Intrnational Agencies News
Maps of interest
East Asia Watch
News Headlines & Trends
1.01.05 TSUNAMI HELP & RESOURCES
1.24.04 - 1.25.05 TSUNAMI NEWS
Jan. 24 A new Tsunami Atlas using satellite images, topographic maps and geo-statistics has been developed by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. The atlas shows tsunami affected areas before and after the disaster. It helps experts to evaluate the damage and estimate rehabilitation needs of agricultural land, mangrove areas and coastal infrastructure. The current version covers Indonesia and Sri Lanka, other countries will be included soon. The atlas will be distributed to ministries, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations...FAO has prepared a CD-ROM containing tsunami related images collected from major spatial data sources on the web. These include raw satellite images, interpreted satellite images, topographic maps, thematic maps and statistics. The actual content of the CD varies by region.
Jan. 25 The statue of an ancient princess who was sacrificed to the ocean to calm a tidal wave has become an object of veneration by Sri Lankašs tsunami-stricken population. The local newspaper 'The Island' carries a photograph taken in 'Kelani Raja Maha' temple, approximately ten kilometers from the capital Colombo, depicting pilgrims in prayer before a glass case displaying the image of Princess Vihara Maha Devi, the daughter of King Kavanissa. Legend has it that the sovereign who reigned during the second century BC placed his daughter in a golden canoe and abandoned her to the waters in order to appease the sea gods, who were threatening to flood coastal areas and destroy villages. Believed to have drowned, the young princess instead survived, ending up on the coast in Kirinda, which by a strange coincidence also happens to be one of the places hit by the tsunami on 26 December 2004. Now the statue, a highly precious work of art but which was never intended as a religious object, has drawn the interest of Buddhists who are asking it to protect them from further disaster or praying to it for their dead. Experts claim this legend contains an echo of a historic event: a tidal wave that hit the country over 2.000 years ago. [www.misna.org]
Jan. 25 Indonesia has increased its number of dead and missing by 55,000 to more than 228,000 people from December's tsunami. That brings the total death toll across the 11 affected nations to more than 281,000, up from 225,000 last week, The Times of London said Tuesday. In Sri Lanka, the second worst-hit country, the death toll stands at 30,957 and the number of missing set at 5,637. Thailand also increased its confirmed death toll to 5,384, and was preparing for an international meeting aimed at installing a warning system. In India, the official death toll has reached 10,744 with 5,669 still missing and feared dead. [More>>bignewsnetwork.com]
COLOMBO, Jan. 25 The Anglican Church of Sri Lanka has expressed concern over the "alarming" long-term consequences of foreign military personnel in Sri Lanka..."While we appreciate their present humanitarian assistance, it would be a serious mistake with alarming consequences if those who arrive for humanitarian purposes become entrenched into a politico-military agenda..." [More>colombopage.com]
NEW DELHI, Jan. 24 (PTI) India will set up a tsunami warning system in the Indian Ocean, which will become operational by 2007, and provide relevant information to other Indian Ocean rim countries, Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal said here today. "The entire system will be operational by September 2007 while the key elements will be in place by March 2006," Sibal told reporters briefing them on the two-day brain storming session on tsunami which concluded last Saturday. The work on the system would start next month, he said. [More>>Press Trust of India]
CHENNAI, Jan. 24 (IANS) An earthquake jolted the Andaman and Nicobar islands and Chennai Monday causing panic but officials said these were part of the aftershocks continuing since the tsunami disaster. The earthquake in the Andamans, with its epicenter west of Great Nicobar, measured 6.5 on the Richter Scale. Parts of Chennai suffered mild tremors that scared residents, particularly those in high-rise buildings. Many fled to the streets.
