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Maravot News of the World
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Wed, Mar 23, 2005
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Faces of the Fallen – Iraq
(photos and names of the fallen)

Metric Conversion

kilometer: 0.6214 mile
meter: 39.37 inches
centimetre: 0.3937 inch
millimetre: 0.03937 inch
foot: 30.48 cm
Br. stone: 14 pounds
kilogram: 2.2046 pounds
litre: 1.0567 US quarts
hectare: 2.471 acres
– 1 djerib (Turkey)
– 1 jerib (Iran)
– 1 gong qing (China)
0° Celcius: = 32° F

Federal Debt vs GDP– Click image for larger view. (OMB)

Chart showing National Debt & Annual Deficits with Presidents. Democrat administrations are blue, Republican in Red. Green reflects projected Bush debt. Click chart for larger image.

Interest exceeds Group A outlays. Click chart for larger image.

Gross Domestic Products. Click chart for larger image.

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Intrnational Agencies – News

IRIN News, Africa & Asia
Power & Interest News Report

Osama bin Laden fatwas.
This monster's own words will
lead to his destruction
Definition of fatwa (fatwah)
Maravot News Comment


August 1996

Maps of interest

Click on maps for larger image
Iraq and neighbors
Afghanistan & neighbors
Kazakhstan & neighbors

Historical map of Israel. Figure 2 shows the area allocated to
Israel by the UN in 1948. Compare to Israel' s interactive map below of its controversial security wall

Israel's Security Fence. Click on image for larger view.

(AP photo) Click photo for story

Middle East Watch

Middle East Times


Kurdo's World (Blog)
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The Romance of Anais, an Arthurian-style tale written 1996 describing how Bush got us in the mess in Iraq with a short commentary on the
Chang-an cheat

Duty & Profit, Nov. 1994
Against Leviathan, Jan. 1993
Immoral Coercion, Dec. 1994
Philistia Triumph thou
because of me
, Dec. 1993

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Question on liberation & democracy

US liberated Kuwait may illustrate Bush democratic values: This week Kuwait tried a man for criticizing the Koran. Free speech is a substantial part of a Democracy. Can free speech occur in liberated Iraq?

News Headlines & Trends

03.21.05 'Worst day in history of BBC'

March 21 – Brutal cuts involving the loss of 2,050 jobs - more than 400 in the newsroom - were unveiled at the BBC today, with unions branding the day the 'worst in the history' of the corporation. The extent of BBC director general Mark Thompson's job cuts were unveiled today with severe cuts in TV and radio news and current affairs. The unions immediately condemned the cuts describing today as "the worst day in the history of the BBC." In total, up to 6,000 staff will go as part of the cost-cutting, but Mr Thompson today revealed detailed plans for the news and nations and regions division, which will bear the brunt of cuts. [More>>]

03.21.05 US remains committed to one-China Policy: Rice

BEIJING, March 21 – Visiting US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the United States remains absolutely committed to the one-China policy. At a press conference before her departure, Rice referred to her meetings with Chinese President Hu Jintao and other leaders. She reiterated that the United States does in fact have the one-China policy that is based on the three joint communiques. She expressed hope the status quo of the Taiwan Straits will be maintained, saying "the most useful path ahead is to reduce tension between the two sides." [More>>CRI online]

03.21.05 Water shortage in Thailand now critical – Global Warming

March 21 – This year's drought is the worst since 1997-98 when the El Nino phenomenon caused one of the driest years in Thailand's recent history. Unusually low water levels in several major dams have dipped below the levels in the El Nino year, according to the Hydro and Agro Infomatics Institute at the Ministry of Science and Technology. `There is no water available for agriculture. The remaining water stock must be conserved for consumption only,'' said Royon Jitdon, the institute's director.

Usable water stored in major dams across the country is about 2,000 million cubic metres (cu/m), or 6%, below last year's level. The level has dropped to 39% of overall storage capacity against the usual standard level of 80%.

Water in major rivers such as the Kok, Yom, Nan, Moon, Tapee, and Ko Lok has also fallen below their record low levels. For example, the level in the Moon river, measured at Buri Ram, is 44cm below the lowest level recorded in 2003...The drought so far has destroyed more than 13 million rai of agricultural land. The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has predicted up to 20 million rai of crop land will be devastated this year.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE) reported that 70 provinces have been hit by drought, leaving only six provinces – Bangkok, Pathum Thani, Nakhon Pathom, Samut Sakhon, Yala and Pattan – spared drought status.

