Home > News > News in Brief: 6 August 2007

News in Brief: 6 August 2007

A brief list of news for the day:

Lebanese by-election prelude to presidency. Lebanon’s Christians emerged on Monday from a by-election split down the middle after opposition leader Michel Aoun’s candidate narrowly beat former President Amin Gemayel, a pillar of the Western-backed government. It does not close the house of Gemayel or deliver Aoun to the presidency,” political analyst Samir Constantine said. Aoun is the only declared candidate for president, always a Maronite Christian under the sectarian power-sharing system. (Washington Post)

India-US nuclear deal does not hinder strategic military programme. Former diplomats say it leaves enough room for conducting atomic test. “We are free to test … the agreement is for import of technology. There is no mention of treaties like the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty [CTBT] and Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty which prohibit atomic tests,” the former Foreign Secretary, Muchkund Dubey, told PTI. (The Hindu)

Pakistan: Benazir willing to join Musharraf in govt conditionally. PPP Chairwoman Benazir Bhutto indicated on Saturday her willingness to be in the same government as President Gen Pervez Musharraf, as long as their respective powers were balanced. (Daily Times)

Requiem for Land in the Hands of the Few. Bolivian President Evo Morales announced new regulations and financing for a land reform law aimed at expropriating idle or ill-gotten land in the hands of large estate owners in eastern and northeastern Bolivia and redistributing it to indigenous farmers. (IPS)

Germany’s Steinmeier Backs Further Military Aid to Afghanistan. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has backed increased German assistance for training and equipping the Afghan security forces, in remarks published Monday. Steinmeier said Germany could begin considering withdrawing its 3,000 ground troops engaged in a reconstruction mission in the north of Afghanistan only once Afghan forces could guarantee security. Apart from the 3,000 troops in the north, six reconnaissance jets are assisting the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in detecting Taliban positions, and a number of German troops are deployed to the US-led counter-terrorism Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). (Deutsche Welle)

Turkish commando units cross Iraqi border. The 350-strong commando unit was deployed in the Sere Seve region of northern Iraq and is now in control of several strategic points, a report in PUKmedia said. According to PUKmedia, the commando unit’s move across the border came following intense shelling of the border area by Turkish forces. It said the shelling began on Saturday night, hours after the new Turkish Parliament was sworn in during a marathon session. (Today’s Zaman)

Olmert to Abbas: I hope to pave way for talks on Palestinian statehood soon. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Jericho on Monday, telling him he hoped talks on establishing a Palestinian state could begin soon. During their meeting Monday at the InterContinental Hotel in Jericho, Olmert and Abbas were set to push ahead in achieving maximum progress in negotiations aimed at preparing for the regional summit planned to take place in Washington this November. (Haaretz)

US, Iran meet to discuss Iraq security. The United States and Iran held the first meeting on Monday of a new sub-committee set up to find ways for the two arch foes to cooperate in ending Iraq’s sectarian violence. (Khaleej Times)

Indian court rejects Novartis patent challenge. An Indian court rejected on Monday a challenge by Novartis to Indian law that denies patents for minor improvements to known drugs, and the Swiss drug giant said it was unlikely to appeal. (Globe & Mail)

Soldiers exchange shots along Korean border. North and South Korean soldiers briefly exchanged gunfire along their border Monday, the office of South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said. (Globe & Mail)

Russia: Arson Possible in Newspaper Fire. A fire tore through the office of a Vologda newspaper early Friday morning in what its editor called a possible arson attack aimed at heading off critical reporting ahead of election season. (Moscow Times)

190,000 weapons ‘missing in Iraq’. The US military cannot account for 190,000 AK-47 assault rifles and pistols given to the Iraqi security forces, an official US report says. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) says the Pentagon cannot track about 30% of the weapons distributed in Iraq over the past three years.About $19.2bn has been spent by the US since 2003 on Iraqi security forces. GAO, the investigative arm of the US Congress, said at least $2.8bn of this money was used to buy and deliver weapons and other equipment. (BBC)

Bush signs controversial surveillance bill. US intelligence agencies will no longer need a warrant to eavesdrop on US citizens’ international phone calls and emails after George Bush signed a temporary surveillance bill yesterday. (Guardian)

Emirates making peace with migrant workers. They still wake before dawn in desert dormitories that pack a dozen men or more to a room. They still pour concrete and tie steel rods in temperatures that top 43 degrees Celsius. They still spend years away from their families in India and Pakistan to earn about $1 an hour. They are still bonded to employers under terms that critics liken to indentured servitude. But construction workers, a million strong here and famously mistreated, have gotten the country’s attention. After a season of unprecedented labor unrest, the government is seeking peace with the army of sweat-stained migrants who make local citizens a minority in their own country and sustain one of the world’s great building booms. (International Herald Tribune)

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