1.24.05 - 1.25.05 OTHER NEWS
1.25.05 Stampede death toll may top 300
BOMBAY, Jan. 26 As many as 300 Hindu pilgrims, including several women and children, may have been crushed or burned to death in a stampede and fire near a temple in western India today, the top district official said. "We cannot confirm it but it appears that 250 to 300 people are dead," Subrao Patil, the top official in Satara district, where the temple is located, told a local television reporter. "This does not include the people who may have been charred to death in the shops that have been gutted nearby in the fire." Another local official said at least 150 bodies had already been recovered. Authorities said more than 150,000 people were on a pilgrimage to the popular Mandher Devi temple, situated on a hill near Wai, about 260km south-east of Bombay. [theaustralian.newss.com.au; see also Press Trust of India]
1.25.05 Indian film actress dies
Jan. 25 Saturday, Jan. 22, Parveen Babi was found in her flat, having been dead two days. After acquiring stardom and living abroad for ten years, she returned to India and became a recluse, suffering from mental disease. Diptosh Majumdar provides an interesting perspective on her funeral: " Art cannot graduate if it is not allowed to reveal weaknesses, vulnerability. Parveen Babi was buried without a murmur and without co-stars paying their last respects because she was too fragile, too frail. Not her death but her co-actors and directors staying away from her last rites tells us that Bollywood still lives by cliches. In the 21st century, the Hindi film world does not know how to deal with vulnerability..." [More>>expressindia.com]
WASHINGTON (AP) Jan. 25 Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and other Democrats assailed President Bush's decision to go to war with Iraq Tuesday and declared they would oppose Condoleezza Rice's nomination as secretary of state as a principal architect of a failed policy. Kennedy, of Massachusetts, keyed the Democratic attack with charges that Rice, as Bush's national security adviser, provided Congress with "false reasons" for going to war. Had she not, he said in a speech, "it might have changed the course of history." Sen. Mark Dayton, D-Minn., following up, accused the Bush administration of lying and said he was voting against Rice's confirmation as a way of trying to stop mistruths. [More>>The Associated Press; see also article, "Kennedy: Rice helped develop 'catastrophic' Iraq policy.' cnn.com]
1.25.05 Britian arrests freed Gitmo detainees
LONDON (AP) , Jan. 25 Four Britons who were freed after being detained for up to three years at the U.S. military camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, returned to Britain on Tuesday and were immediately arrested. "Police arrested the men under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000 which refers to the alleged involvement in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism," Metropolitan Police said. [More>>The Associated Press; see also dw-world.de and guardian.co.uk: The four men - Moazzam Begg, from Birmingham; Feroz Abbasi, from Croydon; and Martin Mubanga and Richard Belmar from north-west London - arrived at dusk at RAF Northolt, Middlesex, aboard a US military transport plane. As expected, the men were arrested on their arrival and taken to the high-security Paddington Green police station, in London, for questioning. Senior police sources say the men are unlikely to be charged, because any evidence obtained from Guantánamo would be inadmissible in court. It is expected that police will release all four men within days of their arrival..." and bbc.co.uk article for more information.
Jan. 25 Pakistan has handed over to the United States a key suspect in the bombings of two US embassies in East Africa in 1998, Pakistani officials say. Tanzanian Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, an alleged al-Qaeda militant who had a $5m American bounty on his head, was arrested last July. It is not clear when he was handed over to the US or where he is now held. Pakistan has arrested hundreds of al-Qaeda suspects since joining the US-led war on terror. [More>>bbc.co.uk]
BAGHDAD (Reuters) Jan. 25 Insurgents released a video on Tuesday showing a U.S. hostage pleading for his life, and militants assassinated a senior judge in Baghdad, intensifying a campaign of violence ahead of Sunday's watershed election. [More>>reuters.com]
Jan. 25 The interim Iraqi authorities have announced a curfew in the northern city of Kirkuk as 10 polling centres in areas north of Baghdad came under overnight attack. Kirkuk on Tuesday was set to impose the curfew and tough security in a bid to ward off attacks during the country's election scheduled for 30 January. From Tuesday, Kirkuk authorities ordered an 8pm to 5am curfew which will be extended by two hours on the eve of the election, in which Iraqis will vote for a national assembly to draw up a new constitution. A senior police official said his forces were ready to give their lives for Sunday's vote, while the governor of Kirkuk province has been holding daily meetings with community leaders to secure their help to counter fighters opposed to the presence of foreign troops in Iraq. [More>>Al-Jezeera]
LONDON, Jan. 25 (RIA Novosti's Alexander Smotrov) Inflation will leap over an 11 per cent barrier this year-as against an 8.5 per cent forecast, made by experts of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade. The pessimistic prognosis comes from Ruben Vardanyan, Troika Dialogue president. He was referring to Troika experts for his figures in a Novosti interview. [More>>rian.ru]
