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1.01.05 TSUNAMI HELP & RESOURCES
1.28.05 - 1.30.05 TSUNAMI NEWS
COLOMBO (AFP) Jan. 29 The United States is ending its tsunami military relief efforts in Sri Lanka and Maldives and moving its support into civilian-driven reconstruction programmes, US officials said. By February 15, all US military personnel and equipment sent to Sri Lanka in the immediate aftermath of the December 26 tsunami will have left, said commander of the operation Brigadier General Frank Panter.[lankapage.com]
Jan. 31 - France will seek Australian support to base the main UN-sponsored tsunami warning centre on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion when Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer visits this week. The development comes after representatives of 57 countries at a meeting hosted by Thailand on Saturday were unable to agree on a single regional tsunami alert centre, opting for a series of smaller regional warning centres.
SINGAPORE (AFP), Jan. 31 A hulking US Navy hospital ship, the USNS Mercy, will sail this week from Singapore to the Indonesian province of Aceh to help boost medical relief efforts for victims of the tsunami disaster. The whitewashed 1,000-bed floating hospital, the length of three soccer fields, arrived here on Saturday after a 24-day journey from its home port of San Diego, California and was scheduled to depart Tuesday for Aceh.
[India News]: Port Blair, Jan. 30 A series of aftershocks jolted the Andaman and Nicobar Islands since last night, including five in Camorta island alone, Meteorological Department said today. Five moderate temblors with intensity ranging between 5.0 and 5.3 on the Richter scale rattled the Andaman islands this morning. The quakes, epicentered in the East of Andaman, were recorded at 05:38, 06:04, 07:56, 08:05 and 08:44 hours. Tremors measuring 5.0, 5.3 and 5.1 on the Richter scale were felt off the East coast of Car Nicobar at 05:38, 06:04 and 07:56 hours, the Met. department said. [More>>newkerala.com]
Jan. 28 According to latest government figures, 30,957 people died in Sri Lanka, 5,637 are still missing and 396,295 still homeless from last month's tsunami. [lankapage.com]
A team of experts from the Interpol of Lyon in France in Sri Lanka will assist the foreign disaster victims identification team to identify specially the foreign nationals who died following the tsunami tidal waves. The Interpol experts will obtain orders from the Magistrates' Courts to exhume bodies buried in mass burial grounds in the affected areas to conduct anti-mortem examination before the post-mortem examination on foreign bodies. The Interpol experts' team has set up an efficient database to assist these teams in the analysis of DNA profile, anti-mortem and post-mortem data. [More>>dailynews.lk]
The Agriculture, Lands and Irrigation Ministry has formulated plans to remove the salinity of soil in cultivated lands in the tsunami stricken areas. Following research by soil scientists, engineers and agriculturists, the Ministry has commenced a program to 'wash' the fields damaged by seawater with freshwater, a Ministry spokesman told the Daily News yesterday. "If washing the affected paddy lands with freshwater is not sufficient, steps will be taken to use dolomite and gypsum to remove the salinity in such paddy lands," he said. According to information by the Ministry has received, salinity has affected the soil of over 4,000 acres of cultivated lands in tsunami stricken areas. [More>>dailynews.lk]
1.28.05 - 1.30.05 OTHER NEWS
Jan. 30 [a summary of the Al-Jezeera report] ...Commission spokesman Farid Ayar indicated that around eight million people may have voted, or about 60 percent of registered voters. That would still be more than many had expected. A high turnout, especially in Sunni areas, would enhance the legitimacy of a 275-member parliament, which will choose Iraq's leaders and write a new constitution.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) Jan. 30 Iraqis defied violence and calls for a boycott to cast ballots in Iraq's first free election in a half-century Sunday. Insurgents seeking to wreck the vote struck polling stations with a string of suicide bombings and mortar volleys, killing at least 44 people, including nine suicide bombers.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) Jan. 30 President Bush called Sunday's landmark Iraqi election a "resounding success" and said Iraqis have rejected the anti-democratic ideology of terrorists. "By participating in free elections, the Iraqi people have firmly rejected the anti-democratic ideology of the terrorists. They have refused to be intimidated by thugs and assassins," he said in televised comments from the White House after the polls closed. While acknowledging "terrorists and insurgents will continue to wage their war against democracy," Bush promised that the United States will continue to "support the Iraqi people in their fight against them."
