Home > News > News in Brief: 16 October 2007

News in Brief: 16 October 2007

A brief list of news for the day:

Turkey moves closer to incursion into Iraq. Tensions mounted along the Iraqi-Turkish border on Monday as the Turkish government sought parliamentary approval for military raids into northern Iraq. The vote in Parliament would permit Turkish armed forces to cross the border in pursuit of Kurdish rebels who launch attacks into Turkey from the Kurdish region of Iraq. The rebels, members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known as the PKK, have taken refuge in mountain redoubts on the Iraqi side of the border. They are separatists who want an autonomous Kurdish region in the far eastern part of Turkey. Kurds in northern Iraq have been sympathetic to the separatist aspirations of the rebels and unmoved by pleas from the central government to restrain them. The Turkish Parliament is expected to vote Wednesday and approve the motion, which would authorize the Turkish military to make as many entries across the Iraqi border as necessary for one year. (International Herald Tribune)

Iraq seeks talks on Turkey threat. Baghdad has called for “urgent negotiations” over Turkey’s threat to carry out cross-border raids against Kurdish rebels. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki held an emergency cabinet meeting on Tuesday to discuss the crisis. But Turkey has said its patience has run out over the handling of Kurdish rebels based in northern Iraq. (BBC)

Hashimi arrives at Turkey and calls on KRG to end the PKK Presence. Dr. Tariq al-Hashimi, Iraqi Vice President, today arrived at Ankara on a private visit to discuss with the Turkish government about the tense situation on the border between the two countries in an effort to appease the crisis. (PUK Media)

In Iran, Putin warns against military action. President Vladimir Putin of Russia told a summit of five Caspian Sea nations in Iran Tuesday that any use of military force in the Caspian region was unacceptable and in a declaration the countries agreed that none of them would allow their territories to be used as a base for launching military strikes against any of the others. Putin’s comments and the declaration come at a time when France and the United States have refused to rule out military action to halt Iran’s nuclear program, which they believe is focused on nuclear weapons. Iran says its program is for peaceful purposes. (International Herald Tribune)

Putin offers veiled warning against US pipeline efforts. Leaders of Russia and Iran spoke out strongly on Tuesday against outside interference into Caspian Sea affairs during a summit of the five nations bordering the inland sea that focused on ways to divide the region’s substantial energy resources. Putin did not name any specific country, but his statement underlined Moscow’s strong opposition to US-backed efforts to build pipelines to deliver hydrocarbons to the West bypassing Russia. (Khaleej Times/AP)

Nuclear Deal With India May Be Near Collapse. A controversial nuclear deal between the United States and India appears close to collapse after the Indian prime minister told President Bush yesterday that “certain difficulties” will prevent India from moving forward on the pact for the foreseeable future. The main obstacle does not involve the specific terms of the agreement but rather India’s internal politics, including fears from leftist parties that India is moving too close to the United States, according to officials and experts familiar with the deal. Besieged over the past two months by growing opposition to nuclear energy cooperation with the United States, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh indicated over the weekend that he would rather save his coalition government than the nuclear pact. (Washington Post)

Growth is not our only goal, Hu tells Chinese. President Hu Jintao admitted yesterday that China’s Communist party had failed to live up to the expectations of the people and promised a more sustainable and accountable policy of development. In a speech that will set China’s direction for the next five years, Mr Hu spoke of the need to address the problems of environmental degradation, political corruption and income inequality between the rich cities on the eastern seaboard and villages in the poor western interior. (Guardian)

Israel seeks to boost Jewish population. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert urged Jews worldwide to migrate on Tuesday as his government unveiled new incentives to woo back expats and reverse declining immigration. “Come and join us here because it’s the best place to live,” Olmert told the opening of an immigration conference in the southern city of Ashdod. Under a new campaign for 2008, the immigration and absorption ministry said it was looking to repatriate 15,000 Israelis living abroad and bring in 20,000 new Jewish immigrants next year. More than half a million Israelis live abroad. The ministry said it would offer a series of cash incentives and tax breaks to encourage them back. (IC Publications/AFP)

Olmert hints Israel may be willing to split up Jerusalem. The Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, hinted yesterday that he might be willing to split Jerusalem, by questioning for the first time whether certain Palestinian neighbourhoods needed to be part of what Israel officially sees as its undivided capital. Mr Olmert’s tentative – and reversible – step towards a possible compromise on the future of the city, an essential requirement for any final two-state solution to the conflict, was the first he has personally made in public. It came as the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, went out of her way to emphasise that the forthcoming Middle East conference in Annapolis, Maryland – which she sees as a stepping stone to full negotiations on a final deal – needed to be substantive. (The Independent)

Hamas willing to hold talks with Israel, says Haniyeh’s spokesperson. The official spokesperson of the de facto Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, Ghazi Hamad, said that negotiations with Israel, intended to restore human rights, are permissible according to both religious and national laws. Hamas does not oppose negotiations with Israel per se said Hamad, but Israel must be willing to end the occupation of Palestinian territories taken after the 1967 Six-Day War. (Ma’an)

