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2.10.05 North Korea: we have nukes
Feb. 11 NORTH Korea has for the first time unambiguously declared that it has nuclear weapons, and says it has quit international talks aimed at resolving the nuclear stand-off. The announcement late yesterday sent shockwaves through neighbouring capitals, where governments have been trying to coax one of the world's most isolated and unpredictable regimes back to the negotiating table.
2.10.05 Task of collecting Indonesia's tsunami dead will take six months: Red Cross
BANDA ACEH, Aceh (AFP), Feb. 11 Teams collecting corpses in the Indonesian province of Aceh have estimated it will take at least another six months to find all the tsunami victims, the Red Cross said on Thursday. Volunteers have been pulling scores of bodies from the rubble daily since the Dec. 26 disaster, a grim task complicated by rapid decomposition in tropical temperatures.
2.10.05 British navy releases first images of Indian Ocean earthquake seabed
LONDON (AFP), Feb. 10 A British Navy survey ship on Wednesday released the first images of the seabed at the epicenter of last year's killer earthquake and tsunami that reveal the massive canyons and ridges left by the collision of two of the earth's plates. The Royal Navy's HMS Scott has been taking underwater sonar readings off the Indonesian island of Sumatra to try to find out how the Dec. 26 earthquake unfolded and then produced the giant waves that have killed nearly 300,000 people in 11 countries. The ship's officers presented the readings in the form of colored digital mapping at the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office in Taunton, Somerset, southwest England, indicating a large landslide some 100 metres high (328 feet) by two kilometers (1.2 miles) in length. [More>>thejakartapost.com]
2.10.05 NATO agrees to expand Afghan mission
NICE, France (AP) - NATO defense ministers agreed Thursday on a major expansion of the alliance's peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan and will send troops into the western sector of the country, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said. Agreement came after Italy, Spain and Lithuania ended months of delay by committing to send hundreds of troops to support U.S. forces under NATO command in the city of Herat and three other western Afghan cities...NATO military planners have struggled for months to find European nations willing to commit the troops needed to expand the 8,200-strong International Security Assistance Force into western Afghanistan. [More>>thestar.com.my]
2.10.05 India, China move to end oil rivalry
NEW DELHI, Feb. 11 In what could be the high point of the Mani Shankar Aiyar-initiated oil diplomacy, China's external oil arm, the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), and ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) are likely to bid jointly for oil and gas assets across the globe instead of battling against one another. The idea was first mooted by the deputy chairman of the Chinese National Reconstruction and Development Council (the equivalent of India's Planning Commission) during the recent Asian oil ministers conclave in the Capital. [More>>hindustantimes.com]
2.10.05 China, India move closer in trade
HONG KONG, Feb. 11 China has edged past the United Arab Emirates to become India's second-largest trading partner. Bilateral trade has set a record, touching US$13.6 billion in 2004, up by 79% over the total trade volume of 2003. India enjoyed a comfortable trade surplus of $1.75 billion, according to Chinese customs statistics. If growth remains at current levels, India-China trade could cross $17 billion by end of 2004-05. In contrast, India's trade with the United States - its largest trading partner - has grown by just over 23% in April-August 2004. The total figure achieved during 2004 was $3.6 billion more than expected at the beginning of the year, indicating the huge trade potential between the two fastest-growing economies. [More>>atimes.com]
2.10.05 Foreign Ministry of Kazakhstan denies bin Ladens own land for terrorist use
Feb. 11 On February 9, the Foreign Ministry of Kazakhstan released an official statement on interview of director of regional anti-terrorist center of Shanghai Cooperation Organization that was recently published in the Russian "Independent Newspaper." Vyacheslav Kasymov, director of the center said in particular that "there are territories in our country that were bought by the firms, belonging to bin Ladens." He also added that Kazakhstan didn't adopt the law on preventing of terrorism financing. The Kazakhstani Ministry of Foreign Affairs denies this and says that the country has necessary lawful basis.
