novosti) Turkey shall fully support Russia in joining the World Trade Organization (WTO), Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan told a meeting with Turkish businessmen, which he has attended together with the Russian president [More>>rian.ru]
1.11.05 TSUNAMI NEWS
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (Reuters), Jan. 11 Indonesia told aid workers helping tsunami victims in its worst-hit region, Aceh, on Tuesday not to venture beyond two large cities on Sumatra island because of what it said were militant threats. Indonesia's head of relief operations said agencies would need permission to work outside the provincial capital, Banda Aceh, and the ravaged west coast town of Meulaboh. [More>>Reuters.com]
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP), Jan. 11 A 10-year-old girl who wanted to open a lemonade stand to raise money for tsunami victims saw her plan hit a brick wall, thanks to government regulations. All 10-year-old Carolyn Lipsick wanted to do was help kids hurt by the tsunami, because, she says, "you can't just think of yourself, you have to think of other people." When her mom called the city of Miami Beach to find out what to do about getting a license, the answer wasn't promising: There is a roadside-vendor ban in Miami Beach. [More>>Associated Press]
Maravot News (See Maravot News Trends) first reported the problem of the Andaman Islands and the hostile aborigines in their Sentinel Islands. It is not unexpected that the surviving aborigines would be unreceptive to rescue helicopters. Spengler's article on the reception 40 survivors out of a possible 100 inhabitants of the Sentinel Islands is worth reading for anthropology buffs who are concerned about the gradual extinction of the world's last stone-age people, who have declined in population from an estimated 10,000 in the 18th century. [Spengler's article>>atimes.com]
NEW DELHI, Jan. 11 The Indian government has approached the World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB) for financial assistance in rebuilding areas devastated by tsunami of December 26, which killed thousands of people and damaged property worth about 1.5 billion dollars. [More>>Press Trust of India via expressindia.com]
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, Jan. 11 The Sri Lankan government appealed to nations to provide $15.6 billion in aid, needed to rebuild the tsunami-affected parts of the country. [More>>colombopage.com]
S.P. Thamilselvan, the chief of the Tamil Tigers rebels in northern Sri Lanka said to the AFP, the rift between the two sides had been widened by the government's barring of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan from rebel-held areas in the northeast and the unfair distribution of international relief at the expense of the Tamil minority. [More>>via Yahoo News]
JAKARTA (AFP): The death toll from the earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia rose to 105,262 while the number of people listed as missing stood at 10,046, the social affairs ministry said on Tuesday. The new figure marked an increase of 1,207 on the previous toll of 104,055 from the Dec. 26 disaster. [More>>thejakartapost.com]
Although the US was scheduled to land 1,500 US marines in Sri Lanka, the Amphibious vessel USS Duluth brought about 100 marines and three helicopters to the southern coast of Sri Lanka for relief work before heading on to Iraq, a US official said yesterday. [More>>dailynews.lk]
While foreign tourists and Thais who survived the monster waves have been provided with shelter, basic facilities and financial assistance, hundreds of Burmese workers that are still alive and kicking are being treated as if they don't even exist. Illegal Burmese immigrants were caught up by the tsunami but have no rights as aliens. [More>>bangkokpost.net]
1.08.05 TSUNAMI NEWS
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, Jan. 8 Refusing to give a time frame, United States Secretary of State Colin Powell yesterday said prior to his departure from Sri Lanka that the US Marines who are landing here soon may spend a long period in Sri Lanka to carry out the relief and rebuilding process. ³We will be here for a long period of time by the simple fact that our Embassies are here, our USAID missions are here and the US military forces are here in the region. I can't tell you how long they will stay,² Mr. Powell said. [More>>lankapage.com]
Jan. 8 UN Secretary General Kofi Annan arrived in Colombo yesterday evening for a tour of areas battered by the December 26 tsunamis. Annan, who arrived from Indonesia, was met at the Bandaranaike International Airport by Finance Minister Dr Sarath Amunugama. Annan was accompanied by the Administrator of UNDP and Chef de Cabinet Mark Malloch Brown who, as Chair of the UN Development Group, will be coordinating the regional recovery effort with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. [More>>dailynews.lk]
A Dallas billionaire solicited to help pay for Bush's inauguration suggested that President George W. Bush cancel his inaugural balls and donate the $40 million saved to tsunami victims. Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, put the proposal on his web site December 31, and it has generated controversy and support on the Internet. Cuban believes that it would be "A great way to demonstrate that first step would be to have the inauguration, but cancel the parties and request the uncommitted donations be donated to the relief effort," he said in an email to ANN. [More>>asiannewsnet.net]
JAKARTA, Jan. 8 The number of people killed when an earthquake and tsunamis devastated Indian Ocean coastlines on December 26 stood at just over 156,000 Saturday after Indonesia reduced its number of deaths by almost 3,000. The Indonesian government revised down the nation's death toll to 104,055 from a figure of 107,039 given earlier in the day, the social affairs ministry said.