Rival Somali regions in armed clash. Troops from the breakaway Somali republic of Somaliland have seized a village inside a rival region loyal to the interim Somali president, killing at least 10 people. Somaliland, which broke off from Somalia when civil war erupted in 1991 and has governed itself since, ran troops from the neighbouring Puntland region out of the village of Las Anod and had threatened to move further east into Puntland. Puntland, a semi-autonomous province, is allied to the fractious transitional federal government that is struggling to impose central rule over the Horn of Africa nation. (Al Jazeera)

Lebanon MPs unlikely to pick president at next session. With less than a week to go before Lebanon’s parliament convenes again to elect a president, all indicators are that the session is doomed to fail or will be cancelled for lack of consensus among the country’s feuding political factions. (Middle East Times/AFP)

Hizbullah and Israel trade prisoner and bodies. Israel and Hizbullah exchanged the remains of an Israeli civilian for a captive Lebanese fighter and the bodies of two of his comrades on Monday during a swap conducted under tight security at the Naqoura border crossing point. The swap could also be an indication that things are moving forward for the return of the two Israeli servicemen, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, whose capture by Hizbullah last summer preceded the 34-day war. (Daily Star)

Central African Republic: Insecurity in North Persists – Unicef. A continuing wave of violence in northern Central African Republic (CAR) has led to the displacement of at least 290,000 civilians since 2005 and the “complete decimation” of public infrastructure, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said. “The security situation remains volatile throughout northern CAR, particularly in the northwestern prefectures bordering Chad where government troops, rebel groups and highway bandits continue to clash,” UNICEF said in a report on 15 October. (allAfrica)

Ankara to host Assad amid fierce diplomatic battle. Neighboring Syria’s President Bashar Assad is scheduled to arrive in the Turkish capital tonight for an official visit upon the invitation of President Abdullah Gül. Assad’s visit comes at a time when Ankara has been dealing with a looming crisis with its NATO ally, the United States, due to Turkey’s intention to launch a military incursion into northern Iraq to tackle the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) based there, as well as Turkey’s anger over a resolution approved by a US congressional committee branding the 1915 killings of Anatolian Armenians as genocide. (Today’s Zaman)

Beijing rails against US welcome for Dalai Lama. China expressed anger today at America’s red carpet treatment of the Dalai Lama and warned that plans to honour him would seriously damage relations with Beijing. Despite Chinese protests, President Bush was scheduled to meet Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader later today at the White House, the first sitting US president to do so. Tomorrow, Mr Bush is to attend a ceremony on Capitol Hill where the Dalai Lama, who won the Nobel peace prize in 1989, will receive the congressional gold medal. (Guardian)

Kenya’s Stock Market Dive Blamed on Inflation. Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) has said the increasing cost of living in the country has largely caused the falling share prices at the bourse. Chief Executive, Mr Chris Mwebesa, said increased inflation linked to rising costs of fuel and other basic necessities as a key factor that has led to investors selling off shares to increase their disposable income. (allAfrica)

Pentagon confirms accidental Patriot launch. A US Patriot missile was accidentally launched in Qatar and landed in an unpopulated farm area, causing no injuries, the Pentagon confirmed Tuesday. (IC Publications/AFP)

Friction over weak dollar expected at G-7 meeting. When the finance ministers of six leading developed nations come to Washington later this week, they’ll bend Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s ear about the weak dollar and gripe that it’s hurting their exports. They won’t find much sympathy. Paulson will be in no mood to talk up the dollar, which has nose-dived against many leading currencies, because the weak greenback has sent U.S. exports soaring by almost 13 percent year over year through August. And that’s offsetting some of the economic pain from the crumbling U.S. housing sector. (McClatchy)

WTO rules against US cotton subsidies. A World Trade Organisation panel, ruling in favour of Brazil in a landmark international challenge, has found that the United States has not done enough to reform its cotton subsidies, a US official said on Monday. News of the final compliance panel report, details of which have not yet been made public, was another coup for Brazil, whose 2002 challenge against US cotton supports at the WTO court has been a watershed, emboldening nations displeased by generous US farm supports and providing ammunition for those who would like to see affluent nations curtail the subsidies they say only impoverish farmers abroad. (FT)

Oil tops $85 on winter concerns, Iraq incursion. Oil prices kept rising Monday after closing at a new record in the previous session on worries that supplies are insufficient for coming winter demand and concerns over the conflict between Turkey and Kurds in northern Iraq. Last week, the US Energy Department reported that US oil supplies declined in the week ended Oct. 5, while the International Energy Agency said that oil inventories held by the world’s largest industrialized countries have fallen below a five-year average. (Today’s Zaman)

3 From Iraqi Newspaper Killed in Ambush Near Kirkuk. Three Iraqi newspaper employees were killed near Kirkuk on Monday when their convoy was ambushed by gunmen, the second deadly attack on Iraqi journalists in as many days. (Washington Post)

Montenegro gets boost for EU bid. Montenegro and the European Union have signed a key agreement that is the first step towards EU membership for the former Yugoslav state. (BBC)

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