Water salinity in four major rivers – Chao Phraya, Tha Chin, Mae Klong and Bang Pakong – is at critical levels due to a severe shortage of fresh water upstream, allowing sea water to invade up from the lower part of the rivers...Ms Kansri said the rising global temperature due to emissions of greenhouse gases had resulted in rapid evaporation and decreasing humidity. She said within 50 years, the northeastern tropical rainforests would be transformed into drier-type forests with far less biodiversity.
[More>>; See separate article, "Asian river dolphins 'endangered,']

03.20.05 'UK does not share US objections to Iran-India gas pipeline'

ISLAMABAD, March 20 – Britain does not share the objections raised by the United States over the Iran-India gas pipeline through Pakistan as it believes that the project would bolster ties between New Delhi and Islamabad. The United Kingdom does not share US objections over the gas pipeline project, Britain's Deputy High Commissioner to Pakistan Simon Butt said.

"I am not sure that we will have the same kind of objections that (US Secretary of State Condoleezza) Rice expressed for understandable reasons," he was quoted as saying by The News daily.

Editorial note: Maravot News tracks trends in the news (something the Bush administration's Secretary of State does not follow). The current trend (following the need for oil) is that the EU, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, the Central Asian Nations, Turkey, Japan and South Korea all have a common interest: pipelines serving Europe and Asia from Russia, the Caspian Sea, and Iran (Iraq being controlled by the Bush family, at the moment). While George W. Bush has been waging war to secure oil interests for his family, including the Saudis and bin Ladens, according to many news sources (Michael Moore opened the issue with his movie, F/911), other nations have been working out delicate bonds with regard to the key resources mentioned above. In essence these other interests have been working around the Bush administration, leaving the US out of their plans, as "odd-man-out," as it were. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who helped form the policy of dominion over the oil reserves via war, showed her ignorance of what has been going on when she threatened India and Pakistan, attempting to persuade them to drop their plans for a pipeline from Iran. The probable end of the Condoleezza policy is to wage war against the EU, since the EU has been aligning with Russia and others.
Mel Copeland

03.20.05 Rice seeks help from China on North Korea; condemns UN on arms sales to China

BEIJING (AP) March 20 – U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today sought further help from China in getting North Korea back to nuclear disarmament talks and aired Washington's concerns about Beijing's bellicose rhetoric on Taiwan...Rice also suggested that European governments would be acting irresponsibly if they sold sophisticated weaponry to China that might one day be used against U.S. forces in the Pacific.

"It is the United States, not Europe, that is defending the Pacific," Rice said, adding that South Korea and Japan are contributing resources to keep the Asia-Pacific region stable.

Editorial note: Maravot News recorded (see Trends & Concerns link above) that the Bush administration has been redeploying American forces in the Pacific, where the headquarters would be moved from Japan to Guam. This has been mixed news to Japan, since it has placed the burden of defending [their part of] the Pacific on them. The US has already reduced troops in South Korea for redeployment in Iraq, and plans more reductions there. Rice's statement "that it is the United States, not Europe, that is defending the Pacific" does not address the current US plans of abandoning the East Asian Pacific region – nor the enemy – nor does it identify the specific threat(s) against America and the East Asian Pacific region. There are disputes between Russia and Japan over islands, Japan and South Korea over another island; Malaysia and Indonesia are in dispute over islands (all being sources of oil and gas); there is rampant piracy in the Malacca Straits, and, of course, Pakistan has just launched a 1,200 mile + range missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads. India will no doubt respond with a longer-range missile. Both China and Japan have space exploration programs, increasing their missile delivery capability, and Japan is for the first time since WWII changing its policy from having defensive weapons to offensive weapons (because US forces are abandoning the region). Rice must be smoking something. She certainly has been blowing a lot of smoke.
Mel Copeland

03.20.05 Iraq insecurity rife two years after invasion – at least 16,000 Iraqis have died since start of war

BAGHDAD (AFP) March 20 – Violence and insecurity hold sway over much of Iraq two years after the U.S.-led invasion, despite burgeoning Iraqi security forces and the continued presence of 150,000 foreign troops, mostly Americans. The two main roads heading south from the capital are so dangerous that one of them is nicknamed the "highway of death," while the other passes through an area with the dubious moniker of the "triangle of death." The road north, which passes through the country's Sunni Arab heartland, is the scene of repeated kidnappings and murders. [More>>]

