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1.01.05 TSUNAMI HELP & RESOURCES
1.18.05 1.19.05 TSUNAMI NEWS
(AP) The undersea earthquake that caused a tsunami in the Indian Ocean last month also permanently changed landscapes up to 930 miles away from the epicenter off the coast of Indonesia, Dutch researchers said Wednesday. Researchers at Delft Technical University based their measurements on satellite data that has not previously been published. They estimated that on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, closest to the epicenter of the earthquake, land shifted by more than three feet. The Thai island of Phuket, 460 miles away, moved 3.9 inches, while Singapore moved 0.8 inches. [More>>gadsdentimes.com via tajikistannews.net]
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (Reuters) - The global death toll from the Asian tsunami shot above 226,000 Wednesday after Indonesia's Health Ministry confirmed the deaths of tens of thousands of people previously listed as missing. The ministry raised the country's death toll to 166,320. It had previously given a figure of 95,450 while Indonesia's Ministry of Social Affairs had put the death toll at around 115,000 before it stopped counting. [More>>Reuters.com]
COLOMBO, Jan. 18 The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) says most of the tsunami survivors in Sri Lanka have begun returning to their damaged homes. But it said the emergency still persists. ³We need to realize that the emergency is far from over,² the head of the UNDP in Sri Lanka Miguel Bermeo-Estrella said. [More>>colombopage.com]
A forum on the media response in Thailand concluded that the media have to respond more quickly: Ranjana Wangvipula reports: Participants at the forum agreed that the media, particularly television and radio reporters, had to play a more active role in future in disseminating timely and accurate information when disaster situations emerge. "Journalists must be more proactive in providing information when a disaster strikes. It seems that the media is presently reactive," said economist Varakorn Samakoses, rector of Dhurakijpundit University. Some television channels were criticized for their sluggish response to the initial warning by the government's top geologist. [More>>bangkokpost.net]
The Bank of Ceylon, the People's Bank and the Central Bank have established three separate web sites to facilitate on line contributions to the President's Fund for disaster relief. Contributions could be made accessing these web sites, states the Office of the President.
The Government yesterday raised the tsunami death toll to 38,195, a 7,000 increase from the last week's 31,000 body count. Public Security, Law and Order Ministry Secretary Tilak Ranaviraja said they were still pulling bodies from the rubble and about five to six bodies were being unearthed everyday.
1.18.05 - 1.19.05 OTHER NEWS
KOBE, Japan, Jan. 19 The United States, which opposes the Kyoto protocol on global warming, is trying to remove references to climate change in UN talks aimed at setting up a disaster early warning system, a US official said Wednesday. The US has voiced objections to "multiple" references to climate change in drafting documents for the global conference in Kobe, Japan on disaster reduction, said Mark Lagon, deputy assistant secretary in the State Department bureau of international organization affairs. He said the United States believed climate change was a "well-known" controversy and that there were "other venues" to discuss it. [More>>jang.com.pk]
MOSCOW, Jan. 19 Russia and the European Space Agency (ESA) signed an agreement Wednesday allowing Russia to use ESA's sites for space launches and allowing the two sides to freely exchange research and development information. The agreement was signed here by ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain and Russian Space Agency chief Anatoly Perminov. Both sides hailed the accord as a great achievement that required four years of tough talks. [More>>jang.com.pk]
Consumer prices jumped 3.3 percent last year as the biggest surge in fuel bills in 14 years pushed up inflation at the fastest pace since 2000, the government reported Wednesday. But in a sign that some relief may be on the way, retail prices fell by 0.1 percent in December, driven lower by the largest one-month drop in energy costs since July. [More>>washingtonpost.com]
Israel has lifted a ban on contacts with new Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, imposed last week after a suicide attack in the Gaza Strip. Israeli Army Radio said the decision was taken at a meeting of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's inner cabinet. It paved the way for talks being held between senior Israeli and Palestinian security officials on the violence. [More>>bbc.com; see also Jerusalem Post]
1.19.05 Update, 1.18.05 Eight Chinese kidnapped in Iraq
Jan. 19 The Chinese Foreign Ministry says China is seriously concerned with the kidnapping of eight Chinese people in Iraq and will take all measures to rescue them. [More>>CRIonline] The kidnappers gave China 48 hours "to clarify their role in Iraq." [The Daily Star]