MOSCOW: Syrian President Bashar Assad arrived here Monday on a historic four-day state visit saying he was seeking a new path for peace in the Middle East rather than high-tech arms for use against arch rival Israel. "Russia is a great power, and it carries great responsibilities for world affairs," he told the Izvestia daily in an interview that was also scheduled to be aired on Channel One state television Tuesday night. "Thus Russia has to help stabilize the situation in the Middle East," Assad said. [More>>dailystar.com.lb; See a separate articles, "Russia will write off 73% of Syria's debt."rian.ru and "Syria, Russia to restore Soviet-era ties." turkishpress.com]
Syrian President Bashar Assad insisted Tuesday that the shoulder-launched Igla SA-18 missiles Damascus wishes to buy from Russia would not pose a threat to Israel. "This is a defensive, air defense, weapon," Assad told students during a visit to the Moscow State Institute for International Relations, the Interfax news agency reported. "If Israel is against us buying it, it means it wants to invade our airspace. The Israeli stance is illogical." [More>>haaretzdaily.com; see also (AP) Jerusalem Post]
FRANKFURT (AFP) Jan. 25 BaFin, the German financial market regulator, has asked prosecutors to probe US banking giant Citigroup over possible market manipulation in the eurozone government bond futures market, BaFin chief said in a newspaper interview...At the centre of the probe are some controversial bond trades by Citigroup in August. At the time, the US giant flooded the cash market with 11 billion euros (14.3 billion dollars) in sell orders, causing rivals to rush to hedge their exposure in the Eurex market for German government bonds by selling the futures. About half an hour later, Citigroup allegedly bought back four billion euros of the bonds at a lower price, raising suspicions of market manipulation. Citigroup allegedly made a profit of around 17 million euros on the deal. [More>>turkishpress.com]
1.25.05 US budget deficit pegged at $368 billion in fiscal 2005
WASHINGTON (AFP) Jan. 25 The US government deficit would ease to 368 billion dollars in the current fiscal year under existing laws, but the real gap may be higher when costs for Iraq are added, the Congressional Budget Office said. The deficit would be slightly lower than the record 412 billion dollar shortfall in the 2004 fiscal year that ended last September 30. But the estimate is up 20 billion dollars from the CBO's September forecast of a 348 billion dollar deficit. Moreover, the nonpartisan CBO said that its estimates "omit a significant amount of spending that will occur this year -- and conceivably for some time in the future -- for US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and for other efforts in the war on terrorism."..."Additional appropriations (for Iraq, Afghanistan and the war on terror) are expected to add about 30 billion dollars to the deficit this year and possibly more next year," CBO said in its report. [More>>afp.com; see separate article, "$1.3 trillion in deficits forecast over decade." latimes.com]
Jan. 25 Korea's investment in China has more than doubled over the past two years, driven by local companies' rush to take advantage of cheap labor and huge consumer base in the world's fastest growing economy. Korean direct investment in China amounted to $6.25 billion in 2004, up from $2.72 billion two years earlier, the Korea International Trade Association said yesterday. [More>>koreaherald.co.kr]
Jan. 25 China and Mexico have signed seven cooperation accords to facilitate trade, tourism and judiciary exchanges. Mexican President Vicente Fox and visiting Chinese Vice President Zeng Qinghong attended the signing ceremony of the accords, which are expected to give a new impetus to cooperation between the two nations. The accords include a treaty on criminal judicial assistance, an agreement on maritime transportation, and a memorandum of understanding on Chinese tour groups traveling to Mexico. Zeng Qinghong arrived in Mexico City Sunday for a three-day official visit to Mexico, the first leg of his five-nation tour of Latin America and the Caribbean. [More>>CRIonline; see also xinhuanet.com]
China's gross domestic product totaled 13.65 trillion yuan, or 1.65 trillion US dollars in 2004, a jump of 9.5 percent year-on-year. [More>>CRIonline]
PALU, Central Sulawesi (Antara): One person has been killed and four others were injured on Monday after an earthquake jolted Central Sulawesi. Ambo Tuwo, 75, of Karawana village, Donggala, died from injuries after his house collapsed.
Jan. 24 Kamal Nawash, President of FreeMuslims.org,, urges that the new Iraqi government be "representative of all its citizens." He argues: "...the despair and apprehension felt by the Sunni Arab Muslims is due to the fact that Sunni Arab Muslims have ruled Iraq for most of its history. The shift from Sunni Muslim to Shiite control is unprecedented in the Arab world and the significance of this transition cannot be exaggerated. As a consequence of this unavoidable transition, the leaders of the Arab Sunni Muslim population have called for a boycott of the elections..Recent reports have indicated that many Sunni Muslims Arabs are leaving Iraq for neighboring countries due to the current and foreseeable violence associated with the elections. Consequently, there is likelihood that Sunni Arab Muslims may be severely underrepresented in the new Iraqi government. This will be bad for Iraq and the Middle East. A new Iraqi government whose job is to write a draft constitution cannot be and should not be overwhelmingly Shiite. Such a government may be seen as illegitimate which will guarantee continued violence for the foreseeable future.