03.20.05 Defendant Rumsfeld

March 18 – An article by Nat Hentoff says "Secretary of Defense sued for torture while media cover Michael Jackson trial. "Our country is one that safeguards human rights and human dignity. . . . I live in a transparent country . . . where decisions made by government are wide-open." George W. Bush, in Slovakia, February 24, 2005

In order to fight a new war against terrorism, the U.S. government would often need to work "quietly" and "without any discussion," and would "use any means at our disposal" and "work through, sort of, the dark side." "America's Extraordinary Tolerance for Torture," Salon, February 11, 2005, paraphrasing and quoting Vice President Dick Cheney from his appearance on NBC's Meet the Press, September 16, 2001

On March 1, the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights First filed a historic lawsuit, Ali et al. v. Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense of the United States of America, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (the defendant's home state). In all forms of media, there has been minimal coverage of the very existence of this legal action, and even less of the precisely documented charges, including the defendant's violations of American and international laws and the consequences of his continuing lawlessness.

03.20.05 At least 21 dead in Iraq attacks on two-year invasion anniversary

MOSUL, Iraq (AFP) March 20 – At least 21 people were killed, including a US soldier, in attacks mainly targeting Iraq's security forces as Washington defended its decision to lead the Iraq invasion two years ago. And before even forming a new government, Baghdad was plunged into a diplomatic crisis with neighboring Jordan as the two countries recalled their respective envoys following accusations of Jordanian involvement in a suicide bombing three weeks ago that killed some 120 people in Hilla. [More>>; see also (AP), "Suicide attacks, political disputes mark 3rd year in Iraq."

03.20.05 Car bomb in Qatar theatre kills Briton, wounds 12

March 20 (Reuters) – A car bomb killed one Briton and wounded at least 12 people on Saturday at a theatre frequented by Westerners in Qatar, command centre for the US-led invasion of Iraq, which began exactly two years ago. A Qatari investigator told Reuters a suicide bomber rammed a vehicle into the theatre near a British school in the capital Doha, badly damaging the playhouse. ³There are two dead, including the suicide bomber,² said a second Qatari source, who also declined to be named. [More>>; See also, " victim identified as Jonathan Adams; attacker was an Egyptian engineer."

03.20.05 Rumsfeld blames Turkey for "flourishing insurgency" in Iraq

WASHINGTON (AF)P March 20 – Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Sunday he regretted that US troops had not been able to enter northern Iraq through Turkey during the 2003 invasion, saying this has enabled the post-war insurgency in Iraq to flourish. In a television interview with Fox News Sunday, on the two year anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq that toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein, Rumsfeld was asked if there was any aspect of the campaign he regretted. [More>>]

03.20.05 Kuwaiti liberal academic gets suspended one-year term for disparaging Quran

KUWAIT CITY, March 20 – A leading liberal academic has been handed a one-year suspended jail term by Kuwait¹s appeals court for writing an article deemed offensive to the Muslim holy book, the Quran, he said on Sunday. Ahmad al-Baghdadi, a university political science professor and columnist, was convicted of ³disparaging the Quran² for criticising plans by the ministry of education to increase the number of Islamic education lessons in schools.

The court, which passed its verdict on Saturday, told Baghdadi to pay 2,000 Kuwaiti dinars (6,800 dollars) to suspend the jail term and ordered him to keep good conduct for three years. In an article he wrote in his daily column in Al-Siyassah newspaper last June, Baghdadi said he sent his son to a private foreign school to escape the ³backwardness² of public education and because he thought ³learning music is more important than learning the holy Quran.²

Editorial note: George H. W. Bush, with a strong UN alliance, attacked Iraq for invading Kuwait and subsequently liberated Kuwait from Iraq. This set a precedent that may in fact have been the enabling force behind his son's, George W. Bush's, war on Iraq, that is now being celebrated by President Bush, as being in its second year "to bring democracy to the Middle East." One must ponder what the devil has in mind with regard to the place of "freedom of speech," in his version of Democracy. Historians will record the truth of the matter, that the Bush family sent America into a dark age serving their interests in oil, sacrificing many lives, and sullying the reputation of this great nation as being a refuge for the down-trodden masses, in contrast to its current world image of persecuting them for oil.
Mel Copeland

03.20.05 Jewish investors secretly buy Old City properties from Greek Orthodox Church

JERUSALEM, March 20 – Foreign Jewish investors have paid millions of dollars to buy two large properties at Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem's Old City through a secret deal with the Greek Orthodox church, an Israeli newspaper reported on Friday. The highly controversial deal, details of which appeared in the Maariv daily, saw a group of Jewish investors paying millions of dollars for a tract of land in Omar Ibn Khatib Square just inside Jaffa Gate, which lies at the main entrance to the Old City. The Friday article did not give an exact purchase price for the deal.