2.10.05 Iraqi Army rids Baghdad hotspot of Americans
BAGHDAD (AFP), Feb. 10 Iraqi Army Major Hadi has found the best way of ridding his country of foreign forces: going out on a joint U.S.-Iraqi patrol in Baghdad's notorious Haifa Street district. "God willing, my work will hasten the American's departure," said Hadi, a veteran of the 1991 Gulf War and 2003 U.S.-led invasion of his motherland, and today running a company of the Iraqi Army's 303 Battalion. "I'd like to see them leave now," Hadi said.
2.10.05 Abbas fires three top security commanders
Feb. 10 Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas fired three of his senior security commanders Thursday, after militants launched a massive shelling attack on Israeli targets around the Strip and dozens of armed Palestinians raided the main PA jail in Gaza and killed three prisoners. "These are very dangerous developments, and they violate the legitimacy of the Palestinian Authority," Palestinian cabinet secretary Hassan Abu Libdeh said. "No one can continue with these violations." [More>>haaretzdaily.com]
2.10.05 Khatami warns US of 'burning hell'
LONDON, Feb. 10 (IranMania) Iranian President Mohammad Khatami warned Thursday that any invader would be met by a "burning hell" as tens of thousands of people braved blizzards to join rallies for the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution. "All the people of Iran are united against any attack and any threats," Khatami told a rally in the snow-bound capital. "Any invader will find Iran to be a burning hell for them."
2.10.05 Iraqi police suffer sustained attacks
Feb. 10 At least 10 Iraqi policemen have been killed and up to 65 more wounded in fierce battles with anti-US fighters south of Baghdad, police sources said. Intense and deadly skirmishes near the town of Salman Pak, about 65 km southeast of Baghdad, continued for several hours on Thursday. At one point, Salman Pak's main police station was taken over by fighters before the US military sent in helicopter gunships to attack the building. Police sources said at least 65 officers had been wounded. The fighting was so fierce that police reinforcements were unable to reach many of the wounded or recover the dead left lying in the road. [More>>Al-Jezeera]
2.10.05 Kuwait denies torture death claim
Feb. 10 A suspected Islamic militant leader who died in a Kuwaiti jail suffered heart failure and did not die under torture, the country's interior minister said. Sheikh Nawaf al-Sabah said there was no evidence of maltreatment and a forensic report would prove that Amer al-Enezi died from low blood pressure. Mr Enezi, who was 29, was reported dead on Wednesday, 10 days after his arrest. An Islamist MP who heads parliament's human rights panel has questioned Sheikh Nawaf about the death. [More>>bbc.co.uk]
2.10.05 US trade deficit exceeds a record $600 billion
WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 The American trade deficit broke the $600 billion barrier in 2004, soaring to a record of $617.7 billion, the Commerce Department reported today. The figure amounts to more than 5 percent of the American economy, a level some economists and lawmakers said was unsustainable. Domestic manufacturers, labor unions and Democrats decried the report, saying the trade deficit was responsible the erosion of the American manufacturing base and the concurrent loss of jobs.
2.08.05 Lawyers rush to freeze Arab bank assets
Feb. 9 The New York branch of the Amman-based Arab Bank was facing two lawsuits worth more than $875 million from the relatives of terror victims when the Central Bank of Jordan announced on Tuesday that it was going to gradually close it down.