TEHRAN, Jan. 19 (MNA) Iranıs nuclear spokesman Hossein Musavian announced on Wednesday that the Islamic Republic is prepared to cooperate with the European Union on the issues of security and disarmament. In a speech at a seminar in Paris entitled ³Middle East, Peace, Stability, and the Role of Iran², Musavian elaborated on Iranıs positions on security issues in the Middle East. [More>>mehrnews.ir]
LONDON, Jan. 19 Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has labelled British author Salman Rushdie an apostate whose killing would be authorized by Islam, according to message carried by Iranian media Wednesday. Khamenei's reference to Rushdie was made in a message to Muslims making the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, and was part of a lengthy tirade against "Western and Zionist capitalists" and the US-led "war on terror." [More>>iranmania.com]
1.19.05 Venezuela considers Rice statements "very grave"
CARACAS, Jan. 19 (AFP) - US Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice's pointed comments about Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez are "very grave," the Venezuelan foreign minister said Wednesday. Rice described Chavez as "a negative force" in Latin America during US senate hearings towards her confirmation as the top US diplomat. Rice made statements "that the Venezuelan government considers are very grave, even though they are not new," Foreign Minister Ali Rodriguez told reporters here. [More>>turkishpress.com]
LONDON, Jan. 19 (AFP) A wide majority of people questioned in a BBC World Service global opinion poll published Wednesday believe that US President George W. Bush has made the world more dangerous. Almost half of the nearly 21,000 people in 21 countries who responded to the poll also made no distinction between the Bush administration and America itself. They saw US influence in the world as largely negative and viewed Americans negatively as well.
1.19.05 Four car bombs explode in Baghdad, killing 26 Iraqis
BAGHDAD Four car bombs exploded within 90 minutes here today, killing at least 26 Iraqis and injuring 21 other people, the U.S. military said. The blasts, which were believed to be coordinated, began at 7am, shortly after dawn. No U.S. soldiers were killed in the attacks. [More>>latimes.com; see The New York Times story: "5 car bombs..."
WASHINGTON , Jan. 19 Support for the war in Iraq has continued to erode, but most Americans still are inclined to give the Bush administration some time to try to stabilize the country before it withdraws U.S. troops, the Los Angeles Times Poll has found. The poll, conducted Saturday through Monday, found that the percentage of Americans who believed the situation in Iraq was "worth going to war over" had sunk to a new low of 39%. When the same question was asked in a similar poll in October, 44% said it had been worth going to war. [More>>latimes.com]
ROME, Jan. 19 Peter Popham reports: Thirteen metres beneath the streets of Rome, archaeologists have discovered what people are calling "a new Pompeii" that has been buried for nearly two millennia. Using video cameras, a team of researchers has unveiled a mosaic, in almost perfect condition, showing a team of naked men at the time of Emperor Nero, trampling the grape harvest.
Here's to mud in y'r eye! (A possible quote from a possible alien space probe)
LONDON (AP), Jan. 18 Police said Tuesday they were investigating whether a radical Muslim cleric broke the law in an Internet sermon in which he reportedly urged support for Al-Qaeda. The Times newspaper reported that Omar Bakri had declared that the "covenant of security'' under which Muslims live peacefully in the Britain had been violated by antiterrorist legislation. "I believe the whole of Britain has become Dar ul-Harb,'' which was translated as "land of war,'' the report said.
WASHINGTON (Press Trust of India) Jan. 18 Amidst reports that US commandos had entered Iran searching for suspected weapon sites, President George W. Bush has said he would not rule out military action against Tehran if it did not reveal details of its nuclear programme. "I hope we can solve it diplomatically, but I will never take any option off the table," Bush told NBC News last night when asked if he would rule out military action against Iran "if it continues to stonewall the international community about the existence of its nuclear weapons programme."
Jan. 19 The Pentagon Monday attacked allegations by The New Yorker that claimed Iran was the next strategic target in the war on terrorism. The lengthy article by Seymour Hersh released by the magazine Monday claimed the Bush administration plans to use its re-election to expand the war on terror and any escalation would be under Pentagon control. "The planning for Iran is going ahead even though Iraq is a mess," Hersh told CNN. "I think they really think there's a chance to do something in Iran, perhaps by summer, to get the intelligence on the sites."
