Home > News > News in Brief: 29 October 2007

News in Brief: 29 October 2007

A brief list of news for the day:

Egypt’s President Announces Plans to Build Several Nuclear Energy Plants. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Monday announced plans to build several nuclear power plants, joining several Arab countries in the Middle East that recently have broadcast their own atomic energy ambitions. Mubarak said in a speech broadcast live on national television that the decision to build these nuclear power stations was to diversify Egypt’s energy resources and preserve the country’s oil and gas reserves for coming generations. Iran’s progress in building its nuclear program had sparked a rush among other Middle East countries to look at programs of their own to diversify and expand their energy resources. (AP)

Iran: Row Over Nuclear Negotiator’s Firing Worsens. Criticism has been steadily building up against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s apparent move to harden Iran’s position on its nuclear standoff with the West by removing moderate chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani, and replacing him with his handpicked loyalist Saeed Jalili. On Sunday, in a move considered bold in Iranian politics, a group of 23 members of parliament said, in a letter addressed to Ahmadinejad, that ‘’in the circumstances when the nation is facing most sensitive times, a change of the top nuclear negotiator is not in line with the national interests and the good of the system.’’ On Oct. 24, after Ahmadinejad’s role in Larijani’s resignation became apparent, 167 MPs or two-thirds of parliament signed a statement, read out on the floor of the house, expressing appreciation for Larijani’s efforts in handling the nuclear issue, the Aftab news agency reported. There was resentment over the fact that the move completely bypassed parliament. (IPS)

Oil hits record-high above 93 dollars. Oil prices jumped to fresh historic highs on Monday, breaching 93 dollars for the first time on mounting concerns about tight energy supplies worldwide, analysts said. Investors pushed up crude futures to new peaks as more bad news in the shape of Mexican production cutbacks came on top of already serious tensions in the Middle East. (AFP)

Inflation may prompt food price controls: UN. Some countries may have to implement retail price controls on food in the near future because of rising prices for consumers, the UN’s food chief said in an interview published on Monday. The UN special rapporteur on the Right to Food sought to drum up support Friday for his proposal for a five-year UN moratorium on converting arable land for food to the production of biofuels. The International Monetary Fund last week warned that an increasing global reliance on grain as a source of fuel could drive up food prices in poor countries with “serious implications.” (Khaleej Times/AFP)

US hands over Karbala to Iraqis. US forces have handed control of the mainly Shia province of Karbala in central Iraq to local authorities in a tightly-guarded ceremony. The handover took place as at least 27 people died in a suicide bomb attack on a police headquarters in Baquba, north of Baghdad, according to police. (BBC)

Turkey flexes military might amid PKK clashes. Helicopter gunships bombed Kurdish rebel positions in eastern Turkey on Monday while the government flexed its military muscle with massive national day parades and flypasts in major cities. Turkey has massed up to 100,000 troops, backed by tanks, artillery, warplanes and combat helicopters, along the Iraqi border in readiness for a possible large-scale incursion to crush some 3,000 guerrillas who use the region as a base. (Reuters)

Argentina elects first woman president. Argentina is preparing for its first elected woman president after Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner declared victory in yesterday’s election. With results announced at more than 90% of polling stations, the first lady – wife of President Nestor Kirchner – had about 45% of the vote, compared with 23% for her chief rival, Elisa Carrio, and 17% for the former economy minister Roberto Lavagna. (Guardian)

Somali Prime Minister Resigns in Power Struggle With President; Government in Disarray. A long-brewing power struggle between the Somali prime minister and its president ended Monday with the premier’s resignation, throwing the government of the war-battered Horn of Africa nation into disarray. (AP)

EU warns Israel not to impose ‘collective punishment’ in Gaza. The European Union cautioned Israel on Monday against imposing “collective punishment” against the 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by cutting of delivery of fuel supplies to the territory. The protest came one day after Israel began reducing fuel supplies as part of a new sanctions policy in what Israel says is a response to Palestinian rocket fire on Israeli towns from the Hamas-controlled coastal enclave. (Haaretz)

Desmond Tutu Likens Israeli Actions to Apartheid. South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu compared conditions in Palestine to those of South Africa under apartheid, and called on Israelis to try and change them, while speaking in Boston Saturday at historic Old South Church. Tutu spoke with political activist and lecturer Noam Chomsky and others to a largely religious audience about “The Apartheid Paradigm in Palestine-Israel,” a conference sponsored by Friends of Sabeel North America, a Christian Palestinian group. (IPS)

Darfur peace negotiations postponed. Crippled by the absence of key rebel leaders, a highly anticipated Darfur peace conference has been effectively postponed to give rebel delegates time to prepare before direct negotiations with the Sudanese government. The peace conference, which opened Saturday, had widely been expected to see direct negotiations between rebels and government forces to resolve over four years of fighting that has claimed more than 200,000 lives in the western Sudanese region. But none of Darfur’s rebel main leadership was in the Libyan coastal town of Sirte for the start of the talks, dashing hopes that an agreement could rapidly be reached. (Khaleej Times/AP)

Gambia: The Youth And the Future. The Gambian youth constitutes 60 per cent of the population. 44 per cent of the population are considered to be under 15 years old. What is the future of the youth under the APRC regime is a matter of concern. (allAfrica)

Chad accuses French charity of child trafficking. Seven Spanish crew members of a plane hired to spirit 103 children out of Chad are being held by police, along with nine French citizens detained last week, it was confirmed yesterday, as international condemnation grew over a French charity’s bizarre attempt at humanitarianism. The crew were seized along with six members of the charity Zoe’s Ark and three French journalists. The charity claimed its operation “Children Rescue” sought to save the lives of Darfur orphans, aged between one and 10, by housing them with families in France who had each paid more than €2,000. (Guardian)

British minister detained at US airport. Britain’s first Muslim Minister has decribed his disappointment after he was detained at a US airport, where his hand luggage was analysed for traces of explosive materials. Shahid Malik, MP for Dewsbury and International Development Minister, was returning to Heathrow after a series of meetings and talks on tackling terrorism, when he was stopped at Dulles Airport in Washington DC yesterday morning. He was searched and detained by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – the same department whose representatives he had been meeting on his visit to the country. (The Independent)

Dubai construction workers strike. Thousands of foreign construction workers in the Gulf state of Dubai have gone on strike over pay and conditions. Workers blocked roads and threw stones at police on Saturday, prompting a government threat to deport rioters. A fall in value of the UAE dirham means workers are unable to send as much money home as they previously could. Dubai’s economy has boomed in recent years, fuelled largely by a construction industry reliant on low-paid workers, many from South Asia. (BBC)

Israel’s PM has prostate cancer. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert revealed today he is fighting prostate cancer, but the disease is not threatening his life. Mr Olmert, who took office in March 2006 and who is 62, said he would continue to work as normal. (The Independent/AP)

Iran Adapts to Economic Pressure. Confronted by mounting U.S. and U.N. pressure, Iran has been steadily shifting its trade from West to East and, with the benefit of record high oil prices, is likely to be able to withstand the new U.S. sanctions, according to U.S., European and Iranian analysts. (Washington Post)

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