2.08.05 Judge orders Islamic fund-raiser deported
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 8 A federal immigration judge on Tuesday ordered a former fund-raiser for a prominent Islamic charity to be deported, saying his activities posed a threat to national security. The judge found that the man, Abdel Jabber Hamdan, who has lived in Orange County for more than 20 years, knew or should have known that the money he raised for the Holy Land Foundation was being used to support terrorism. The government contends that the foundation has funneled more than $12 million to Hamas and other Palestinian organizations that the United States considers sponsors of terrorism. [More>>nytimes.com]
2.09.05 Update Toll in Asian tsunami disaster tops 295,000+
JAKARTA, Feb. 8 JAKARTA - The number of people believed killed in December's tsunami disaster topped 295,000, six weeks after the catastrophe, as Indonesia again increased its number of dead. Indonesia was hardest-hit by the December 26 quake and tsunamis, with a total of 242,347 people listed as dead or missing, the health ministry said in its latest figures. [More>>China Daily; in a Feb. 9 jang.com.pk report 640 more bodies were found in Aceh]
2.09.05 Bush cuts draw heat from GOP members
WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 As President Bush began promoting a 2006 budget plan that calls for reductions in an array of popular domestic programs, Republicans in Congress on Tuesday started searching for ways to achieve his overall deficit-reduction targets without slaying such political sacred cows as farm subsidies, Amtrak and aid to states.
2.09.05 Top terror leader dies of heart failure
KUWAIT, Feb. 9 The alleged ringleader of a terror group accused of attacking Americans and Kuwaiti security has died of heart failure while detained in prison, an interior ministry official said on Wednesday. Amer Khlaif al-Enezi died yesterday, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity. Al-Enezi was believed to be in his 30s. He was arrested January 31 in a police raid on a house in Mubarak al Kabir, south of Kuwait city. He was questioned by state security and then referred to the prosecution. The government has been locked in a battle against militant Muslims since last month. Al-Enezi and scores of other terror suspects were being questioned by the prosecution on accusations of plans to attack the country's state security as well as American civilians and members of the US military. [More>>expressindia.com; see also Al-Jezeera, "Kuwaiti detainee dies in custody." The suspected leader of an outlawed group in Kuwait has died while in police custody, according to news agencies in Kuwait. Amir Khilaif al-Inizi died of a heart attack at the military hospital late on Tuesday evening, according to Kuwaiti news agencies. He was aged 29. Al-Qabas news told Aljazeera.net that al-Inizi "had apparently complained of having problems breathing on Tuesday afternoon after which he was taken to the military hospital." Lieutenant-Colonel Adil al-Hashash, the head of public relations at the Interior Ministry, added that Amir died at a military hospital "due to a collapse in [his] blood circulation."...A Kuwaiti journalist speaking to Aljazeera.net said al-Inizi was arrested on 31 January and was suspected of being a ring leader of a group known as The Lions of the Island...
2.09.05 ETA car bomb near Madrid Art Fair injures 43
MADRID (Reuters) Feb. 9 A car bomb exploded near Madrid's main convention center on Wednesday, wounding 43 people, hours before Spanish and Mexican leaders were due there and after a warning from the Basque separatist group ETA. The worst blast in the Spanish capital since last year's March 11 al Qaeda train bombings came before King Juan Carlos and Mexican President Vicente Fox were to open the prestigious ARCO art fair at the complex on the outskirts of the city. Forty-three people were hurt, none seriously, including 24 taken to hospital, an emergencies official said. Six police officers were among those injured. The explosion, which coincided with a major police crackdown on ETA, seemed to erase any hope the group might declare a truce before Basque regional elections in April. [More>>reuters.com]
2.09.05 Gunmen kill Iraqi journalist
BAGHDAD (Reuters) FEb. 9 Gunmen killed an Iraqi journalist working for a U.S.-funded television network in Basra and assassinated a senior government official in Baghdad on Wednesday in the latest attacks following the Jan. 30 election. Police in Basra, 550 km (340 miles) southeast of Baghdad, said Alhurra correspondent Abdul-Hussein Khazal had been shot dead at his home in the mainly Shi'ite city. Alhurra is a Virginia-based satellite news network set up with U.S. funding to compete with Arabic channels like Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya. Alhurra said one of Khazal's sons had also been killed. He was three years old. [More>>reuters.com; see also Al-Jezeera, " Iraqi official assassinated in Baghdad," and Al-Jezeera,"Iraqi official seized, journalist killed."