PARIS (AFP) Jan. 30 Messages of support poured in from around the world as Iraqis voted in a landmark election hailed by both supporters and opponents of the US-led war as a key step towards restoring Iraqi sovereignty.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) Jan. 30 A British C-130 military transport plane crashed Sunday north of Baghdad, the British Defense Ministry said. A U.S. military official said the plane's wreckage was scattered over a large area but had no immediate word on casualties. The crash occurred at around 5:25 p.m. about 20 miles northwest of Baghdad, said a ministry spokesman. He had no further details. C-130s can carry well over 100 people, though the number on the flight was not announced. [More>>Associated Press]
Jan. 31 A policeman, a wanted militant and a Bahraini civilian were killed in a gun battle today near Kuwait City in the third deadly clash in the Gulf emirate this month, as the government vowed to crush terror. "The government reaffirms its determination to crush this deviant group and deter all those who attempt to disrupt the security and stability of our beloved homeland," a cabinet statement said after the fire fight. [More>>theaustralian.news.com.au]
LAHORE, Jan. 30 Intelligence agencies arrested three people in a raid at Lahore on suspected links with Al-Qaeda. According to sources, the detainees are alleged that they have worked for Al-Qaeda and they have been shifted to an undisclosed location while investigations are underway. Police and related agencies however have refrained from giving further details. [jang.com.pk]
1.30.05 Indian leader escapes bid on life
NEW DELHI (AFP) Jan. 29 A top Hindu nationalist leader on Saturday escaped an attack by Maoist rebels who bombed his helicopter during election campaigning in eastern state of Bihar, a report said. M. Venkaiah Naidu, former president of the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, was flying over Maoist-infested Gaya district when his helicopter ran out of fuel and had to make an emergency landing, the Press Trust of India reported. After the aircraft landed safely and Naidu and the other occupants left the spot, Maoist rebels set the helicopter ablaze with a petrol bomb, the report said.
Jan. 31 A bomb exploded in a hotel in the seaside town of Denia in south-east Spain today, injuring two people, local police said. A local police spokesman said the blast followed a call to a Basque newspaper. [theaustralian.news.com.au; see more details, "The attack in Denia in the Mediterranean province of Alicante came two days ahead of a debate by Spain's parliament on giving the Basque country yet greater autonomy to satisfy separatist ambitions..." [turkishpress.com]
LONDON (IANS) Jan. 30 Dangerous levels of climate change could come about in just over 20 years and the earth could warm by two degrees Celsius between 2026 and 2060, a new study has revealed. According to a study by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), temperatures at the Arctic could rise by three times the projected figure for the rest of the world, leading to a loss of summer sea ice and tundra vegetation. This would lead to polar bears and other animals dying out, reported news portal Free Internet Press.
Jan. 31 Australia's second-largest producer of gas and oil, Woodside Petroleum, won four out of eight bids for exploration licences granted by Libya in more than four decades. Woodside, one of 63 companies that qualified to participate in the auction of drilling rights, bid for eight permits but said yesterday it was pleased to have won its four preferred permits. "Woodside's blocks include frontier offshore acreage that is under-explored, with no activity in the past 15 years due to Libya's isolation from the west," the company said.
Libya is seeking massive investment to boost its oil sector, the development of which was stunted under international sanctions imposed following the bombing of a Pan Am passenger jet over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988. [More>>news.com.au]
1.30.05 Car smasher dumps Honda, buys Toyota
Jan. 31 A woman who smashed up her Honda CRV last week in protest at the car's frequent breakdowns has bought a new car a Toyota Wish. Duanpen Silaket gained public attention when she took a sledgehammer to her brand new CRV, which she said Honda Automobile (Thailand) would not replace despite many defects. Honda later agreed to refund her 1.24 million baht and take back the car. [More>>bangkokpost.net]
TOKYO (Kyodo News) Jan. 30 More than 80% of regional Japanese banks are considering switching from magnetic cash cards to ones embedded with IC chips in order to make counterfeiting more difficult, according to a Kyodo News survey. The survey shows 14 of the 112 responding regional banks have suffered damage from bank card counterfeiting. [japantoday.com]
Jan. 30 China and Venezuela have signed a series of cooperation agreements on economy, agriculture, oil, and telecommunication during Chinese Vice President Zeng Qinghong's visit. The two sides also issued a joint press release. Venezuela reiterates it will firmly stick to the "one China" policy and support China's stance on the Taiwan issue.
