Home > News > News in Brief: 21 October 2007

News in Brief: 21 October 2007

A brief list of news for the day:

Kurds From Iraq Kill 17 Soldiers in Turkey. An audacious cross-border ambush by Kurdish rebels based in northern Iraq killed at least 17 Turkish soldiers Sunday, ratcheting up pressure on the Turkish government to launch a military offensive into Iraq. The Turkish military said Monday that eight of its soldiers were also missing after the raid, as scattered protests broke out around the country among groups demanding retaliation. (Washington Post)

Iran’s president moves to tighten grip on nuclear policy. Doubts surrounded the future of Iran’s foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, yesterday after the departure of the country’s chief nuclear negotiator appeared to signal a significant power shift to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. A day after Ali Larijani resigned as secretary of the supreme national security council, speculation grew that the foreign minister, a career diplomat, may be the next to go as the president tightens his grip on nuclear policy. Mr Larijani quit after differences with the president over Iran’s negotiating strategy. (Guardian)

Palestinian factions clash in Gaza. Clashes between rival Palestinian factions have left one person dead and 13 injured in Gaza. The fire-fight in the southern town of Rafah erupted between members of Hamas and its smaller rival Islamic Jihad on Sunday, a day after an outbreak of fighting between the two groups left three people dead, including a woman and a 13 year-old boy. (Al Jazeera)

Old leaders step aside in China, reshuffling in favor of youth. China’s vice president and two other aging Communist Party leaders stepped aside Sunday, clearing the way for younger potential successors to President Hu Jintao to grab for a spot on a supreme nine-seat decision-making body. (McClatchy)

Myanmar generals lift Yangon curfew. Myanmar’s military government has lifted a curfew in Yangon imposed on the city ahead of a crackdown on mass pro-democracy protests last month. Myanmar’s ruling generals imposed the curfew on September 25, as it cracked down on demonstrations that brought tens of thousands of people, led by the country’s Buddhist monks, on to the streets. At least 13 people were killed and about 3,000 detained in the following days. (Al Jazeera)

U.S. says Sadr City raids kill 49 militants; Iraq says civilians died. The fighting was the deadliest in recent months and further stoked furor among Iraqis over the heavy toll the war is taking on civilians. The U.S. military claimed that no civilians were killed or injured during the raid, while Iraqi police said at least 13 were dead, including three children and a woman. Iraqi authorities said 69 people were injured. The U.S. military could not account for the differing tally of casualties. Television news broadcast images of caskets and grieving families in the streets of Sadr City. (McClatchy)

Cheney Raises the Rhetoric Against Iran. In the harshest speech against Iran given by a top George W. Bush administration official to date, Vice President Dick Cheney Sunday warned the Islamic Republic of “serious consequences” if it did not freeze its nuclear programme and accused it of “direct involvement in the killings of Americans”. And he accused “Syria and its agents” of using “bribery and intimidation …to prevent the democratic majority in Lebanon from electing a truly independent president.” (IPS)

Ex-Prosecutor Alleges Pentagon Plays Politics. Politically motivated officials at the Pentagon have pushed for convictions of high-profile detainees ahead of the 2008 elections, the former lead prosecutor for terrorism trials at Guantanamo Bay said last night, adding that the pressure played a part in his decision to resign earlier this month. (Washington Post)

Peru’s Fujimori to Be Tried for Murder. As Peru heads into the most sensational trial in its history, the country is being taken back 16 years to the night when hooded men stormed a barbecue in a Lima tenement courtyard and machine-gunned the crowd, killing 15 people including an 8-year-old boy. (AP)

France, Italy & Spain take on Mission Impossible in Lebanon. The foreign ministers of France, Italy and Spain met Saturday with Lebanon’s feuding political leaders in a bid to break a long-running deadlock that is preventing the election of a president. (Ya Libnan)

Olmert to meet Sarkozy over Iran, Mideast peace drive. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris Monday to discuss Iran’s nuclear drive and Middle East peace efforts. Olmert, who is expected to press for tougher sanctions against Iran, Sunday hailed “the very strong position France has adopted together with Britain and the United States.” Foreign minister Bernard Kouchner angered Tehran last month when he said the world had to prepare for war over Iran’s atomic drive, and has been pushing fellow European states to adopt their own sanctions. (Middle East Times/AFP)

Iran’s Khatami attacks Ahmadinejad on economy. Iran’s ex-president Mohammad Khatami has made a rare criticism of successor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, saying inflation was a growing problem that government statistics were attempting to conceal, the press reported Monday. (Middle East Times)

Italian left demands work reform. Tens of thousands of people from across Italy have marched in Rome to demand labour market and pension reforms. Saturday’s huge march came just a few weeks before the budget is due to be finalised. When amendments for the budget were presented to parliament on Friday, it was the left-wing majority of the prime minister’s own coalition who called for more alterations. However, the organisers of Saturday’s protest were careful to underline that they were not marching against the government. (BBC)

Opposition triumph in Polish election. Poland’s liberal opposition party last night scored a stunning election victory over the populist nationalist prime minister, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, and his twin brother president, Lech, putting an abrupt end to their self-styled “moral revolution” after only two years. (Guardian)

Scale of pharma payments to med schools revealed. Stock options, free meals, lecture fees – the pharmaceutical industry showers them all on department heads at some US medical schools. Drug companies are big investors in medical research and post-qualification training for doctors. Now a survey by Eric Campbell of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and his colleagues has put figures on the industry’s involvement. (New Scientist)

Iran’s Jews offered cash to make aliya. The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, a charity that funnels millions of dollars in evangelical donations to Israel every year, is promising $10,000 to every Iranian Jew who comes to Israel, said the group’s director, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein. The project is another example of the alliance between the Israel and evangelical American Christians, many of whom see the existence of Israel and the return of Jews to the Holy Land as a realization of biblical prophecy that will culminate with Christ’s Second Coming. (Jerusalem Post)

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