New Delhi, January 8: India revised its toll from the December 26 tsunami to 15,636 people dead or missing. The number of confirmed deaths rose to 10,012, while 5,624 people were reported missing, most of whom, officials say, are presumed to have died. The home ministry said the damage caused by the tsunami was estimated to be $1.6 billion. [expressindia.com]
JAKARTA (Reuters), Jan. 9 Indonesia reported nearly 3,000 new deaths on Saturday from the Dec. 26 earthquake and tsunami which struck the country's Sumatra island, bringing the toll of confirmed dead to 104,055. [More>>thejakartapost.com]
JAKARTA (Bloomberg), Jan. 9 Indonesia's tsunami-ravaged province of Aceh needs more volunteers and additional supplies of clean water and medicine as outbreaks of pneumonia, typhoid and diarrhea rise among refugees, aid workers said. Jose Rizal, a doctor with the Jakarta-based Medical Emergency Rescue Committee, said the Indonesian province that suffered the highest death toll in the Dec. 26 tsunami is short of people to help recover and bury bodies, and to tend sick and injured survivors. "We need a lot of clean water and equipment," Rizal said in a telephone interview. "Right now we're seeing growing cases of upper respiratory infection, diarrhea, typhoid, skin diseases, pneumonia. We need a speedy distribution of medicine. [More>>thejakartapost.com]
JAKARTA (AP), Jan. 9 A string of aftershocks rocked Indonesia's devastated Aceh province on Friday and Saturday, the country's Geophysics Agency said. Muslih, the agency's spokesman, said at least 14 aftershocks under the Indian Ocean had rattled the province on the northern tip of Sumatra island since Friday morning. The first and strongest one was of magnitude 5.4 which struck at 8:59 a.m. (0159 GMT) Friday. [More>>thejakartapost.com]
PHUKET, Thailand, Jan. 8 The Thai Government yesterday lambasted foreign forensic teams for discriminating against non-Caucasian corpses when collecting samples for DNA analysis to facilitate the identification process. Thai Interior Minister Dr Bhokin Bhalakula said the foreign forensic teams were picking and choosing Caucasian corpses first, adding that DNA samples of the 4,000 unidentified bodies should be taken in a systematic manner and not on a selective basis. ³We will not allow this to go on. Every corpse must be treated equally regardless of race or nationality,² he said. [More>>thestar.com.my]
The immense challenge of identifying the remains of Britons missing in Thailand has been compounded by problems of tagging that will require hundreds of bodybags to be unzipped and the remains resampled, the Guardian has learned.
Emma Ross (AP) writes an interesting article on the affects of the tsunami, why some coastlines were impacted and others were not. Experts report from their surveys that the coastlines have remained largely unchanged. However, the Andaman and Nicobar islands did experience what appears to be a permanent change: "Experts say nearly all the rest of the region is too far from the epicenter for the physical geography to have been affected. Those areas look different now because of flooding from the tsunami, but the water will recede.
1.08.05 OTHER NEWS
1.08.05 Guam-based attack submarine runs aground
WASHINGTON, Jan. 8 Donna Miles, American Forces Press Service, reports that a US Navy submarine ran aground in the Pacific. About 20 crew members are injured, one critically, after the Los Angeles-class submarine USS San Francisco ran around Jan. 7 about 350 miles southeast of Guam.
The vessel was en route to Brisbane, Australia, for a routine port visit when the incident occurred, Batarla reported.
Initial reports indicate that the submarine's hull is intact, and there are no reports of damage to the reactor plant, she said. Military and Coast Guard aircraft were en route to the site to monitor the situation and provide assistance.
The vessel is currently on the surface in the western Pacific, returning under its own power to Guam. It is expected to arrive at its home port Jan. 10, Batarla said.
