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02.23.05 Iran, China to be connected by railroad
TEHRAN, Feb. 23 (MNA) Chinese officials have proposed setting up of a consortium comprising of Iran, Afghanistan and China to study how to connect Sarakhs railroad to Chinese territory via Afghanistan in the future, said an official yesterday. Iran has expanded its railroad network in the recent years and tried to play a medium role in the region linking the Central Asian, Middle Eastern, and European Countries to one another. [More>>mehrnews.ir]
02.22.05 Pakistani army ordered to fire at 'intruding' US troops
ISLAMABAD (Indo-Asian News Service) Feb. 22 In what is seen as the first signal of Pakistan's assertion against US policies in its area, Islamabad has ordered the army to shoot at US troops if they intrude into the country from Afghanistan without authorization "Pakistan has issued new rules of engagement permitting its army to fire at US forces that cross the border from Afghanistan without coordinating first," the Daily Times newspaper said Tuesday in a report from Washington.
02.22.05 US aims to destablize West Asia: Iran Foreign Minister
NEW DELHI (India News) Feb. 22 Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi, who is on a visit to India, today said that the US wanted to destabilize West Asia with its unilateralism He warned against the use of American force in West Asia.
02.22.05 US plans to sell Patriot to India worry Pakistan
ISLAMABAD (Press Trust of India) Feb. 22 Pakistan may take up with the US the issue of sale of patriot missile defence systems to India, media reports said on Tuesday. Pakistan is expected to take up with the US administration the "proposed sale" of patriot missile defence system, daily Dawn quoting Pakistani defence officials said in a report from Washington.
02.22.05 Russians neither like USA nor hate it
MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) Feb. 22 The US-Russia relations have not changed much recently, think Russians. The result was given to RIA Novosti by the National Public Opinion Research Center VTsIOM on the eve of the Russia-US summit meeting in Bratislava. A relative majority of the polled assess bilateral relations as "normal and calm" (36% and 38% in 2001 and 2005, respectively). The number of those who think the relations are "cool" or "strained" has dropped from 43% in 2001 to 30% in 2005. In other words, the assessments are far from either hatred or love of America. In general, 59% assess bilateral relations positively and 34%, negatively. [More>>rian.ru]
02.22.05 Hundreds killed in Iranian quake
Feb. 22 A strong earthquake has hit dozens of villages in southern Iran, killing at least 500 people and hurting many more. The 6.4-magnitude quake struck just before 0600 (0230 GMT) and was centred near Zarand in Kerman province, 740km (460 miles) from the capital, Tehran. Some 30,000 people in about 40 villages spread over a wide, mountainous area have been affected. Casualties are expected to rise as rescue workers reach the province. Heavy rain is hampering rescue work. [More>bbc.co.uk; see also iranmania.com: According to the reports, 15 villages of the town of Ravar, located in the vicinity of Zarand, have been damaged by 25 to 45%. Two villages are said to have seen almost all of their buildings destroyed, Iranian television reports. The access road to one of the villages has been blocked by a landslide caused by the earthquake.
02.22.05 NATO leaders pledge to help Iraq
BRUSSELS (World News) Feb. 22 All 26 Nato member countries are now helping the Iraqi government, officials announced at a Brussels summit attended by US President George W. Bush. According to the BBC, French President Jacques Chirac - a staunch opponent of the US-led invasion of Iraq - said France would join the NATO mission to train Iraqi forces. "Europe and the United States are true partners," he told the summit, urging more dialogue. Bush said NATO was the "cornerstone" of the transatlantic relationship. [More>>newkerala.com]
02.22.05 Police want NIS 61 million to counter Temple Mount threats
JERUSALEM, Feb. 22 The police are demanding an additional NIS 61 million to counter increasingly grave threats of an attack on the Temple Mount. Speaking Tuesday at a Knesset Finance Committee meeting on police and Public Security Ministry budgets, Police Commissioner Moshe Karadi added that an additional 187 job slots will need to be created to contend with the alerts. Prisons Service Commissioner Yaakov Ganot revealed that he had been allocated NIS 19 million to prepare 900 prison slots ahead of the implementation of the disengagement plan. These prison places could be filled with Jewish protesters should they try to disrupt the disengagement. [More>>haaretzdaily.com]
02.22.05 Police want NIS 61 million to counter Temple Mount threats
BEIRUT, Feb. 22 At exactly 12.55pm a crowd of tens of thousands of people went completely silent, whereas a second before they were screaming out their hunger for "freedom, sovereignty and independence." Seven days after the assassination of former premier Rafik Hariri, tens of thousands of Lebanese carrying anti-Syrian banners swarmed the sea front area where Hariri was killed last Monday, roaring thundering chants of "Yalla, Syria out."