The site is currently home to two landmark properties managed by two well-known Palestinian families: the Imperial and Petra hotels. A row of Palestinian-run shops selling tourist trinkets and memorabilia is situated on the ground floor of the two compounds. Neither the hotel managers nor the shop owners had any knowledge of the sale, which the newspaper said was carried out with money transferred through various European banks.

03.20.05 Pakistan explosion kills 27, injures 18

March 20 – A bomb exploded Saturday as minority Shiite Muslims congregated at a shrine in a remote town in southwestern Pakistan, killing at least 27 people and wounding 18, police said. Thousands of worshippers were at the shrine of a Shiite saint near the town of Naseerabad, about 210 miles south of Quetta in restive Baluchistan province, when the bomb went off outside, said Mubarak Ali, a local police official.

Leaders and workers of an alliance of Pakistani opposition parties take part in a rally to protest against killings of Baluchistan's tribesmen, in Quetta, Pakistan on Saturday, March 19, 2005. Thousands of government workers and their families evacuated a remote town in southwestern Pakistan on Saturday, a senior official said, amid fears of renewed fighting between renegade tribesmen and government forces after clashes this week left at least 30 people dead. [AP]
There was no immediate claim of responsibility..

03.20.05 Protestsin US, Europe as Bush defends war

March 20 – Thousands of protesters against the war on Iraq marched in Europe and the United States on Saturday, but US President Bush said the invasion just two years ago shielded the world from "grave danger." "George Bush ... Uncle Sam. Iraq will be your Vietnam," chanted 45,000 protesters winding through central London as they put down a black cardboard coffin with the slogan "100,000 dead" scrawled on the lid outside the U.S. Embassy...The protesters, marking the second anniversary of the invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein), called on Bush and his ally, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, to pull their troops out of Iraq and restore sovereignty to its people. Some 10,000 people marched through the center of Rome...About 10,000 protesters attended a rally in Istanbul... [More>>]

03.20.05 China to be world's biggest auto making center

SHANGHAI (Xinhuanet) March 20 – China will become world's biggest auto manufacturing center worldwide in the next three to five years, said leading European consultant organization Capgemini. International auto companies cannot wait for a share the cake, said Peter Kroll, vice president of Capgemini. General Motors, Volkswagon, Toyota and Nissan are busy establishing their manufacturing bases in the vast and low-cost Chinese market. Kroll said China has attracted 60 to 80 percent of these companies' total investment in the international market. "Whether or not they can gain a success in China will be decisive to the future development of the auto giants," Kroll said. Many transnational companies have chosen to close down the car factories in their own countries and transfer them to China, meaning China will also become a huge source of car export. Kroll said. [More>> via]

03.20.05 M7 quake hits western Japan, killing one, injuring 400

TOKYO, March 20 – A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7 struck northern Kyushu on Sunday morning, leaving a woman dead and more than 400 people injured in Fukuoka Prefecture. The 10:53 a.m. quake, which registered a maximum intensity of lower 6 on the Japanese seismic scale of 7 in Fukuoka city and southern Saga Prefecture, also damaged many houses and paralyzed railway services and utilities. [More>>; See also]

03.20.05 Update, 03.19.05 Floods claim 200 lives

KABUL, March 19 – Severe floods across much of Afghanistan have killed at least 88 people and left thousands homeless as houses were swept away by the raging waters, officials said today. The floods triggered by heavy rain hit the south-central province of Uruzgan, Farah and Ghor provinces in the west and Jawzjan in the north on Friday.

At least 88 people, most of them children, have been confirmed dead but more are feared dead in remote districts which have been cut off by the floods, officials said. The interior ministry said 85 died in the provincial capital of Farah city, 680 kilometres west of Kabul, and a woman and two children were killed in neighbouring Ghor province. "At least 21 elders and 64 children were drowned due to floods in Farah city on Friday," ministry press officer Dad Mohammed Rasa told AFP.