1.24.05 Nixon feared strike like 9/11
WASHINGTON (AP) Jan. 24 Almost three decades before the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US, a high-level government panel urged measures to protect the nation against terrorist acts ranging from radiological "dirty bombs" to airline missile attacks, according to declassified documents. "Unless governments take basic precautions, we will continue to stand at the edge of an awful abyss," Arms Control and Disarmament Agency scientist Robert Kupperman wrote in a 1977 report. That report, and other documents and memos obtained from government archives under the Freedom of Information Act, were the result of five years of work by the Cabinet Committee to Combat Terrorism. The group was formed in September 1972 by then president Richard Nixon after Palestinian terrorists killed 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympic Games. [More>>theaustralian.news.com.au]
NEW DELHI, Jan. 24 (Xinhuanet) -- China and India held their firststrategic dialogue here on Monday and exchanged views on both international and regional issues of mutual concern. A press release issued by the Chinese delegation to the dialogue said Wu Dawei, Chinese vice-minister of foreign affairs, and Shhyam Saran, Indian foreign secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs, held talks and reached a broad consensus on various issues. Both sides also exchanged views on Sino-Indian relations and agreed to make efforts to "raise bilateral ties to a new level." [More>>xinhuanet.com]
1.24.05 Bomber of Chinese bus identified
URUMQI, Jan. 24 (Xinhuanet) The bus blast case that occurred at noon of Jan. 20 in Kuytun City, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, has been solved, the regional public security bureau told Xinhua on Monday morning.. The blast, which reportedly occurred at the rear part of the bus, killed 11 people and injured 7 others...(the blast was caused by a disgruntled coal-mine worker who had been injured and was not satisfied with the compensation; he left a suicide note ed.) [More>>xinhuanet.com]
Jan. 25 Herve Couturier at the United Nations reports: UN Secretary General Kofi Annan today said the world body would fight vigorously against anti-Semitism and all forms of racism, in remarks observing the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Nazi death camps. "The United Nations must never forget that it was created as a response to the evil of Nazism, or that the horror of the Holocaust helped to shape its mission," the UN leader said.
1.24.05 Blizzard slams Northeast
BOSTON, Massachusetts (AP) Jan. 24 Boston's airport partially reopened Monday, but schools and courthouses were closed in many areas as the Northeast struggled to recover from the weekend's blizzard. The storm dumped more than 3 feet of snow on Massachusetts, and drifts were piled up to the eaves of some one-story buildings. Frustrated travelers waited for transportation after a weekend in which hundreds of airline flights were canceled.
TEHRAN, Jan.24 (MNA) "If Mr. Bush is really a proponent of world liberation, it would be better for him to visit Israel and do something for the liberation of the Palestinians," Iranian government spokesman Abdollah Ramazanzadeh said here on Monday in response to the U.S. presidentšs recent pledge to spread freedom across the globe. Ramazanzadeh also stated that the United States is in no position to launch a military attack against Iran. [More>>mehrnews.ir]
Jan. 24 German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has said on Monday military force should not be used to resolve the issue of Iran's controversial nuclear programme. He said efforts to find a political solution must continue. Meanwhile, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres has called for the world to take action against Iran, saying the country's nuclear ambitions threatened the stability of the whole Middle East. [More>>dw-world.de]
Jan. 24 Israel has seized large tracts of Jerusalem owned by West Bank Palestinian residents, lawyers say. The land was taken after Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government decided several months ago to enforce a long-dormant law that allows Israel to seize property belonging to Palestinians who fled or were driven out during the 1948-49 war that followed the state's creation. The new policy, first reported in the Israeli daily Haaretz on Sunday, could affect hundreds of Palestinians who own property in Jerusalem and is sure to raise the stakes in the stormy battle over the city, which Israel and the Palestinians both claim as their capital.
