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1.01.05 TSUNAMI HELP & RESOURCES
1.31.05 - 2.03.05 TSUNAMI NEWS
2.03.05 Nine tsunami survivors found on India's Andamans archipelago
COLOMBO, Feb. 03 The Sri Lankan government yesterday announced that 995 children lost both parents in last year's tsunami. It is seeking public assistance to track down any other orphans. Commissioner of Probation and Child Care Sarath Abeygunawardena told reporters yesterday that an initial survey found 995 children who lost both parents and another 3,409 who lost one parent in the disaster. [More>>colombopage.com]
COLOMBO, Feb. 03 The United Nations has announced that former US President Bill Clinton's role as its special envoy for tsunami relief will not include the peace processes of Indonesia or Sri Lanka. UN spokesperson Fred Eckhard on Tuesday said, "The United Nations wanted to capitalize on the openings that it has afforded both Indonesia and Sri Lanka to make political advances with the rebel movements in those two countries."However, correcting that statement, the UN spokesperson yesterday said,"Clinton's mandate will not include the peace processes in those countries." [More>>colombopage.com]
Sri Lanka will need approximately $1.5 billion to effectively implement a recovery and reconstruction strategy according to a preliminary damage and needs assessment released yesterday by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and the World Bank. The assessment, prepared in close cooperation with the Government of Sri Lanka, sets out clear guiding principles for the reconstruction strategy, with an emphasis on the inclusion of affected communities in the planning and process of rebuilding.
BANDA ACEH, Aceh (DPA), Feb. 3 A fresh aftershock rattled tsunami-ravaged province of Aceh before mid-day Thursday as relief workers said they had already buried more than 111,000 victims from the Dec. 26 disaster. An official at Banda Aceh's meteorology and geophysics office said the new trembler, measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale, jolted Aceh at about 11:52 a.m. (0452 GMT). The official, who identified himself as Syahnan, said the latest quake was centered in the Indian Ocean, about 202 kilometers northwest of Banda Aceh, the devastated capital of Aceh. There were no immediate reports of damage. [More>>the jakartapost.com]
BANDA ACEH, Aceh (AFP), Feb. 3 The US navy aircraft carrier at the center of American military aid efforts in Indonesia's tsunami-hit Aceh is ending its mission and will leave within 48 hours, U.S. officials said on Thursday. The USS Abraham Lincoln, whose helicopters were the first to reach many desperate survivors, would be leaving Indonesian waters either on Friday or Saturday, said Tim Gerhardson, a representative with the US embassy in Jakarta. [More>>thejakartapost.com]
JAKARTA (AP) Feb. 01 The United Nations said on Tuesday it is developing an interim early warning system for tsunami in the Indian Ocean that could go into operation almost immediately until a full-fledged network is put in place. The details of the system proposed by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and its Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission were worked out last week at a regional meeting in Phuket, Thailand, a UN statement said. Under the interim system, the Japanese Meteorological Agency and the IOC Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii would provide national authorities in the Indian Ocean region within formation and warnings. [More>>thejakartapost.com]
NEW DELHI, Feb. 01 Two strong earthquakes within a span of nine hours since late Monday night jolted Andaman and Nicobar Islands, where the December 26 tsunami waves had caused widespread devastation. The first quake measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale was recorded at 2200 IST on Monday, while the second quake of 5.3 intensity shook the region at 0638 IST on Tuesday, the Met office said. Both were epicentred off the east coast of Car Nicobar Island. It was not immediately known whether any fresh damage had been caused by the quakes. [More>>hindustantimes.com]
UNITED NATIONS (AP) Feb. 1 Secretary-General Kofi Annan has selected former President Clinton to be the UN point man for tsunami reconstruction and ensure that the world doesn't forget the immense needs of the countries devastated by the Dec. 26 disaster, a U.N. diplomat said Tuesday. UN spokesman Fred Eckhard refused to confirm the appointment, but said his office would release a statement later Tuesday. Clinton's office had no immediate comment. Annan wants to appoint a special envoy not only to focus on the cleanup and reconstruction but to try to make progress on resolving conflicts with rebels in the two worst-hit countries - Indonesia and Sri Lanka, Eckhard said. [More>>Associated Press]
JAKARTA, Feb. 01 Indonesia's health ministry said on Tuesday the number of people dead and missing after December's earthquake and tsunami had risen to 236,012. [jang.com.pk]
BANDA ACEH, Aceh (AFP) Feb. 01 Indonesia needs more medical supplies from international donors rather than foreign doctors as sickness remains a concern five weeks after the tsunami struck, a senior aid official said on Monday. Gunawan, the deputy director of the Indonesian Red Crescent said the number of foreign medical staff now in the country were becoming "counter-productive". "We're going to need more medical assistance, but more in terms of the medical equipment as well as supplies because the types of diseases that we are facing at the moment are getting more (to be) common illnesses rather than those specifically related to the tsunami," he told reporters. [More>>thejakartapost.com]
JAKARTA (AFP), Feb. 01 The number of people presumed dead in last month's Asian tsunamis rose to more than 286,000 Monday, with Indonesian authorities announcing a further increase in the number of dead and missing. Indonesia was hardest-hit by the Dec. 26 quake and tsunamis, with a total 232,945 people listed as dead or missing, the Ministry of Health said on Monday.