In Uruzgan scores of houses were destroyed in the capital Tarin Kot, in Khas Uruzgan district and in Chori district, said ministry spokesman Lutfullah Mashal. "Around 600 houses have been destroyed in the Deh Rawood district of Uruzgan province. They are in severe need of food and tents," Mashal said. US-led forces stationed in Uruzgan to battle the Taliban used a helicopter to evacuate around 200 people stranded in an island in the middle of a river, said US military spokesman Major Steve Wollman.
[More>>; See update, "Heavy floods kill 200 in Afghanistan, thousands homeless,"]

03.19.05 Japanese government to compromise on beef issue

March 19 - The [Japanese] government is likely to drop two controversial requirements, which were to be referred to the Food Safety Commission in judging the safety of beef, in a compromise aimed at lifting the ban on U.S. beef imports as soon as possible, government sources said Friday. The requirements that were to be referred to the commission include a system of verifying the age of cattle by examining the condition of their meat and a measure to prevent specific body parts, such as brains and spinal cords, from being included in the imports.

These have been the most divisive issues in the negotiations on resuming U.S. beef imports. The sources were speaking hours before. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice flew into Tokyo on Friday evening. The beef issue is high on the agenda for her two-day visit.

03.19.05 Coal mine explosion kills 17, traps 52 in Shanxi

March 19 – Seventeen miners were confirmed dead and more than 50 were trapped underground after a powerful gas explosion at a coal mine in northern China. The blast occurred around noon on Saturday at the Xishui colliery in Pinglu, a district in the city of Shuozhou in Shanxi province. Forty-nine miners were working in the shaft where the explosion occurred and 22 others were also working at the nearby Kangjiayao mine when the blast caused a wall to collapse, it said, adding that two people have been rescued.

Shanxi provincial governor Zhang Baoshun has arrived at the scene to direct rescue and carry out investigation work, Xinhua news agency said. Police detained the four owners of the Xishui coal mine. Built in 1993, Xishui Mine is licensed with an annual output of 150,000 tons of coal. But the mine was ordered to suspend production after safety problems last November, said an official with the provincial supervision office of coal mine production. "In defiance of the order, however, mine owners have restarted production this year," said the official.

03.19.05 Christians 'pleased' at denial of visa to Modi

WASHINGTON (PTI) March 19 – The Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations of North America (FIACONA) has said that it is "pleased" at the US government's decision of denying a visa to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. In a statement the FIACONA said that the US State Department has made a "strong and right" decision on the issue of denying a visa to Modi. "This action by the US administration is a recognition of Modi's involvement in February 2002 killings and his continued policies of harassment of religious minorities in Gujarat," the statement said.

John Prabhudoss, the Chairman of the Governmental Affairs Committee of FIACONA, said, "I applaud the decision of the State Department and I thank the US Congress for standing with us in the effort."

03.19.05 Pakistan's Musharraf vows to strengthen nuclear program as missile tested

ISLAMABAD, March 19 – President Pervez Musharraf vowed Saturday to further upgrade Pakistan's nuclear capability but with a "strict adherence" to non-proliferation as he watched the test-firing of a long-range missile which can carry a nuclear warhead. "The nation's nuclear capability, which enjoyed the broadest national consensus, was developed for Pakistan's own security and will continue to receive the highest national priority," a military statement quoted Musharraf as saying. [More>>]

03.19.05 AFP sues Google over news site

San Francisco (Reuters) March 19 – Agence France Presse has sued Google Inc., alleging the Web search leader includes AFP's photos, news headlines and stories on its news site without permission. The French news service is seeking damages of at least $17.5 million and an order barring Google News from displaying AFP photographs, news headlines or story leads, according to the suit filed on Thursday in the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

Google was not immediately available for comment. AFP's lawyers could not immediately be reached for comment on the suit. AFP sells subscriptions to its content and does not provide it free. Google News gathers photos and news stories from around the Web and posts them on its news site, which is free to users.

03.18.05 Blast rocks Beirut

March 19 – A car bomb has exploded east of Beirut, wounding seven people, Lebanese security officials said. The blast in the early hours of Saturday blew off the front of the first and second floors of a building in a suburb on the northern edge of the Lebanese capital. The explosion shortly after midnight in the commercial area of the New Jdeideh neighborhood sent debris flying yards away and shattered windows within few blocks, damaging cars and shops in the area. It was not clear what the target may have been. [More>> via BBC TV &]