TEHRAN, Jan. 18 Iran has the military might to deter attacks against it, its defence minister said in remarks published on Tuesday, one day after US President George W. Bush said he would not rule out military action against Iran. Iranian Defence Minister Ali Shamkhani said the Islamic Republic, which has seen US forces topple regimes in neighboring Afghanistan and Iraq in the last three years, did not fear attack. [More>>expressindia.com]
ISLAMABAD, Jan. 17 The Foreign Office on Monday denied reports in a United States magazine that Pakistan was helping American special forces target suspected weapons sites for air strikes in Iran. "There is no such collaboration," Foreign Office spokesman Masood Khan said, referring to an article in The New Yorker magazine that claimed Pakistani scientists were providing the US with information on Iranian nuclear sites. "We do not have much information about Iran's nuclear programme so I think this report is far-fetched and it exaggerates facts which do not exist in the first place," the spokesman told a press briefing. "I do not think there is any substance in what has been reported.
WASHINGTON, Jan. 18 The United States has imposed new sanctions against seven Chinese companies as well as two firms from Taiwan and North Korea, charging they may have helped Iran in its quest for weapons of mass destruction and more modern ballistic missiles. A State Department notice published in the latest issue of the Federal Register said the nine conglomerates are being penalized for transferring to Iran equipment and technology controlled under multilateral export control lists.
The UN's nuclear watchdog says it plans to send its inspectors to Iran again soon to take another look at the Parchin military site. It follow last week's visit to the plant which the United States alleges is being used by Tehran to simulate nuclear arms testing. This comes after US President George W. Bush said he would not rule out military action against Iran if it was not more forthcoming about its suspected nuclear weapons programme. In an interview with the NBC television network, Bush said he hoped the dispute could be solved diplomatically but added he would "never take any option off the table". Iran insists its nuclear programme is peaceful and geared solely to producing electricity. [dw-world.de]
1.18.05 More than 2 million Muslims gather in Mecca
Jan. 18 More than 2 million Muslims have gathered in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, for the annual hajj. All able Muslims are expected to perform the hajj at least once in their life. The pilgrims are retracing the steps of Muhammad, Islam's 7th century prophet, in the biggest annual mass movement of people on the planet. [More>>guardian.co.uk]
Three British soldiers carried out "shocking and appalling" physical and sexual abuse of Iraqi prisoners that was photographed by servicemen, a court martial heard today. Twenty-two photographs were released by a British military court in Germany where the court martial of the three accused Royal Regiment of Fusiliers soldiers opened today.
1.18.05 Taiwan envoys not invited to Bush inauguration
BEIJING, Jan. 18 The United States said clearly that it did not invite Taiwan's "envoy delegation" to President Bush's forthcoming inauguration, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said here Tuesday. According to the reports of Taiwan media, the Taiwan authorities would assign an envoy delegation to Bush's inauguration on Jan. 20. The delegation was said to be headed by Lee Yuantseh and include several political figures. [More>>xinhuanet.com]
Jan. 18 Nathan Guttman, Haaretz Correspondent, AP and Haaretz Service, reports: Condoleezza Rice, who will likely replace Colin Powell as U.S. Secretary of State said Tuesday she plans to personally manage Israeli Palestinian contacts. Rice was speaking to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing meant to confirm her nomination. Rice told senators that both sides must take advantage of a "moment of opportunity" in the Middle East. She said she was encouraged by the recent elections in the Palestinian Authority and added that she was looking forward to personally working with leaders of both sides. Rice stressed that Israel must work to improve conditions for Palestinians in the territories, and that Palestinians must fight terror. [More>>haaretzdaily.com; see also The Jerusalem Post]
WASHINGTON, Jan. 18 Gina Holland, Associated Press, reports: The Supreme Court on Tuesday dodged a dispute over the government's plans to conduct military trials for Osama bin Laden's former driver and other foreign terror suspects, avoiding another clash over the president's powers. Justices were asked to decide if the Bush administration is trying to shortcut the rights of non-Americans facing trials at the Guantanamo Bay Navy base in Cuba. They declined, without comment.
