Home > News > News in Brief: 12 October 2007

News in Brief: 12 October 2007

A brief list of news for the day:

US, Russia in key missile talks. The US and Russia are set for high-level talks in Moscow that will focus on Washington’s plans to place a missile defence system in Europe. Moscow sees US plans to base a radar in the Czech Republic and interceptors in Poland as a threat to its own security. The US says it has to counteract “rogue states” like Iran and North Korea. The Kremlin has asked the US why it cannot instead use Russian-operated early warning radar in Azerbaijan. Friday’s talks are also expected to cover Russia’s threat to leave the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe and aim nuclear missiles at Europe if the US forges ahead. (BBC)

CIA chief orders internal inquiry. The director of the Central Intelligence Agency, General Michael Hayden, has ordered a highly unusual internal inquiry into the work of the agency’s inspector general, whose aggressive investigations of the CIA’s detention and interrogation programs and other matters have created resentment among agency operatives. (International Herald Tribune)

Rice seeks Israeli ‘clarification’ on land grab. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday she had requested “clarification” from Israel over its decision to confiscate Arab land near Jerusalem. Israel on Tuesday ordered the confiscation of Arab land outside east Jerusalem, officials said, reviving fears that the occupied West Bank could be split in two and challenging peace overtures. (IC Publications/AFP)

Gaza goes hungry as Israeli sanctions bite. As the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and the Israeli government in Jerusalem prepare for talks in the United States next month, Gaza is excluded from the new rapprochement. According to a World Bank report issued last month: “Gaza’s economic backbone and private sector vitality risks collapse if the current situation … continues.” The report states that 90% of Gaza’s industrial production has ceased and agricultural output has fallen by 50% in 2007. While the Gazan economy is in free fall, Hamas, the main target of the Israeli sanctions, and its political rival, Fatah, appear to be awash with cash. (Guardian)

Hamas Hints at Relinquishing Gaza to Fatah. With international pressure and isolation mounting by the day, Hamas has yielded ground for the first time since capturing the Gaza Strip four months ago by announcing yesterday that its rule is temporary. Hamas softened its stand toward its Fatah rivals and again called for dialogue to settle all contentious issues. (Arab News)

Tensions Rise in Turkey on Two Fronts. The Turkish government warned Thursday that a congressional committee vote labeling the mass killings of Armenians during the Ottoman Empire as genocide would “endanger relations” with the United States, and it summoned its ambassador from Washington for emergency consultations. The House Foreign Affairs Committee vote on the Armenian deaths — one of the most sensitive issues in Turkish politics and society — came as Turkish officials said they were preparing to seek parliamentary authority to launch a military assault across the border in Kurdish northern Iraq in retribution for Kurdish rebel attacks that have killed 29 Turkish soldiers, police and civilians in the past two weeks. (Washington Post)

A reign of terror which history has chosen to neglect. Turkey’s reign of terror against the Armenian people was an attempt to destroy the Armenian race. While the Turks spoke publicly of the need to “resettle” their Armenian population – as the Germans were to speak later of the Jews of Europe – the true intentions of Enver Pasha’s Committee of Union and Progress in Constantinople were quite clear. (The Independent)

U.S. Asked to Curb Military Excesses in Iraq. The United Nations has asked the United States to help prevent military excesses by multinational troops and private security firms accused of using indiscriminate force against civilians in Iraq. “The U.S. government should take steps to ensure that offences committed in Iraq by all categories of U.S. contractor employees are subject to prosecution under the law,” says a new 37-page report released Thursday by the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI). (IPS)

Afghans Close 2 Security Firms; More Likely. Afghan authorities this week shut down two private security companies and said more than 10 others — some suspected of murder and robbery — would soon be closed, Afghan and Western officials said Thursday. During raids, authorities found 82 illegal weapons being held by Watan and Caps, two Afghan security companies, according to police Gen. Ali Shah Paktiawal. Those firms were shut down Tuesday. A Western security official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said some major Western companies were on the list of at least 10 others tapped for closure. (Washington Post)

Legal or not, abortion rates similar. A comprehensive global study of abortion has concluded that abortion rates are similar in countries where it is legal and those where it is not, suggesting that outlawing the procedure does little to deter women seeking it. Moreover, the researchers found that abortion was safe in countries where it was legal, but dangerous in countries where it was outlawed and performed clandestinely. Globally, abortion accounts for 13 percent of women’s deaths during pregnancy and childbirth, and there are 31 abortions for every 100 live births, the study said. (International Herald Tribune)

Three Gorges May Displace One More Million. As a trickle of environmental problems emerging from the Three Gorges dam area steadily grows into a deluge, Chinese authorities have begun weighing plans to relocate one million people more to avert an ecological catastrophe. The dam, which has created a 640 km-long reservoir on the Yangtze River, suffers from landslides, silting and erosion that could accumulate into an environmental disaster if not quickly fixed, according to experts. (IPS)

Nobel economist endorses Chávez regional bank plan. The Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has endorsed an ambitious plan by Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chávez, to create a pan-regional bank for Latin America. Professor Stiglitz, a Washington insider and former World Bank chief economist, said the Bank of the South would benefit the region and give a welcome shakeup to western lending institutions. (Guardian)

US kills 15 women and children in Iraq. A US air strike north of Baghdad has killed at least 15 women and children, one of the largest losses of civilian life in a single American operation since the war began, the military said Friday. (Khaleej Times/AFP)

Putin cold on Iran atomic sanctions. Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, has defied pressure to toughen his stance over Iran’s nuclear programme, days before he holds talks in Tehran and Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, visits Moscow. (Al Jazeera)

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