03.18.05 Update, 03.17.05 Japan and South Korea at odds over Dokdo islets and Japanese glorification of 1910 invasion

March 17 – After the conclusion of WWII, in 1945 the rocky Dokdo islets in the East Sea, off Korea, were returned to Korea. The islands are known in Japan as the Takeshima islands. Recently Japan has claimed sovereignty over the islands – even declaring a "Takeshima Day" to mark its 1905 claim to the islets – and flown, according to reports, military aircraft near the islands. Associated with this dispute is a new Japanese history textbook, in review, that is claimed to glorify Japan's invasion of Korea. Japan colonized Korea from1910 through 1945. [Full story>>; See update article, "Dispute bolsters economic profile of Dokdo islands." It's all about oil: "...Yesterday, Korea National Oil Corp. and Woodside Petroleum Ltd., Australia's second-largest oil and gas company, signed an agreement to jointly examine the potential of the Uleung Basin. Dokdo is part of the Uleung area of the East Sea. On Thursday, the Korea Gas Corp. issued a press release on the progress of a gas hydrate exploration project that involves waters around Dokdo. The state gas company said it had located large deposits of semisolid gas - possibly enough to relieve Korea of the need to import LNG for next 30 years - about 400 kilometers east of Seoul in the East Sea..." []

03.18.05 Journalists tell of US Falluja killings

March 17- All is quiet in Falluja, or at least that is how it seems, given that the mainstream media has largely forgotten about the Iraqi city. But independent journalists are risking life and limb to bring out a very different story. The picture they are painting is of US soldiers killing whole families, including children, attacks on hospitals and doctors, the use of napalm-like weapons and sections of the city destroyed. One of the few reporters who has reached Falluja is American Dahr Jamail of the Inter Press Service. He interviewed a doctor who had filmed the testimony of a 16-year-old girl.

"She stayed for three days with the bodies of her family who were killed in their home. When the soldiers entered she was in her home with her father, mother, 12 year-old brother and two sisters. She watched the soldiers enter and shoot her mother and father directly, without saying anything. They beat her two sisters, then shot them in the head. After this her brother was enraged and ran at the soldiers while shouting at them, so they shot him dead," Jamail relates.

03.18.05 Ukraine admits Iran, China missile sale

March 19 – Ukraine's prosecutor-general on Friday confirmed reports that his country had sold nuclear-capable cruise missiles to both Iran and China, but stressed that the deals were illegal and under criminal investigation. "This is not about exports of missiles but rather illegal sales which are being investigated by the SBU (security service) which has opened a criminal investigation of the director of the company Ukrspetsexport," said the prosecutor in a statement.

Svyatoslav Piskun, Ukraine's prosecutor general, earlier told the respected London-based Financial Times that 18 Soviet-era X-55 cruise missiles were exported in 2001 – 12 to Iran and six to China. Piskun was also quoted as saying that the missiles were not exported with the nuclear warheads that they were designed to carry.

The X-55, an air-launched missile also known as the Kh-55 and AS-15 and first introduced in 1976, has a range of 3,500 kilometres (2,175 miles), which would give China – or North Korea, if it obtained the missile – easy access to Japan, while Iran could hit its main regional foe, Israel.

03.18.05 Indian chief minister denied US visa; government of India protests

NEW DELHI (PTI) March 18 – In a stinging snub to Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the US today revoked his visa apparently because of Gujarat riots two days before his travel there, drawing strong protest from India which sought "urgent reconsideration" of the "uncalled for" decision. Angry at the development, Modi said it amounted to an "insult to India" and accused Washington of following "double standards" and said the ground on which he had been denied visa was "baseless" as no court of law in India or world had found him violating religious freedom.

The US Embassy said it had revoked Modi's tourist/business visa and him diplomatic visa under US Immigration and Nationality Act. "We confirm that the Chief Minister of Gujarat state Narendra Modi applied for but was denied diplomatic visa under Section 214 (B) of the Act because he was not coming for the purpose that qualified for diplomatic visa," US Embassy spokesman said. "His tourist/business visa was revoked under Section 212 (a)(2)(g) of the Act which makes 'any government official who was responsible for or directly carried out at any time, particularly severe violations of religious freedom,' ineligible for visa," he added.
[More>>Press Trust of India; See also "India flays US refusal to grant entry visa to fiery Hindu leader,"]

03.18.05 Suspected al-Qaeda terrorist detained in Manila

MANILA, March 18 – A man suspected of al-Qaeda links has been detained after arriving at Manila airport from Saudi Arabia and may have been handed over to U.S. officials, Philippine immigration officials said Friday. The man, identified by the officials as Saudi Arabian national Abdullah Nassar al-Arifi, 34, appears on an FBI list of terror suspects, and may have links to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States as well as the 2002 bombings in Bali, Indonesia, the officials told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. He was detained shortly after arriving on a Philippine Airlines flight from the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on Wednesday, the officials said. [More>>; see also]

03.18.05 Dutchman in Iraq genocide hearing

March 18 – A Dutch businessman accused of complicity in genocide for selling chemicals to Iraq in the 1980s knew that Saddam Hussein might use them as weapons, prosecutors have said at his first public hearing. The case is seen as a landmark because it will be the first time a businessman has been prosecuted for war crimes by a national court.