Jan. 24 Iran is accounting for the largest percentage of Iraqi expatriates to register for the country's elections next week, far outnumbering registered figures from the United States. Around the world, only about 16% of eligible Iraqi expatriates have signed up to vote, registration organizers said on Sunday. Only 9% of the Iraqis who have registered so far are from the US, but 22% are from Iran.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) Jan. 24 The Pentagon, edging into foreign spy operations traditionally handled by the CIA, is now using its own intelligence support group to work directly with U.S. special forces troops in world trouble spots, defense officials said on Monday. But the White House and Pentagon suggested that the group was a part of military changes sparked by the 2001 attacks on America and was not an attempt by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to grab authority over intelligence operations.
LONDON (AP) Jan. 24 Fundamentalist Islamic leaders in Saudi Arabia are telling militants intent on fighting "infidels" to join the insurgency in Iraq instead of taking up Osama bin Laden's call to oust the Saudi royal family at home, say Saudi dissidents who monitor theological edicts coming out of the kingdom.
1.24.05 Israel resumes work on illegal wall
Israeli bulldozers have resumed work on one of the most controversial sections of the illegal separation wall deep in the northern West Bank. The work began on Monday after an eight-month pause when the construction was halted by a court order. Palestinian security sources in Salfit town, which lies just to the south of the Jewish settlement of Ariel, said three bulldozers began work in the late morning, clearing land belonging to Salfit and to the neighbouring village of Iskaka...Although the Hague-based World Court ruled in July that parts of the barrier built on Palestinian land are illegal, Israel has insisted it will complete the project, which is eventually expected to stretch some 700km. [More>>Al-Jezeera]
KIRKUK, Iraq, Jan. 24 (AFP) Arab candidates running in Kirkuk`s provincial election have pulled out of the race in protest at the government`s decision to grant displaced Kurds the right to vote, the head of the Arab electoral list told AFP Monday. "The decision to withdraw came after the Iraq Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) allowed the displaced Kurds to register to vote. That was coupled with the security tensions in Diyala, Tikrit, Mosul and some parts of the Kirkuk," the head of the Arab list, Wasify al-Assy, said.
BAGHDAD, Jan 24 (AFP) - Iraq announced Monday the arrest of two lieutenants of Islamic extremist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, one of whom was said to be plotting election day attacks and was implicated in the 2003 bombing of the UN Baghdad headquarters. "Security forces in Iraq captured the most lethal of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's lieutenants, Sami Mohammed Ali Said al-Jaaf, also known as Abu Omar al-Kurdi, in a raid in Baghdad January 15," the government said in a statement.
BAGHDAD, Jan. 24 At least 10 people were injured when a car bomb exploded outside the party headquarters of the prime minister this morning, as Iraq prepared for a dangerous week before the elections. The suicide bomber struck at a police checkpoint near the National Accord offices in the center of the capital. The party is led by Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. [More>>latimes.com]
MOSCOW, Jan. 24 (RIA Novosti) Vladimir Putin notes the sincerity of his talks with Viktor Yushchenko. Speaking to journalists on the results of their meeting, the Russian head of state added: "We have discussed problems of energy and political interaction, military-technical and military-political cooperation". They also focused on economic problems, integration processes in the Common Economic Space (formed by Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan). "The new Ukrainian leadership needs time to grasp the gist of the on-going processes", Mr. Putin said.
PYONG YANG, Jan. 24 North Korea has cut food rations to just half the amount recommended by the World Food Programme, the UN food agency says. WFP monitors say government handouts have been cut from 300g (10.5oz) of cereals a day to 250g.
1.24 A team of Korean researchers have developed software capable of identifying cancerous and other illness-causing genes from a DNA chip, a government-run IT research institute said yesterday. The Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute hailed the development of the software as a case that has maximized synergy effects between the fields of information technology and biology. The software, the institute said, marks the highest level of IT technology applied to research of serious diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
The head of the Mossad intelligence service, Meir Dagan, warned Monday that there are signs that several Middle East states other than Iran - including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria - are at varying stages of development of nuclear programs.
TEHRAN, Jan. 24 (IANS) Iran Monday said it saw no possibility of opening talks with Washington during US President George W. Bush's second term as there would be no major change in American policy toward Tehran, reports Xinhua. "Given that the US government has started its new term with threats, it is clear that no major change has occurred in the US policy," government spokesperson Abdollah Ramezanzadeh was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency. [More>>Indo-Asian News Service]
1.07.05 Sinclair Broadcasting to sue webloggers
The following was posted on a Americablog Jan. 7:
Launched: 10.25.04 / 11.02.04
Visitors since 10.25.04
Copyright © 1981-2005 Maravot. All rights reserved