Home > News > News in Brief: 7 September 2007

News in Brief: 7 September 2007

A brief list of news for the day:

Musharaff tells judges: will quit as President, not as Army chief. General Pervez Musharraf’s term as President will end on November 15 but he will remain Army Chief till his successor is appointed, the Pakistan Government today told the Supreme Court, which rejected a plea by him not to entertain a petition against his re-election plans. (The Indian Express)

Fayyad closes down charities in bid to weaken Hamas. The move, which follows Hamas’s violent takeover of Gaza in June and the president’s firing of the entire government shortly after, is widely seen as aimed at lessening Hamas’s Islamist influence, particularly in the West Bank. The organization gained strength before its election victory last year through its network of charities, many of which operate free or low-cost medical clinics and schools, conduct teacher training and parenting workshops, and give food and money to the poor. Human-rights organizations have been contacting charities listed for closing and urging them to protest, arguing the law requires they receive three months written notice. None of the charities they contacted have yet received that notice. (Globe and Mail)

Barak: We are heading for a major ground operation to stamp out Palestinian missile attacks and curb the Hamas military buildup. This statement came Wednesday from Israel’s defense minister at a meeting of security chiefs after a special defense cabinet session on ways to halt the Qassam missile barrage from Gaza. DEBKAfile’s military sources say the first part of the operation has begun. (DEBKAfile)

Israeli jets ‘drop ammunition’ in sortie over Syria. Syria was considering its response last night after an Israeli warplane violated Syrian air space and was accused of dropping ammunition inside the country. The incident, near the Turkish border on Wednesday, came just after midnight at a time when tensions are running high between the two neighbours. It prompted Syrian air defence units to open fire on the Israeli jets, Syrian officials said. The Israeli [air force] refused to comment on the incident but no casualties or damage were reported. “We cannot discuss military operations,” a spokesman said. However, it is not the first such incident and there was speculation yesterday that the Israeli planes may have jettisoned their fuel tanks over the deserted area to make them more manoeuvrable, possibly after being targeted by Syrian forces. The Israelis may also have been probing Syria’s defences, or could simply have experienced a technical problem during a flight. (The Independent)

Howard, Putin sign uranium export pact. Prime Minister John Howard and President Vladimir Putin have signed a deal for Australia to sell uranium to Russia. Russia is a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and is one of the five nuclear powers recognised by that agreement. Mr Downer said the treaty provides safeguards that prevent Russia from using uranium for military use or selling it on to third parties. (The Australian)

Islamist party makes claim for power in Morocco. Moroccans vote in a general election Friday that is expected to see the main Islamist party make gains that could throw up a new challenge for the reforming King Mohammed VI. The Justice and Development Party (PJD), which has vowed to take on corruption, could become the largest single party after a vote that the North African head of state and those competing fear will be marked by a low turnout. (Middle East Times/AFP)

Clashes over Bolivia constitution. Clashes have broken out for a second day between police and students in Bolivia amid ongoing protests over the rewriting of the country’s constitution. The clashes broke out in the central city of Sucre where delegates from across Bolivia have spent more than a year trying to formulate a new charter. The violence left more than 60 people injured after students attempted to break into the building where the delegates are meeting. (Al Jazeera)

Cholera-hit Indians ‘face hunger’. Villagers are facing starvation in a tribal area of eastern India where an outbreak of cholera has killed scores of people in recent weeks. The BBC visited affected districts in Orissa state and found people with no food, surviving on leaves. They said they had seen no rice since last year. (BBC)

Kyrgyztan faces rampant inflation for food products. In the past few weeks Kyrgyzstan has endured steadily rising food prices. According to estimates by the Kyrgyz parliament, roughly 500,000 people, the poorest stratum of the population, are directly affected by increased prices for bread and other basic products. The Kyrgyz government blames neighboring Kazakhstan and Russia for raising prices for wheat, but some critics think that the food crisis is caused by corruption, the government’s inability to foresee inflation, and the lack of a coherent economic strategy in Kyrgyzstan. (Eurasia Daily Monitor)

Somalia: Opposition Conference Opens in Asmara. Somali Islamists and opposition leaders are meeting in the Eritrean capital Asmara to create a common front against the transitional government in somalia. About 300 delegates are attending the talks with observers from the European Union, Arab league and the UN. Islamist leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, said to be leading the Islamic courts union is attending the conference as reuters told in brief news on the on the internet. Mogadishu has seen a surge in violence since the Ethiopian-backed government troops routed Islamists last December. (allAfrica)

Genocide Plans May Be Declassified. Guatemala’s Constitutional Court must decide whether or not to declassify documents from 1982 and 1983 military operations commanded by then dictator José Efraín Ríos Montt that would shed light on the genocide committed in this Central American country. (IPS)

U.S. holding 22,000 Iraqi prisoners. U.S. invasion troops detain more than 22,000 Iraqis in their prisoner camps across the country, senior government officials say. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said many of those languishing in U.S. jails are innocent and have been incarcerated for long periods without trial or charges. Most of the prisoners come from central Iraq where an anti-U.S. rebellion is raging. The region is predominantly Sunni. Vice-President Tareq al-Hashemi is leading the campaign to free the prisoners and see to it that U.S. prisoner camps meet international standards and that the jailers respect prisoner rights. (Azzaman)

Bin Laden to taunt US again in video marking 9/11. The video from the world’s most wanted man would be the first such appearance by the Saudi extremist since October 2004, when he threatened new attacks against the United States just days before a US election. (AFP)

Five-Nation Naval Drill Presages ‘Asian Nato’? India’s hosting of large-scale military exercises involving four countries led by the United States has triggered spirited protests by left-wing parties that prop up the country’s ruling coalition. The naval exercises, underway since Tuesday, are the largest and the most complex that India has ever participated in and feature as many as 25 ships from India, the U.S., Australia, Japan and Singapore. The war games involve three aircraft carriers, two of them American and one Indian, and a nuclear-powered submarine, besides a host of destroyers and frigates. Warplanes, based on the carriers and on land, will also play a major role in the exercises, which include “close air combat”. (IPS)

Indonesia, Russia Ink $1B Deal for Tanks, Copters, Subs. Indonesia on Sept. 6 signed a $1 billion deal to purchase Russian tanks, helicopters and submarines during a visit by President Vladimir Putin, marking a further sign of Moscow’s growing re-engagement in the region. (Defense News)

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