Frans van Anraat, 62, was not required to enter a plea or make a statement at the pre-trial hearing on Friday. His trial starts in November. He has acknowledged in the past that he sold chemicals to Saddam's government, but said his actions were neither wrong nor illegal. The chemicals dealer is said to have exported tons of chemicals between 1984 and 1988 that were turned into mustard and nerve gas, some of which was allegedly used in the 1988 attack on the Kurdish town of Halabja where more than 5000 people died.

03.18.05 Wreckage of US World War II plane discovered in Papua

JAKARTA (Antara), March 19 – Residents of the remote jungles in Indonesia's eastern-most province of Papua claim to have found the wreckage of a U.S. plane believed to have been shot down by Japanese forces during World War II. The aircraft was found hidden in the undergrowth in the village of Kombieti, which borders with Papua New Guinea, Lukas Merunda, one of the local residents, said on Friday. Merunda said the body of the aircraft was still intact, with its wings hanging on the wreckage. [More>>]

03.18.05 Funding shortfall of $4.22 billion for tsunami reconstruction: ADB

MANILA (AFP) March 18 – Funds raised so far to help rebuild four of the countries worst affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster fall short by 4.22 billion dollars, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on Friday. According to ADB data some 7.76 billion dollars are needed by India, Indonesia, the Maldives and Sri Lanka for rehabilitation and reconstruction. So far only 3.54 billion dollars have been committed by donor nations and agencies, leaving a funding gap of some 4.22 billion dollars, the bank said, revising its earlier estimate of a 5.25 billion-dollar shortfall. [More>>]

03.18.05 Eni finds oil in area claimed by Indonesia, Malaysia

JAKARTA (Bloomberg), March 19 – Eni SpA, Europe's fourth-biggest oil producer, struck oil in an area claimed by both Malaysia and Indonesia as the countries said they will negotiate to avoid armed conflict over the territorial dispute. Italy's Eni and its partner Unocal Corp. of the U.S. drilled two wells late last year that found oil and gas in the Ambalat area off Borneo island, Trijana Kartoatmodjo, deputy of operations at Indonesia's oil and gas regulator BPMigas, said in a telephone interview on Friday.

"The discoveries are encouraging," Kartoatmodjo said from Jakarta, declining to give an estimate of the amount of oil and gas in the area. "Eni plans to start drilling this year to get an exact estimate of the reserves."

03.18.05 80 year-old man allegedly strangles wife for cooking 'too many dishes'

SAPPORO, Japan (Kyodo News) March 18 – Police arrested an 80-year-old man in Sapporo on Friday on suspicion of killing his wife after an argument caused by his complaint that she had cooked "too many dishes" for him, police officials said.

Yoshifumi Aoki told the police that he killed his wife Setsuko, 73, in a fit of rage by strangling her with a towel in their kitchen Wednesday night, they said. The incident came to light as the suspect went to a local municipal office Thursday to consult with authorities about cremating her body, they said.

03.18.05 Russia eyes closer military ties with China

March 18 – Russian Chief of General Staff Yury Baluyevsky vowed yesterday to develop a closer military relationship with that country's largest neighbour. Russian Chief of General Staff Yury Baluyevsky said in Beijing March 17 that the China-Russia military exercise in autumn is a new way of cooperation and is not targeted at any third country. Baluyevsky arrived Beijing yesterday morning for a four-day visit, as plans are laid for the first joint military exercises between the two countries. It is Baluyevsky's first trip abroad since he took up the post last July. The Russian general said developing a strategic co-operative partnership with China is one of Russia's priorities. Baluyevsky told his Chinese counterpart Liang Guanglie that Russia is willing to work with China to strengthen bilateral ties. The meeting yesterday touched upon the upcoming military exercises, said a Chinese defence ministry source. The exercises are expected to be held in the second half of this year and will reportedly involve the army, navy, air force as well as submarines. A Russian military source said the exercise should help both sides co-ordinate in the fight against terrorism. [More>>]

Editorial note: It is interesting that the Russian-Chinese agreement took place right after US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited China.