Jan. 31 John Roach writes: Proteins that give coral reefs a mysterious glow are illuminating medical and environmental research. Fluorescent protein molecules absorb light of one color and emit light of a different color. Understanding of the proteins' role may help preserve human lives as well as the coral reefs themselves.
Jan. 29 (Xinhua) Civil aviation sectors across the Taiwan Straits broke a half-century isolation Saturday with a smooth exchange of non-stop, round-trip charter flights linking multiple metropolises in the Chinese mainland and Taiwan.
Jan. 29 A top State leader said on Friday the mainland is ready to talk with Taiwan "president" Chen Shui-bian as long as he agrees that the two sides of the Straits belong to the one and same China. Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, China's top political advisory body, delivered the message a day before a historic non-stop cross-Straits charter flight programme was put into place. It was the first time that Beijing has categorically shown its willingness to deal with Chen, who was once branded as one of the diehard separatists and a man without political credit. [More>>chinadaily.com]
BAGHDAD, Jan. 28 Five American soldiers were killed in Baghdad in three separate incidents today, the military said, as pre-election violence also took the lives of four Iraqi policemen and a minibus driver. American officials also reported that an Army OH-58 Kiowa helicopter crashed in southwest Baghdad today, but they had no immediate information on the cause or the fate of the crew, which typically consists of two members, although the aircraft can carry additional crew members or passengers. [More>>nytimes.com]
1.28.05 UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism committe in Almaty, Kazakhstan
ALMATY, Kazakhstan, Jan. 28 During two days politicians, diplomats, economists and representatives of 36 different international and regional organizations discussed how to struggle against terrorism. The meeting consisted of 4 sessions. The participants discussed counteraction to financial terrorism and international legal instruments. A special theme was security of air and sea ports. The main task for the states that fight against terrorism is to deepen contacts and make improvements in receiving information about his sphere. [More>>khabar.kz]
1.28.05 Judge: Jackson accuser to testify in open court
SANTA MARIA, Calif., Jan. 28 The judge in the Michael Jackson child molestation trial today ruled that members of the press and the public will be allowed in the courtroom when the 15-year-old accuser and his brother testify against the entertainer. Earlier in the day in a separate ruling, the court decided to admit as evidence a controversial 2003 television documentary, which triggered widespread concerns about Michael Jackson's relationships with children. [More>>latimes.com]
While most of the world is focused on military conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, and potential military action in Iran, two major powers in the Asia Pacific region are unnerving each other. Who would ever have thought Japan and China could go to war in the next few years? It is highly unlikely, but possible. Relations between the two have been chilling for some time. Part of the problem is a group of islands in the southwest of Japan, including Chinaša Diaoyu Island. [More>>bignewsnetwork.com via tajikistannews.net]
YOUSSIFIYAH, Iraq (AP) Jan. 28, 8:18 EST Just ahead of the first free balloting in Iraq in half a century, the nation battened down for the vote, imposing a 7 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew on Friday and closing Baghdad International Airport. Five U.S. soldiers were killed in the capital and insurgents blasted polling stations across the country. The curfew will remain in effect through Monday and the nation's borders will be sealed for the election period. Medical teams are on alert and nationwide restrictions on traffic will be imposed from Saturday to Monday to try and deter car bombs. [More>>Associated Press; see also, "Iraq sealed off as insurgents keep up election battle,": BAGHDAD (AFP) Iraq sealed its frontiers and imposed other draconian security measures to counter insurgents whose deadly campaign of intimidation threatens the country's historic election. After another day of attacks which cost the lives of at least five US soldiers and 12 Iraqis, security forces battled into the night against rebels in Baghdad. [More>>turkishpress.com; another story, "Security tightened ahead of Iraq vote,": Draconian security measures have been imposed in Iraq amid continuing unrest in the run-up to elections on Sunday. Fifteen people, including five US soldiers, were killed on Friday by a car bomb and in attacks on voting stations and security forces across the country. [More>>Al-Jezeera]
(AP) Jan. 28 Because there will be no exit polls nor complete election results released Sunday night, it could be difficult to assess and understand the results of Iraq's historic elections. President Bush has said the fact that Iraqis are voting at all signifies a successful election. Some outside experts believe that turnout may be a key barometer of whether Iraqis accept the results or reject them through continued violence.