NEW DELHI (IANS) Jan. 18 India Tuesday held the first road show inviting bids for 20 blocks being offered under a new policy for oil exploration. In the fifth round of New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP), India is offering 20 exploration blocks, including 12 on-land blocks, two shallow-water blocks and six deep-water (beyond 400 meters bathymetry) blocks.
1.18.05 Ricoh introduces the world's first GPS-ready digital camera
SAN BERNARDINO, CA., Jan. 18 Ricoh Corporation a leader in specialized digital imaging devices today launched the Pro G3. The Pro G3 is a high-resolution digital camera that embeds captured images with GPS coordinate information received from either its on-board GPS unit or from external GPS devices. Once these captured geo-imagesı are transferred to a PC, they are automatically converted to shape files or merged to geo-databases for instant integration into Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Points representing each imageıs position may be hovered over to display a thumbnail, or clicked on to access the full-size image.
1.18.05 Airbus unveils its superjumbo
Jan. 19 AIRBUS unveiled its A380 superjumbo in a glitzy ceremony today at which the leaders of France, Britain, Germany and Spain hailed Europe's victory over the US as the new king of the commercial skies. The huge new aircraft, which can carry up to 840 people on its two full decks, supersedes the ageing 747 by US rival Boeing as the biggest passenger aircraft ever made. More>>theaustralian.news.com.au; see also cnn.com]
1.12.05 French postal workers strike
PARIS, Jan. 19 French postal workers began a 24-hour strike today, starting three days of industrial unrest which puts the spotlight on discontent with President Jacques Chirac's conservative government. Four main postal unions, representing the bulk of the sector's 300,000 staff, say plans to introduce competition into mail delivery will lead to widespread closures of rural post offices and a creeping privatisation of the state-run sector. More>>theaustralian.news.com.au]
Jan. 19 Russian and U.S. officials held new talks on bilateral efforts to remove chemical weapons, Interfax news agency reported Monday. Viktor Kholtsov, deputy head of Russia's Federal Industry Agency, met with a delegation from the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency, to discuss cooperation in chemical disarmament, the news agency said.
1.18.05 Chinese expedition surmounts Antarctica's highest peak
BEIJING, Jan. 18 (Xinhuanet) -- A 12-man Chinese expedition surmounted the highest icecap peak in Antarctica at 3:16 a.m. Tuesday, according to the polar expedition office of the State Oceanic Administration (SOA). They are the first humans to reach the peak of Dome A Icecap 4,039 meters above sea level, located at 80:22:00 degrees south latitude and 77:21:11 degrees east longitude. The team planned to establish an interim scientific observation station at the spot to monitor the climatic environment, measure the depth of the icecap and obtain ice sample from a depth 150 meters to 200 meters below the surface, the SOA said. [More>>xinhuanet]
GUWAHATI, (Indo-Asian News Service), Jan. 18 India has put its soldiers on alert on the border with Nepal after reports that Maoist guerrillas from the kingdom were trying to set up bases in the country's Northeast by forging links with Indian separatists.
WASHINGTON (AP) Jan. 18 An Iraqi-American businessman pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges that he received payments from Iraq to illegally act as its agent in the United States, including getting millions of dollars worth of oil from the United Nations' oil-for-food program. Samir A. Vincent, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Annandale, Va., entered the guilty pleas in federal court in New York to four criminal counts, including conspiring to act as an unregistered agent of a foreign government and tax violations, according to Attorney General John Ashcroft. Vincent faces up to 28 years in prison. [More>>ap.org; see also Reuters.com]
1.12.05 Protesters plan "die in" during Bush inaguration
WASHINGTON (Reuters) Jan. 12 Protesters will march through Washington, stage a "die in" across from the White House and turn their backs on President Bush's limousine during his inaugural celebration next week, organizers said on Wednesday. As U.S. authorities prepared unprecedented security for the Jan. 20 event, organizers said thousands of protesters will stage a noisy counterpoint to the lavish $40 million celebration. [More>>Reuters]
1.12.05 Canada finds third case of mad cow disease
Jan. 13 Canadian officials said Tuesday they had detected a third case of mad cow disease, this time in a cow born after the introduction of preventive measures. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said in a statement no part of the infected animal an Alberta beef cow just under 7 years old entered the human or animal food supply. [More>>bignewsnetwork.com]
1.07.05 Sinclair Broadcasting to sue webloggers
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