Mel Copeland

03.18.05 Rice criticizes EU lifting of China arms embargo

TOKYO, March 18 – US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday European Union moves to lift its arms embargo on China sent a wrong message but that Beijing's rights record had improved enough not to warrant criticism at a UN forum. Rice told reporters on her plane from Islamabad to Tokyo that the US, Japan and South Korea all oppose moves to lift the arms embargo because of China's rising military strength in the region. Especially for the US, "which plays the role of a guarantor of stability in that region, it simply sends the wrong message at a time of rising Chinese military expenditure to lift the arms embargo."

China's parliament Monday approved a 12.6 percent increase in military spending this year to 244.65 billion yuan (29.5 billion dollars).

The EU reassured China on Thursday that it was pressing ahead with plans to lift the embargo, imposed in 1989 in protest at the massacre of pro-democracy demonstrators, despite a storm sparked by Beijing's anti-secession law targeting Taiwan.

03.18.05 Freed Chinese dissident determined to fight for Uighur minority

WASHINGTON (AFP) March 18 – Rebiya Kadeer, a top campaigner for the rights of China's Muslim Uighur minority, has vowed to fight for her people's freedom as she arrived in the United States following her release from nearly six years of detention in Beijing. "I will keep on fighting for my people until my last breath," the 58-year-old mother of 11 told scores of exiled Uighurs and human rights advocates at the Washington National Airport in an emotional welcome late Thursday. [More>>]

03.18.05 Pakistan's Frontier Corps and Tribes battle in Pakistan

QUETTA, March 18 – The Frontier Corps (FC) and Bugti tribesmen battled each other near Sangsela in Dera Bugti on Thursday with Bugti chief Nawab Akbar Bugti claiming that 50 civilians including women and children were killed by FC shooting while an FC spokesman said five FC personnel were killed and at least 19 were injured. Government officials did not confirm the FC death toll, but said at least five FC personnel were injured and that Bugti tribesmen had laid siege to about 40 FC personnel including Bhambhor Rifles Commandant Col. Rafaqat and Dera Bugti District Coordination Officer Abdul Samad Lasi. Sources said the FC called in gunship helicopters for support and used heavy weapons against the tribesmen. The FC spokesman also said regular army personnel had been called in to help rescue the besieged personnel. [More>>; See also "Gunfights, train blast kills up to 30 in southwest Pakistan." : "Fierce gun battles between tribal rebels and Pakistani troops in the troubled southwestern province of Baluchistan have left up to 30 people dead and more than 70 injured, an official said on Friday..."]

03.18.05 US resolution on China's law "firmly opposed"

BEIJING, March 18 – China Thursday lodged solemn representations with the United States, expressing its strong dissatisfaction with and firm opposition to a resolution adopted by the US House of Representatives on China's Anti-Secession law. Calling the resolution "groundless" and "unreasonable," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said the act violates the principles of three joint communiques between China and the US as well as the basic rules of international relations. "It is a rude interference in Chinese internal affairs," said Liu. The US House of Representatives approved a resolution expressing its "grave concern" about China's Anti-Secession Law which was passed by China's top legislative body by 2,896 votes to zero with two abstentions on Monday. "The Anti-Secession Law... is a law for peaceful reunification. It is not a law meant to use force towards Taiwan nor is it a war bill," said Liu. [More>>]

03.18.05 Iraqi Arabs, Turkmen rally against Kurdish designs on Kirkuk

KIRKUK, Iraq, March 18 – Turkmen and Arab Shiites demonstrated Friday in the northern Iraqi oil city of Kirkuk against the Kurdish push to annex the city. "No, no to federalism; no, no to the division of Iraq," a few hundred Shiites from radical cleric Moqtada Sadr's movement shouted as they trickled out from the Khazal al-Tamimi mosque in the city's centre.

Local Sadr representative Sheikh Ahmed al-Lamy was explicit about their opposition to the Kurdish push to implement Iraq's interim constitution, which calls for the return of tens of thousands of Kurds who were expelled from Kirkuk.

Editorial note: The Kurds occupy land straddling southeastern Turkey, northern Iraq, and northwestern Iran. They are related to the Persians (Iranians) and have pressed for a national unity.



02.19.05 'Dog-Deer' clan seen as common Chinese ancestor – relates to European Paleolithic Lion-Deer
02.15.05 Bush & Rice affects upon Iran's liaisons: it's all about oil and gas
12.23.04 US is losing war of ideas
12.21.04 United States attacking itself from behind


(2) The name, Allah, in Arabic is an expression of surprise. It is not unusual for the God of the Bible to be known by many names. Jewish Midrash quotes passages in the Old Testament (Torah) that cite as many as seventy names of God (and more). But they can all be reduced down to one name.

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