Home > News > News in Brief: 31 July 2007

News in Brief: 31 July 2007

A brief list of news for the day:

U.S. erects more walls to isolate Baghdad quarters. U.S. troops have isolated certain quarters in the neighborhood of Dora with concrete slabs, blocking the passage of vehicles. Dora is one of the most violent areas in Baghdad and repeated U.S. military forays have failed to pacify it. (Azzaman)

Body of 2nd South Korean hostage killed is found in Afghanistan. Police discovered the body of a second South Korean hostage Tuesday slain by the Taliban in central Afghanistan, while relatives of the remaining captives pleaded for the United States to help to resolve the crisis. (International Herald Tribune)

Kurds fall out on draft oil law. The two main Kurdish factions ruling northern Iraq are on collision course regarding the way to approach the controversial oil draft law. The differences surfaced in a parliamentary session during which deputies representing the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, a faction led by President Jalal Talabani, left the assembly in protest. (Azzaman)

US to arm Israel and Arab states in $60bn deal. The US has announced military aid packages worth more than $60bn (£30bn) for Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other key Arab allies in the Gulf. The aim is to boost regional defences against the growing power of Iran and to induce the Saudis in particular to cut back support for Sunni insurgent groups inside Iraq. (The Independent)

Iran May Buy 250 Jets From Russia. Iran is in negotiations with Russia to buy 250 state-of-the-art fighter jets, an Israeli newspaper reported, in a pointed response to a new American bid to sell billions of dollars’ worth of weapons to potential Iranian adversaries in the Middle East. (Defense News)

UN inspects Iranian nuclear reactor. Inspectors from the IAEA have visited a heavy water reactor in Iran, examining a key component of the country’s nuclear programme. (Al Jazeera)

Mud and the Minister: A Tale of Woe in Java. Over a year after a torrent of liquid mud at an Indonesian oil exploration site inundated four villages, killing almost 100 people, the local community is still awaiting clean-up and proper compensation. This is despite the fact that the drilling company is owned by the family of a senior Indonesian minister. (CorpWatch)

President Chavez Announces Construction of 15 New Hospitals in Venezuela. The new hospitals, along with the remodeling of existing hospitals, make up the third and fourth phases of the Barrio Adentro (Inside the Barrio) health program. (Political Affairs)

Benazir’s bank accounts restored. The government has restored some bank accounts of Benazir Bhutto, former prime minister and chairwoman of the Pakistan People’s Party, as part of measures to pave the way for a government-PPP deal. (Daily Times)

Ehud Barak declares war on growing number of Israeli draft dodgers. An Israeli leader rose up Monday evening and settled scores with “half the population,” as he put it. Half a population of draft-dodging parasites who send the other half, the “suckers,” to waste three years of their lives on climbing mountains and protecting Israel’s civilian population. (Ynetnews)

Catholic missionaries enter cyber-space. Roman Catholic missionaries must reap a virtual harvest of cyber-souls in the kingdom of Second Life: this is the new instruction to the faithful. It appears in the Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica, a Rome-based publication approved by the Vatican Secretariat of State, in an article by the academic priest Father Antonio Spadaro. (Times)

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