Who will compile, assess and announce the election results?:
Jan. 29 Kurdish leaders from rival factions in northern Iraq have united in hopes of winning a large bloc of seats in Sunday's National Assembly vote and say they will insist that either the presidency or the prime minister's job goes to a Kurd. The two top positions in Iraq's interim government are currently held by a Shiite Muslim and a Sunni Arab, the country's two largest communities. [More>>Jerusalem Post]
1.28.05 Excited over Iraqi election
Mohammed writes in a blog Jan. 28 "Go Iraq...go!
"We're standing before a historic moment and I won't be exaggerating if I said that it's an important moment for the whole world; we're standing before a crossroads and everyone should watch and learn from the rebirth of Iraq.
"Regardless of the winners in these elections, those who opposed the elections and resisted the change will have to deal with the new reality.
"In 48 hours from now, the dying dictatorships and their filthy tools, the terrorists, will find themselves facing an elected legitimate government in Iraq.
"The tyrants' nightmare is becoming reality, now they will have to deal with the scariest word in their dictionaries; THE PEOPLE'S CHOICE.
"The terrorists have challenged the bravery of the Iraqi people but they messed with the wrong people. The people have accepted the challenge; democracy and elections are not a luxury for Iraqis, it's an issue of life or death. And the terror brutal campaign has only made the people more determined to go on with the change.
"The results of some recent polls that have shown how determined Iraqis are to hold the elections might have surprised you, but they weren't a surprise for us; we're not the kind of people that kneel to terror and the sights of blood and beheadings.
"Saddam had tried all tools of oppression, killing and torture he could find against our people (including WMD's) but he failed to make the people believe in his hateful regime. And that's why the people abandoned him and, now he and his regime are just a bad old tale from the past.
"On Sunday, the sun will rise on the land of Mesopotamia. I can't wait, the dream is becoming true and I will stand in front of the box to put my heart in it." [iraqthemodel; see Kurdo's World for images before the election.
BAGHDAD (Reuters) Jan. 28 Insurgents bent on wrecking Sunday's election in Iraq killed 10 Iraqis and five U.S. troops on Friday but the government said it had caught three al Qaeda lieutenants and insisted guerrillas were on the defensive. The government imposed extraordinary security restrictions to try to safeguard the polls. Land borders were closed and travel between provinces was banned. An extended curfew was imposed in most cities from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.
LONDON (IranMania) Jan. 28 - Iran and Afghanistan signed three cooperation documents, emphasizing the need to further develop and expand the two Islamic countries` bilateral ties. The cooperation documents were signed by the two countries` concerned ministers in the presence of Iran`s President Mohammad Khatami and Afghanistan`s President Hamid Karzai, IRNA reported. The cooperation documents signed on Wednesday include providing electricity for Afghan cities, opening of ogharoun-Herat Road, and constructing more border police stations. [More>>iranmania.com]
Jan. 28 Following a sweeping victory by Hamas in the Gaza municipal elections, a senior figure in the organization said Friday this victory demonstrates Hamas' success as a political, rather than a strictly militant entity.
Jan. 29 The United States on Thursday lobbied UN Security Council members on a new court for perpetrators of atrocities in Sudan's Darfur region, in an effort to sidestep the International Criminal Court (ICC). The move came as envoys from the U.S. House of Representatives, returning from a trip to Darfur and Chad, called for greater pressure to be exerted on Khartoum in the form of sanctions.
Jan. 28 Yoel Marcus offers an uplifting perspective on Mahmoud Abbas' positive, immediate effort to bring peace between Palestine and Israel. He offers an interesting comparison of Abbas to Egypt's Sadat:
1.27.05 SBC in talks to buy AT&T sources
WASHINGTON (Reuters) Jan. 27 SBC Communications Inc., the No. 2 US telecommunications company, is in talks to acquire AT&T Corp. for more than $15 billion to bolster its business with large corporations, sources familiar with the talks said on Thursday. Such a deal would likely spell the end for AT&T, the once-ubiquitous "Ma Bell" whose history dates back 120 years to the invention of the telephone. With AT&T retreating from its consumer business, SBC is interested in AT&T's corporate clients and international telephone and data networks, the sources said. [More>>reuters.com]
1.07.05 Sinclair Broadcasting to sue webloggers
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