02.22.05 Philippines arrests bomb suspects
Feb. 22 Philippine security forces say they have arrested two men suspected of involvement in last week's Valentine's Day bombing in Manila. They said the men were suspected of being members of the Abu Sayyaf group, which said it carried out the Manila bombing and two other attacks in the south of the country on the same day, killing a total of 13 people and wounding more than 100. [More>>Al-Jazeera]
02.22.05 Aceh rebels say ready to abandon independence goal
HELSINKI (Reuters) Feb. 22 Aceh rebels are willing to drop their 30-year demand for independence in peace talks with Indonesia in Helsinki, a spokesman said on Tuesday. ³The conflict cannot be solved like that and we have to come to terms with that,² Free Aceh Movement (GAM) spokesman Bakhtiar Abdullah said when asked if the goal of full independence had been abandoned in the interest of achieving greater autonomy. ³That is the main thing on the table,² he told Reuters, referring to self government. ³Of course in the negotiations we go with the tangible things that are on the table.² [More>>khaleejtimes.com]
02.22.05 Kazakhstan looking for new routes for gas pipelines
Feb. 22 Kazakhstan is looking for new routes of gas transportation. China is considered to be the potential partner, said Vladimir Shkolnik, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources of RK at the governmental hour in the Parliament. It has not been ruled out that soon gas will be exported to China. While construction of the Atasu-Alashankou oil pipeline has yet to be completed, officials are already talking about a new project, Vladimir Shkolnik, minister of energy and mineral resources, said in Astana. Legislators are proposing to immediately supply gas to remote villages. Several years ago a gas pipeline was being constructed towards Northern Kazakhstan. We were able to work using the method of substitution, and it was possible to transport our Western gas to the North. However this work was halted without an explanation, said Mikhail Troshikhin, MP of RK. [More>>khabar.kz]
02.22.05 Dollar falls on reserve shift worries
NEW YORK (Reuters) Feb. 22 The dollar fell on Tuesday, as market worries that central banks were diversifying reserves out of U.S. assets pushed the currency below key technical support levels. The dollar seesawed in choppy trade, recovering some losses against the euro, after the Conference Board's consumer confidence index for February came in at 104.0, above economists' forecasts for a reading of 102.9. The consumer expectations component fell to 95.7..Midmorning in New York, the euro was trading around $1.3208 according to Reuters data, down from $1.3218 shortly before the consumer confidence report, but up about 1.1 percent from late on Monday in New York. South Korea's central bank said on Monday it planned to diversify its reserves, which are the world's fourth largest, into a greater variety of currencies. [More>>reuters.com]
02.22.05 Dubai-based gold exchange aims to rank among world's top five
Feb. 22 The Dubai Gold and Commodity Exchange (DGCX), a Dubai-India venture due to be operational later this year, could rank among the world's top exchanges within five years, an official said Monday. "Within three to five years, the DGCX can become among the first five exchanges in the world," Jignesh Shah, managing director of Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd. (MCX), told AFP. "MCX was launched 15 months back and has become the third largest exchange in the world in bullion," said Shah, speaking on the sidelines of the Third Dubai City of Gold Conference. The DGCX, to be up and running in the second half of 2005, is a joint venture between the Dubai Metals and Commodities Center (DMCC), MCX and Financial Technologies (India) Ltd. (FTIL), of which Shah is chairman. [More>>dailystar.com.lb]
02.22.05 India, Britain suspend military aid to Nepal
NEW DELHI, Feb. 22 Turning on the heat, India and Britain have cut off military aid to Nepal following the seizure of power by King Gyanendra and declaration of emergency in the country on February 1. "In view of current disturbed conditions in Nepal, no military supplies have been delivered since February one," External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna told reporters here today while responding to a question. [More>>Press Trust of India]
02.22.05 Chirac backs German call for revamp of NATO
BRUSSELS (Reuters) Feb. 22 French President Jacques Chirac on Tuesday endorsed a controversial call by German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder for a revamp of NATO, which the United States has rebuffed..."We must also, as the German chancellor has underlined, continue to take account of the changes that have occurred on the European continent," Chirac said, referring to the end of the Cold War and the rise of an enlarged and increasingly integrated European Union. [More>>reuters.com]