1.31.05 - 2.03.05 OTHER NEWS
BRUSSELS (Reuters) Feb. 3 Suicide bombing should be considered a crime against humanity, European Justice and Security Commissioner Franco Frattini said on Thursday...That could give the families of victims of suicide attacks the possibility of taking legal action against political or religious leaders who blessed or incited such bombings...[More>>haaretzdaily.com]
WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 Roy Eccleston reports a view from abroad on the President's State of the Union address: George W. Bush has laid out plans to spread freedom in the Middle East, saying a Palestinian state was "within reach," vowing to stand by Iranians demanding liberty and calling on repressive allies Saudi Arabia and Egypt to embrace democracy. In the first State of the Union address of his second term, the President declared the US was entering a "new phase" in Iraq as his troops handed security to local forces.
Referring to his boyhood in Nevada Senator Reid spoke about the American dream, stating that it is something every American child knows but other children have yet to see. He commented on the National Debt, saying that it needed to be brought under control, being $4 trillion dollars and noted that the President's plan for changing Social Security would add another $2 trillion to the $4 trillion debt. When I heard this I sent an e-mail to my California senator, Senator Feinstein, asking her to inform Mr. Reid and others in Congress of his gross mistake. The actual National Debt is $8.2 trillion or more, as can be seen from the National Debt Charts in our CONCERNS section. It is no wonder that George W. Bush has the Democratic Party in so much confusion, with so many Congress persons who have no idea how much money the American Government owes to the world and how much of their budget allocations each year are committed to service the US National Debt (which is in 2004 $321 billion, interest - See Office of Management and Budget data below). I explained to Senator Feinstein that such an error is embarrassing and would be remembered as such by historians.
Feb. 3 China says Iran's nuclear issue should be solved within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Feb. 03 US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan will testify before the House of Representatives Budget Committee on March 2, a committee spokesman said today. The committee would ask him about the budget and the economic outlook, the spokesman said. [theaustralian.news.com.au]
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) Feb. 3 Insurgents killed 12 Iraqi army recruits and critically wounded two others in an ambush on their bus southwest of the northern city of Kirkuk, an Iraqi army spokesman said. The insurgents stopped the bus, made the recruits disembark and then shot them one by one Wednesday in the village of Zab, said Maj. Gen. Anwar Mohammed Amin. Amin said that most of the recruits were under 25 and that they were unarmed and headed for home. Zab is about 45 miles (70 kilometers) southwest of Kirkuk.
BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) Feb. 3 NATO confirmed Thursday that it had invited Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko to attend an alliance summit in Brussels this month. Officials said Yushchenko will be the only non-NATO leader asked to the Feb. 22 summit, where US President George W. Bush's will meet alliance leaders for the first time in his second term. [More>>thestar.com.my]
Feb. 3 Although the world press is reporting that Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania and his friend were found dead in the friend's apartment, from gas poisoning, kommersant.com reports that the deaths may not have been from gas. [Story>>kommersant.com]
Feb. 3 "I am using email after three days, currently under cover in Nepal. As all the telephone lines, Internet and other communication facilities have been cut off, we are experiencing the Stone Age in the 21st century.