USS San Francisco is one of three nuclear-powered submarines homeported in Guam, Batarla said. [www.dod.mil]
According to Israelnn.com, Kurdish sources are reporting that Iraqi security forces have captured the Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab Al-Zarkawi. Zarkawi is thought to be the leader of much of the anti-American, Islamist insurgency in Iraq and a local commander for Al-Qaeda. While official Iraqi sources have yet to confirm or deny these reports, media outlets throughout the Middle East are repeating the Kurdish reports. [kurdistanobserver.com; see also Israelnn.com]
The following comment received via E-mail from Senator Feinstein relates to my concerns E-mailed to her, of Bush administration cuts in state aid to offset interest obligations on the US debt:
1.08.05 Cloned cows with human genes born
Two cloned cows containing a human gene, which is an important component in breast milk, were born in east China's Shandong Province. The cows, which have the lactoferrin gene, were born in an animal research base for gene transfer. Experts say the cloned cows will be able to yield nourishing milk because of the gene transfer of human milk. They say cloned cattle with the human gene is valuable for scientific purposes and business. Only a few countries can do this cloning, including Britain and Argentina. [CRI online]
1.08.05 Kerry hopeful that strained US-Syrian ties can be improved
DAMASCUS, Syria, Jan. 8 United States Senator John Kerry said Saturday after talks with Syria's president he is hopeful that strained U.S.-Syrian relations can be improved, while President Bashar Assad assured him that he is interested in dialogue with Washington. The former Democratic presidential candidate, who arrived in Damascus Friday, met for two hours with Assad before meeting separately with Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa. In both meetings, the talks centered on the situation in Iraq and how to prevent militants from moving from Syria to Iraq. [More>>haaretzdaily.com; see also Jerusalem Post]
1.08.05 Iraq Blast Kills 14, Locals Blame U.S. Air Strike
AAYTHA, Iraq (Reuters), Jan. 8 Furious residents of a northern Iraqi village said on Saturday a U.S. air strike had flattened a villa and killed 14 civilians inside, in an attack likely to stir anti-U.S. anger ahead of a Jan. 30 election.
1.08.05 Riots erupt in Gilgit, Pakistan, 15 killed
GILGIT, Jan. 8 Curfew has been imposed in Gilgit city after 15 people including the Director of Health Services Northern areas, guard and a driver of a prominent Shia leader, Agha Syed Zia ud Din Rizvi ,and a terrorist were shot dead and eight people critically injured in several firing incidents here Saturday...Several government offices building including civil secretariat, PWD headquarters and planning and development were set on fire...The man who was killed seemed to be a terrorist and he does not hail from Gilgit, home secretary stated. [More>>jang.com.pk; see also Al-Jezeera]
1.08.05 Town divided over civil rights slayings
PHILADELPHIA, Miss. (AP), Jan. 8 The arrest of former Ku Klux Klan leader Edgar Ray Killen Thursday in one of the most horrific crimes of the civil rights era was for some a satisfying culmination of a long-delayed hunt for justice. But others here would rather forget the crime, along with the stain of violent racism it left on the town. [More>>Associated Press]
1.08.05 25-hour gunbattle ends in Srinagar; 2 militants killed
SRINAGAR, Kashmir, Jan. 8 Security forces today killed two militants holed up in the Income Tax Building in the heart of the city here after nearly 25 hours of gunbattle that also left five people including four security personnel dead. The ultras of al-Mansoorian outfit were killed after security forces launched room-by-room sanitisation excercise to push them to one side of the building in the Barbarshah locality here, Deputy Inspector General of Police H K Lohia said. [More>Press Trust of India; see also dawn.com]
1.08.05 Gunmen abduct four Iraqi officials
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN), Jan. 8 Gunmen abducted four public officials from Salah Ad Din province Friday night, according to a 1st Infantry Division spokesman. The public officials were in two vehicles, coming from the southern city of Najaf, when gunmen attempted to stop them, Maj. Neal O'Brien said. One of the cars escaped. Only three officials have been identified. They are Khataan Hamada, Salah Ad Din Provincial Council chairman; Ali Ghalib, assistant governor for technical affairs; and Amar Aaiash, dean of the Tikrit University College of Law. [More>>cnn.com via bignewsnetwork]
1.08.05 Sixteen Islamic militants arrested in Manilla; five detained
MANILLA, Jan. 8 Police on Saturday filed charges of illegal possession of explosives and firearms against five of the 16 people who were arrested on Friday during a raid of an Islamic office in Manila that yielded improvised explosives and guns. The rest of the people nabbed inside the Islamic Information Center at the third floor of the Agoncillo Building at the corner of Taft Avenue and Pedro Gil Street were released around 1 a.m. for further investigation. Charges before the Manila Prosecutors Office were Afgani Alonto, Ahmad Ricalde, Yusof Anor, Alih Nadia Hasshim and Mamar Adam Magilay. [More>>inq7.net]
TOKYO, Jan. 8 Tokyo Gov Shintaro Ishihara said Friday he was opposed to a request China made to the Japanese government to conduct maritime research in an area of the Pacific south of the capital. The central government sought an opinion from Ishihara since the area in question includes waters under Tokyo's jurisdiction. China wants to carry out research in waters west of the Ogasawara Archipelago, about 1,000 kilometers south of Tokyo and inside Japan's exclusive economic zone. (Kyodo News) [More and blog>>japantoday.com]
See Maravot_News_Trends "China" for some background on the issue, involving Chinese submarines, etc.
1.07.05 Sinclair Broadcasting to sue webloggers
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