2.09.05 Russian icebreaker helsp US McMurdo Polar Station
MOSCOW, Feb. 9 (RIA Novosti) Russia's iceboat the Krasin has completed the last stage of the operation to help the American Polar station McMurdo. The Krasin has piloted back the American Tern container-carrier from the berth to clear water in the Ross Sea, says the communique of the Far Eastern Marine Shipping Company, which has come to hand at RIA Novosti on Wednesday. It was uphill pilotage because the weather got seriously worse near the station biting cold and bitter wind, the iceboat's captain Victor Kovalchuk said. "It was hard work for the icebreaker," the press release cites him as saying.
2.09.05 17 killed in Russian mine blast
MOSCOW, Feb. 9 At least 17 people were killed Wednesday in a coal mine blast in Russia, reports Xinhua. "Rescuers have found another seven bodies over the past hour and another nine people are still missing and believed to be trapped in the mine," the Interfax news agency quoted an Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman as saying. Earlier reports said a blast at the Yesaulskaya mine in the Kemerovo region of Siberia occurred at 8 a.m. local time (10.30 a.m. IST) Wednesday. Leaking methane is believed to have caused the blast.
2.09.05 Japan's action on island lighthouse illegal'
Feb. 9 Japan said it had placed under "state control" a lighthouse built by nationalists on a disputed island in the East China Sea despite claims by China. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kong Quan said in Beijing Wednesday that Diaoyu Islands and neighboring islands have been China's territories since ancient time, and any unilateral action is "illegal and invalid".
2.09.05 South Korean province protests Shimane's TV ads about Takeshima
MATSUE, Japan Feb. 9 The South Korean province of North Kyongsang has filed a protest with Japan's Shimane prefectural government over its television advertisement about an island in the Sea of Japan which is claimed both by Japan and South Korea, prefectural government officials said Wednesday. "We are concerned about the advertisement," the province, which has a friendship arrangement with the prefecture, said in a protest letter, according to the officials. [Kyodo News via japantoday.com]
2.08.05 EU joins forces to fight spam the majority originates from the US
Feb. 7 The EU has called for closer coordination among all member governments to find and prosecute those illegally spreading unsolicited bulk commercial email the majority of which originate from the US. Viviane Reding, the EU commissioner in charge of new media and information society, also announced that "anti-spam enforcement authorities" in 13 EU countries had agreed to cooperate in investigating complaints against spammers. [More>>Al-Jezeera]
2.08.05 Ex-residents want Russian-held isles back
Feb. 8 Japanese who used to live on the islands of Shikotan, Kunashiri and Etorofu and the Habomai islets will only accept the total return of the territories from Russia, not just two of the islands as Moscow is proposing, according to Toshio Koizumi, chairman of a group of former islanders. "Our principle to collectively seek the return of the four islands that originally belonged to Japan is unshakable," Koizumi said in an interview. "Any proposal other than a return of all four islands cannot be accepted." [More>>japantimes.co.jp]
2.07.05 Saudi women spectators in male-only landmark vote
RIYADH, Feb. 7 Saudi women will be left in the spectators' gallery on Thursday when their husbands, brothers and fathers head to polling centres to cast their vote in the first round of landmark municipal elections. Posters of aspiring male candidates for Riyadh¹s municipal council have sprouted in the streets of the capital, accompanied by invitations for men to visit their campaigning centres. "I cannot help but feel wronged for not participating," a Saudi woman told AFP, describing her feeling when she passes billboards promoting candidates. The elections to choose half the members of 178 local councils across the conservative Muslim kingdom will take place in three phases, kicking off in Riyadh and its surrounding area on Thursday. [More>>expressindia.com]
2.04.05 Japan's 1st case of human mad cow disease confirmed
TOKYO, Feb. 4 The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said Friday it has confirmed Japan's first case of the human variant of mad cow disease in a Japanese man who died in December. The ministry suspects the patient in his 50s was infected with the variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease in Britain where he had stayed for about a month around 1989 while the country was in the midst of an outbreak of mad cow disease.
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