PETALING JAYA, Malaysia, Feb. 3 A 1,000-year-old lost city, possibly older than Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Borobudur in Indonesia, is believed to have been located in the dense jungles of Johor. The discovery of what is thought to be the site of Kota Gelanggi or Perbendaharaan Permata (Treasury of Jewels) by an independent Malaysian researcher has prompted museum officials to plan an expedition to confirm the finding. If indeed the site is that of the lost city , it is set to transform the historical landscape of the region, said Raimy Che-Ross, who spent 12 years researching Malay manuscripts all over the world and conducting aerial searches of the area before locating the site. [More>>thestar.com.my] It was an old Malay manuscript once owned by Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore, in a London library that led Raimy Che-Ross to the existence of the lost city in Johor. [More>>thestar.com.my]
TOKYO, Feb. 3 The Fisheries Agency will begin DNA checks to trace the origin of imported tuna to crack down on illegal imports by suppliers that falsify fishing data, according to agency officials. The DNA checks, along with other measures, are intended to stem tuna fishing in restricted areas and false reports that catches were hauled in elsewhere. The agency has started collecting DNA samples of tuna from various parts of the world, including the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic oceans, and will use the data for the DNA method it developed to verify the origin of fish off loaded at ports in Japan.
Feb. 01 US troops in Iraq shot dead four inmates during a prison riot on Monday, the military said. Six prisoners were wounded in the violence, which affected hundreds of detainees at Camp Bucca in southern Iraq on the day after Iraqis voted in their first free election in decades. There were no serious injuries among the Americans during 45 minutes of rioting, Lieutenant Colonel Barry Johnson told Reuters. Troops shot the four dead with rifles after failing to quell the riot with plastic pellets fired from shotguns. [More>>chinadaily.com.cn; see also:
2.01.05 Iraq group says holds US soldier web
DUBAI (Reuters) Feb. 1 A little-known Iraqi insurgent group said on Tuesday it was holding a U.S. soldier and threatened to kill him within 72 hours if Iraqi prisoners were not released, according to an Internet statement. "Our mujahideen ... have managed to capture the American soldier John Adam after killing a number of his colleagues," said the Mujahideen Squadrons in the undated statement. It carried a picture appearing to show a U.S. soldier sitting in front of a black banner with a rifle pointed at his head. The authenticity of the claim, which did not say where the man was seized, could not be verified. [More>>reuters.com]
Feb. 1 Turkey criticized the United States for failing to halt Kurdish efforts to dominate the city of Kirkuk in northern Iraq, and warned it could take action if attempts to take control plunges the city into ethnic turmoil. "Some people are looking the other way while mass migration (of Kurds to Kirkuk) takes place," the Wall Street Journal quoted Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyep Erdogan as saying in an interview given on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos.
BAGHDAD (Reuters) Feb. 1 Tens of thousands of Iraqis, notably in restive Sunni Arab areas, may have been denied their right to vote on Sunday because of insufficient ballots and polling centers, officials said. Iraq began compiling election results from around the country on Tuesday after a barrage of election day attacks by Sunni militants failed to deter millions from voting. But officials said many Iraqis arrived late to find ballot sheets had run out, possibly skewing results for the already disgruntled minority.
Feb. 01 KATHMANDU (PTI) Feb. 1 Nepal plunged into a political crisis today after King Gyanendra sacked the eight month-old Sher Bahadur Deuba government, assumed all executive powers for the next three years and declared a state of emergency in the country battling Maoist insurgency. Armored vehicles with mounted machine guns patrolled the capital amidst reports that several politicans have been put under house arrest. All telephone lines, including mobile phone services, have been disconnected soon after the royal announcement. [More>>Press Trust of India; see also chinadailycom.cn and bbc.co.uk]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) Feb. 01 Under pressure from lawmakers for better treatment for US forces serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon plans to increase survivor benefits for families of service members killed in war, a Pentagon official said on Monday. The proposed increase would effectively double to $500,000 the amount that survivors receive in government payments and life insurance benefits, The Washington Post reported. Defense officials will ask that the higher payments be retroactive to October 2001, when the war in Afghanistan started. About 1,500 U.S. forces have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. [More>>reuters.com]
Feb. 1 European oil companies, left out in the cold by Libya's handout of oil-exploration permits mainly to U.S. firms at the weekend, said they hoped this would change this year. "It was a bad start," one European oil executive said after Tripoli allocated 11 of 15 exploration licenses, the first granted to foreigners for 40 years, to U.S. companies. Indian, Canadian, Algerian, Indonesian and Australian companies took the others - despite a recent trail of European leaders to the North African country, including France's President Jacques Chirac and the British and Italian prime ministers Tony Blair and Silvio Berlusconi.
