Home > News > News in Brief: 1 August 2007

News in Brief: 1 August 2007

A brief list of news for the day:

Haneef may face further charges. The Australian Federal Police (AFP) could yet recommend further charges against Mohamed Haneef, even though its original case against the Indian doctor collapsed due to lack of evidence. (The Age)

Australia’s government defends greater police powers. The federal government has dismissed calls to withdraw a planned law giving federal police more power to investigate major crimes, despite unease over the Mohamed Haneef case… Authorities would be able to conduct searches of premises and plant surveillance devices without telling the affected people for months. (The Age)

Rescue mission begins to free Korean hostages. A military operation to rescue the 21 surviving South Korean hostages held by the Taleban has begun in Afghanistan after another deadline in the protracted crisis passed this morning. Leaflets were dropped across Ghazni province, where the Christian aid workers were taken from their bus two weeks ago, warning civilians to leave their homes as the mission began. (Times Online)

Sudan pledges to work with U.N. Darfur force. Sudan promised on Wednesday to cooperate with deployment of up to 26,000 U.N. and African Union troops and police to quell violence in Darfur after the U.N. Security Council authorized the force. (Reuters)

Iraq weapons accounting overwhelmed. An overwhelmed inventory-control system has left thousands of weapons earmarked for Iraqi security forces unaccounted for, a report warned Tuesday. The situation has resulted in about 110,000 AK-47 rifles unaccounted for as well as thousands of handguns, helmets and bulletproof vests. (UPI)

Saudis Consider Upgraded Relations With Iraq. Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister today said his country was considering plans to upgrade its diplomatic ties with Iraq but rebuffed calls from the Bush administration to do more to halt Saudis from crossing the border to join the insurgency. (New York Times – may require free login)

Cheney talks up Iraq ‘progress’ ahead of report. A looming report on Iraq will show “significant progress” in the war, the US vice-president predicted last night, even though President George Bush has refused to speculate on its conclusions. (Guardian)

Saudis back US Middle East plans. Saudi Arabia says it supports US plans for a regional peace conference this year and would be keen to attend. The conference is intended to revive the peace process and would include Israel, the Palestinians and Arab states viewed as moderate by the US. (BBC)

Iraq Sunni bloc quits coalition. Six ministers from Iraq’s Sunni bloc have resigned from the Shia-led government of Nuri al-Maliki, the prime minister, following a month-long dispute. (Al Jazeera)

Car bombs kill dozens in Baghdad. At least 67 people have been killed and almost 100 have been wounded in two separate bombings in Baghdad, Iraqi police have said. (BBC)

Germany Debates Boost in Afghanistan Troops. Senior politicians from Germany’s two main parties have come out solidly behind the training and reconstruction role played by the 3,000 German ISAF troops in northern Afghanistan, ahead of a parliamentary decision on renewing their mandate this autumn. (Deutsche Welle)

A growing toll on battlefield brains. From Afghanistan to Iraq, bomb blasts are causing the U.S., British and Canadian troops who survive them a staggering number of brain injuries. Military doctors warn we’ve only just started to suffer the effects. (Toronto Star)

Putin Emphasizes Support for Abbas. President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday came out in support of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, as the Foreign Ministry announced that it was downgrading its ties with Hamas. (Moscow Times)

Iraqi Oil Ministry Bans Cooperation With Unions. The unions and Iraq’s government, especially the prime minister and oil minister, have been at odds for months now over working conditions and the draft oil law. The unions went on strike in early June and are threatening to stop production and exports again if demands are not met. The unions claim the oil law, if approved by Parliament, will give foreign oil companies too much access to the oil. The unions enjoy enormous support, especially in the south of Iraq. (IraqSlogger)

U.S. checking possibility of pumping oil from northern Iraq to Haifa, via Jordan. The United States has asked Israel to check the possibility of pumping oil from Iraq to the oil refineries in Haifa. The request came in a telegram last week from a senior Pentagon official to a top Foreign Ministry official in Jerusalem. (Haaretz)

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