Home > News > News in Brief: 24 October 2007

News in Brief: 24 October 2007

A brief list of news for the day:

Iraq asks PKK to shut down Kurdish rebel offices. Iraq ordered the closure yesterday of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) offices in the country as pressure mounted on the Government of Nouri al-Maliki to clamp down on the hardline Kurdish separatists. “The PKK is a terrorist organisation and we have taken a decision to shut down their offices and not allow them to operate on Iraqi soil,” Mr al-Maliki said after talks with Ali Babacan, the Turkish Foreign Minister. (Times of London)

Kurdish guerrillas parade Turkish hostages. Kurdish separatists paraded eight Turkish hostages on Tuesday in a move certain to raise pressure on Ankara to launch cross-border military operations against terrorist camps in Iraq. A website linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) carried video footage of the soldiers captured in an ambush at the weekend in which 12 of their colleagues died. (Telegraph)

Baghdad may be unable to stop attacks by PKK fighters. The Iraqi government said it would shut down operations of the Kurdish guerrillas from Turkey based on its soil in order to avert the invasion of Iraq by the Turkish Army. But it is doubtful if the Baghdad government is capable of expelling the rebels from hide-outs in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan. (The Independent)

Israel to restrict transfer of goods, petrols into Gaza. The security establishment decided Tuesday to gradually restrict the transfer of goods and petrols into the Gaza Strip. The decision, made in a meeting headed by Deputy Defense Minister MK Matan Vilnai (Labor-Meimad), will be brought before Defense Minister Ehud Barak for approval before being implemented. (YNet)

UN reports shortage of anaesthetics in occupied Palestinian territory. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) today voiced concern about reports from the Gaza Strip that a shortage of anaesthetics, caused by Israeli import restrictions, has resulted in the closure of surgery rooms and health-care centres. (UN)

Security Firms in Iraq Face New Rules. Private security contractors will continue to protect U.S. diplomats in Iraq but will operate under closer supervision by U.S. Embassy officials and with clearer accountability for their actions, according to new rules approved yesterday by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. In ordering the new rules, Rice appeared to reject earlier suggestions by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates that security contractors be placed under military control. (Washington Post)

Use of Contractors by State Dept. Has Soared. Over the past four years, the amount of money the State Department pays to private security and law enforcement contractors has soared to nearly $4 billion a year from $1 billion, administration officials said Tuesday, but they said that the department had added few new officials to oversee the contracts. (New York Times)

Brown says he backs further sanctions against Iran. Brown says he backs further sanctions against Iran British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Tuesday that his government would seek further sanctions against Iran through the United Nations and the European Union to discourage Teheran’s nuclear ambitions. (Turkish Weekly)

Iran, EU see further nuclear talks by end-Nov. Iranian negotiators and the EU hope for more talks on Iran’s nuclear program in coming weeks after a “constructive” meeting on Tuesday, despite a warning by Iran’s president that his country would not retreat “one iota”. (Reuters)

Pentagon chief says US might delay activating missile defense in Europe. The United States might delay activating its proposed missile defense sites in Europe until it has “definitive proof” of a missile threat from Iran, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Tuesday. At a news conference after meeting Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, Gates said this was a proposal to the Russians — who strongly oppose US missile defense — that has yet to be worked out in detail. (Today’s Zaman)

DNI to disclose total intelligence budget. The director of national intelligence says the total size of the current classified U.S. intelligence budget will be disclosed for the first time within a week. (UPI)

Nato ministers face tough talks. US pressure for its allies to send more troops to Afghanistan and tension on Turkey’s Iraq border are likely to dominate Nato talks in the Netherlands. (BBC)

India committed to gas pipeline project. India is committed to the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has said. Mr. Chidambaram discussed the issue with Iranian Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Davood Danesh Jafari. (The Hindu)

Nigeria eyes review of oil deals. Nigeria’s top energy adviser, Rilwanu Lukman, has said deals with foreign companies to extract Nigerian oil should be reviewed. Nigeria produces billions of dollars worth of crude oil every year in partnership with Western companies such as Mobil and Shell. (BBC)

Iran to buy from China 24 fighter jets based on Israeli technology. Iran has signed a deal with China to buy two squadrons of J-10 fighter planes that are based on Israeli technology, the Russian news agency Novosti reported Tuesday. (Haaretz)

Iran’s Ahmadinejad, Under New Criticism at Home Over Nuclear Issue, Cuts Armenia Visit Short. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad cut short a planned two-day visit to Armenia on Tuesday, officials there said, as the hard-line leader faced growing unhappiness back home over the resignation of Iran’s top nuclear negotiator. (AP)

Russia: Armenian Student Stabbed 18 Times. The body of an Armenian music student stabbed 18 times has been found on a street in southern Moscow, while two Vietnamese citizens have been hospitalized after an attack, family and officials said Tuesday. News of the attacks may fuel worries about an outbreak of xenophobic violence, coming after the murder of two dark-skinned people and the stabbing of two others. In another attack, two Vietnamese citizens, aged 28 and 30, were admitted to the hospital with knife wounds Tuesday, Interfax reported. On Sunday night, a 37-year-old Uzbek was stabbed to death about two kilometers away from Ulitsa Arkhitektora Vlasova. Police have denied that the attacks were racially motivated, saying Saturday’s victims were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Meanwhile, the Moscow City Court on Tuesday convicted three young men in a racially motivated killing. The three were accused of beating and stabbing an ethnic Kyrgyz man to death in in October 2006. The convicts were sentenced to prison terms ranging from three to 14 years. (Moscow Times)

France to test prospective immigrants. French lawmakers adopted a hotly contested bill on Tuesday that would institute language exams and potential DNA testing for prospective immigrants. The DNA amendment, the most controversial aspect of the legislation, is meant to ensure that claims of family ties are true. In September, Mr. Sarkozy proposed immigration quotas by regions of the world and by occupation. (Globe and Mail)

Global warming in Chile threatens industry, water supplies. With a population of 16 million people, Chile doesn’t produce much of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming. But it’s paying the price. Last May, an entire lake in southern Chile disappeared practically overnight after the Tempano Glacier, which had acted as a dam, melted and destabilized. (McClatchy)

Stockbrokers Keenest on Communist Congress. When the Communist party of China unveiled Monday its new line up of people that will govern this nation of 1.3 billion and manage the world’s fastest growing economy for the next five years, the only genuine excitement was arguably felt among the business observers of this five-yearly ritual. (IPS)

Japan trade surplus at record high. Shipments to China, the rest of Asia and Europe underpinned Japan’s rising surplus – showing exports remain a main engine of the economy’s growth. (FT/Reuters)

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