02.22.05 North Korea renews hope for six-party talks
PYONGYANG, Feb. 22 Top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) said yesterday the country is willing to return to six-party talks when conditions are ripe. Kim Jong-il, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, told a visiting senior Chinese official that he wishes all sides will take enough action with sincerity. [More>>chinadaily.com.cn
02.22.05 Income gap grows wider in Beijing
Feb. 22 The income gap among urban residents in Beijing is widening, according to figures released by the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Statistics. The average income of the richest 20 per cent of its residents is four times that of the poorest 20 per cent, according to figures for last year. Customers look at a car at sales in a Beijing market on February 21, 2005. [newsphoto]
02.22.05 At least 136 dead, 47 missing in garbage slide in Indonesia
Feb. 22 (Xinhua) At least 136 have been confirmed dead and 47 others missing in a garbage slide in Bandung district in Indonesia's West Java province, an official with the provincial social department said Tuesday. [More>>xinhuanet.com]
02.22.05 Update, 02.21.05 Record rains California; record snows in Kashmir
Feb.22 Kashmir avalanche toll increases. At least 170 people have been killed and hundreds more are missing in Indian-administered Kashmir following the worst snowfalls in two decades. Avalanches and mud slides triggered by heavy rain have buried entire villages and crushed houses across the area. The Indian army has been rescuing people from remote villages, many of whom have been trapped for two days. Many areas in Indian and Pakistani administered Kashmir are still cut-off as fears grow of food shortages. [More>>bbc.co.uk]
Though in two different parts of the world, heavy rains hitting California this past week believed to be worse than those received in the last "El Niño" and heavy snows in Kashmir may be related: the southern oceans are warming up.
An article in chinadaily.com.cn reports on an ongoing study by 76-year-old Mang Muren, a Mongolian researcher from the Institute for Origins of Asian Nations at Inner Mongolia Normal University. Mang Muren has found linguistic associations in the names of Chinese and Mongolian tribes and place names that contain the words for dog and deer.
In short, I found the article on Mang Muren's work quite informative, and maybe there is a closer relationship between the Mongoloid peoples and the Indo-European peoples than thought possible.
02.19.05 No bribe, no soup
Editorial note: Saturday's turkishpress.com had an article about a soup commercial being pulled off Turkish television channels because of Bulgaria's sensitivity to a bribe-taking policeman being featured in the ad. Apparently Turkish travelers through Bulgaria complain they are robbed and forced to pay bribes to police. In the exchange of the bribe, a person asks a policeman for directions and the policeman responds, "money for soup," a local phrase for a bribe. While the commercial did not identify in its presentation that the policeman was Bulgarian, apparently the essence of the "money for soup" practice is Bulgarian.
In today's world there are so many people complaining I lament in the press the trouble of responding. Alas, the song of the weary has no ear.
02.17.05 China sees CIA warning 'on China's military efforts'
Feb. 17 The director of the US Central Intelligence Agency changed the tone of his predecessors in the annual assessment about China on Wednesday, warning China's military modernisation is tilting the balance of power in the Taiwan Strait and increasing the threat to US forces in the region.
02.16.05 CIA, FBI warn panel of top threats to US
WASHINGTON (AP) Feb. 16 Al-Qaida and associated groups top the list of threats to the United States, leading government intelligence officials told Congress on Wednesday in a grim assessment that also highlighted Iran's emergence as a major threat to American interests in the Middle East. Despite gains made against al-Qaida and other affiliates, CIA Director Porter Goss, in an unusually blunt statement before the mostly secretive Senate Intelligence Committee, said the terror group is intent on finding ways to circumvent U.S. security enhancements to attack the homeland. "It may be only a matter of time before al-Qaida or other groups attempt to use chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear weapons. We must focus on that," Goss said. [More>>Associated Press]
02.16.05 Syria and Iran to form "common front"
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