Feb. 1 Israel's attorney-general has ordered the government to rescind a decision to enforce a decades-old law under which large tracts of Palestinian land in Arab East Jerusalem could be confiscated, officials said. The government invoked the 1950 Absentee Property Law last July and word leaked out this month, alarming Palestinians who feared an attempt to usurp their claims to East Jerusalem, which they want as the capital of a future state. Israeli media said the move had angered the US administration, which regarded it as an obstacle to new peace prospects raised by the election of moderate Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas on 9 January to replace Yasir Arafat. [More>>Al-Jezeera]
2.01.05 Breakthrough could kill pacemakers
Feb. 02 Pacemakers could soon become a thing of the past, after an Australian researcher found he could manipulate scarred heart tissue into working again by injecting genetic material into damaged cells.
Feb. 01 Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan says the US opposition to the European Union's lifting the arms embargo on China is irrational. Kong Quan says the arms embargo is political discrimination against China and blocks the development of the Sino-EU relationship. He says he hopes the US won't interfere in the issue.
BEIJING (Xinhuanet) Feb. 1 Chinese Defense Ministry and its US counterpart rounded off their first special policy dialogue here Tuesday with both voicing their satisfactions, a sign of warming ties between two militaries of the two countries. US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will likely visit China at an "appropriate" time this year, a senior Chinese military official said yesterday.
NEW DELHI (India News) Feb. 1 India will strive to forge a mechanism of consultation and cooperation with China in their joint quest for energy security, Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar said Tuesday. "We are working toward an Asian energy commitment on the lines of the European alliance on coal and steel," he said in a teleconference from Houston in the US, where he has gone for promotion of 20 exploration blocks being offered by India in the fifth round of the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP). The minister is planning a visit to China later this year at an invitation extended by Zhang Xiaoqiang, vice chairman of China's National Development and Reform Commission, last month. [More>>newkerala.com; see also Indo-Asian News Service]
2.01.05 Law barring junk e-mail allows a flood instead
Feb. 1 A year after a sweeping federal antispam law went into effect, there is more junk e-mail on the Internet than ever, and Levon Gillespie, according to Microsoft, is one reason. Lawyers for the company seemed well on the way to shutting down Mr. Gillespie last September after he agreed to meet them at a Starbucks in Los Angeles near the University of Southern California. There they served him a court summons and a lawsuit accusing him, his Web site and 50 unnamed customers of violating state and federal law - including the year-old federal Can Spam Act by flooding Microsoft's internal and customer e-mail networks with illegal spam, among other charges...Since the Can Spam Act went into effect in January 2004, unsolicited junk e-mail on the Internet has come to total perhaps 80 percent or more of all e-mail sent, according to most measures. That is up from 50 percent to 60 percent of all e-mail before the law went into effect. [More>>nytimes.com]
Jan. 31 Kurds and Turkmen flocked to polling stations in Mosul, the country╝s third largest city but the majority Arabs stayed away. Mosul is the capital of Nineveh Province which includes several towns and villages inhabited mainly by Kurds, Christians and Turkmen. The province╝s population is estimated at about three million people, with approximately two million living in Mosul. Kurds are concentrated on the eastern flank of the Tigris River and queues formed at the polling stations in their districts early morning Sunday. But only a trickle of voters headed to the polls in the western flank of the river mainly inhabited by Arabs. [More>>azzaman.com]
Mohammed writes in "Iraq the Model blog" his reflection of what happened yesterday (we quote in part):
Jan. 31 Three US marines were killed in combat south of Baghdad, the US military said in a statement on Monday. "Three US marines were killed in action and two others wounded on 31 January while conducting security and stability operations in northern Babil Province," the statement said. The latest deaths marked the first fatalities reported by the US military since polls closed in Iraq's elections on Sunday. The deaths raised the overall toll for US soldiers killed in Iraq to 1435 since the US-led invasion of March 2003, according to Pentagon figures. [More>>Al-Jezeera]
Jan. 31 Russia has pledged its support for the Palestinian leadership under Mahmud Abbas amid growing signs of movement in the long-dormant Middle East peace process. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday that Moscow would actively support the Palestinian president and develop Russian-Palestinian relations. Abbas said the Palestinians had "high hopes" of diplomatic support from Moscow as efforts to restart top-level peace negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis continue. [More>>Al-Jezeera]
Jan. 31 Ayad Allawi, Iraq's interim prime minister, today urged unity after Iraqis cast ballots in the nation's first multiparty elections in half a century. In making his first remarks since the polls closed Sunday, Allawi encouraged Iraqis to shed their differences, whether political, ethnic or religious, and rally for peace. "We are entering a new era of our history and all Iraqis whether they voted or not should stand side by side to build their future," he said.
1.31.05 SBC closes deal with AT&T
Jan. 31 SBC Communications concluded a $16 billion deal this morning for its former parent, AT&T, that would lead to the virtual disappearance of one of America's best known corporate icons and set off what promises to be a new round of competition between the Baby Bells. In buying AT&T, its national network and three million corporate customers, SBC can aggressively expand into the turf of its regional Bell siblings, who themselves are grappling for ways to move beyond their borders.
1.31.05 Tough visa rules hurting US: Bill Gates
New Delhi, Jan. 31 According to a Financial Times report, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates says tough US visa regime has caused a decline in foreign computer science students and it is threatening to undermine America's position in the global software industry. The Microsoft Chairman was speaking at World Economic Forum in Davos.
1.31.05 Fourteen Maoists killed by security forces in Nepal
KATHMANDU (PTI) Jan. 31 At least 14 Maoists were killed in a massive operation launched by a joint team of security forces in the rebel shelters of Nepal's Dhanusha district, an official report today said. A self-styled section commander and a company commander of the CPN (Maoist) were among those killed in the gunbattle yesterday which also left a security personnel dead, state-run Nepal Television reported. Security forces have recovered 14 bodies of the Maoists from Chispani area in Churedanda of Dhanusha district. [More>>Press Trust of India]
1.31.05 World tourism records best performance in 2004: WTO
PHUKET, Thailand (Xinhuanet) , Jan. 31 The world tourism industry reached an all-time record of 760 million international tourist arrivals in 2004. The figure represented an increase of 10 percent in comparison with the previous year, the best results in two decades, according to a report of World Tourism Barometer released at a WTO's task force meeting here Monday. A comparable percentage having been recorded was in 1984 when international tourism just recovered from the weak economy caused by the second oil crisis. Asia and the Pacific spearheaded the climb, contributing 34 million new international arrivals, or almost half of the total. Europe came second with an increase of 16 million arrivals. The remaining gains were divided among the United States, the Middle East and Africa. [More>>xinhuanet.com]
NEW DELHI (India News) Jan. 31 External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh Monday renewed his suggestion for "trilateral economic cooperation" between India, Russia and China, saying the industry could give a direction to the concept. "The time has come to consider economic cooperation at a trilateral level, instead of the traditional bilateral level between these countries," he said, inaugurating a seminar here.
MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) Jan. 31 - South Korea is willing to contribute, financially and otherwise, to an oil pipeline project in eastern Siberia, in Russia. Speaking at a Russo-Korean economic forum currently underway in Moscow, a senior official at the Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC) said South Korea's participation in the construction of the Taishet-Nakhodka pipeline would help the country ensure its oil security by increasing imports of Russian crude... The Taishet-Nakhodka pipeline's annual capacity is projected at 80 million tons. The construction costs are estimated within a range of $11 to $14.5 billion. [More>>rian.ru]
1.31.05 Hillary Clinton collapses during appearance in Buffalo
BUFFALO (AP) Jan. 31 Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton collapsed Monday during a speech on Social Security, the result of a 24-hour flu bug, an aide told The Associated Press. An aide to Hillary Clinton says the senator is expected to continue with her schedule after collapsing during a speech in Buffalo...Clinton, 57, walked out of the private club where she was to speak under her own power, smiling, the club's general manager said. [More>>usatoday.com via topix.net]
Jan. 31 All members of Ethiopia's Falashmura community who are entitled to immigrate to Israel will be brought to Israel by the end of 2007, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided Monday. The decision was made during a special meeting attended by Interior Minister Ophir Pines-Paz, Immigrant Absorption Minister Tzipi Livni and Jewish Agency Chairman Sallai Meridor. It was also decided that the responsibility for the transit camps in Ethiopia, where some 15,000 people are waiting to immigrate to Israel, will be handed over to the Jewish Agency within several weeks. [More>>haaretzdaily.com]
1.07.05 Sinclair Broadcasting to sue webloggers
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