Home > News > News in Brief: 30 October 2007

News in Brief: 30 October 2007

A brief list of news for the day:

American embassy denies rumors of US bases in Lebanon. The American embassy denied “rumors, reports and news about the intentions of the United States of America to building military bases in Lebanon,” pointing out “that there had not been any request from the Lebanese government for such action. The embassy called the rumors a “fabricated story” and regrets that it is still in circulation. Lebanon’s al-Safir newspaper last week reported that the US wants to establish three military bases, an airforce base and a naval base that will encircle Hezbollah areas and Palestinian camps while threatening Syria. (Ya Libnan)

Israel: Defense minister – Every day brings us closer to a wide-scale operation in Gaza. Defense Minister Ehud Barak addressed the situation in the Gaza Strip during a tour of the north, saying that “every day brings us closer to a wide-scale operation in Gaza. (YNet)

Israel can’t cut power to Gaza: attorney general. Israel’s attorney general told the government on Monday it could not cut electrical power to the Gaza Strip as part of its sanctions against the Hamas controlled territory, although he did approve other measures. (Reuters)

Hamas vows West Bank takeover. Hamas vowed Monday to overthrow Fatah and take control of the West bank within a year. “Next fall we shall pray in Ramallah,” senior Hamas official Nizar Riyan told a rally in Gaza, where Hamas gained control after ousting Fatah last June, The Jerusalem Post reported. (UPI)

Immunity Jeopardizes Iraq Probe. Potential prosecution of Blackwater guards allegedly involved in the shooting deaths of 17 Iraqi civilians last month may have been compromised because the guards received immunity for statements they made to State Department officials investigating the incident, federal law enforcement officials said yesterday. (Washington Post)

Blast near Pakistan leader’s office kills five. A suicide attacker blew himself up near the office of Pakistan’s military president today, killing five people and wounding several more, officials said. The attack was likely to heighten fears for Pakistan’s stability just as it prepares for crucial parliamentary elections and faces a growing threat from Islamic militants. (The Independent/AP)

Germany, France warn Russia over arms treaty. Germany and France urged Russia on Monday to reverse its plans to suspend compliance with a 1990 treaty limiting conventional forces in Europe, saying the move risked sparking new arms races. (Today’s Zaman/Reuters)

UN: US a ‘negative role model’ for global torture. The willingness of the US to resort to harsh interrogation techniques in its so-called war on terror undermines human rights and the international ban on torture, a UN spokesman says. UN special rapporteur on torture Manfred Nowak said yesterday that the standing and importance of the United States meant it was a model to other countries. He said those countries queried why they were scrutinised when the US resorted to measures witnessed at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib prison. (The Age)

Nicolas Sarkozy plans constitutional reforms. France took a step towards reforming Charles de Gaulle’s vision of government yesterday with proposals for a new constitution that would dramatically reduce the power of the president. The committee’s key draft proposal is to alter the wording of the constitution to clarify that the president “leads” the policy of the nation, rather than “determines” it. (Telegraph)

Turk helicopters pound Kurd rebels. Turkish Cobra helicopters pounded Kurdish rebel positions near the Iraqi border on Tuesday and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan reaffirmed Ankara’s readiness to send troops over the frontier despite U.S. opposition. (Reuters)

Iran navy pledges suicide attack. An Iranian naval commander has said his forces are willing to carry out suicide missions when facing enemy forces in the Gulf, Iran’s Fars News Agency reported. His comments came amid increasing tension with the United States, which announced it was imposing stiff sanctions against Iran for its nuclear work and rebel support in Iraq. (Gulf News)

Russia to file Arctic claim to U.N. this year: report. Russia will file a claim to the gigantic mineral wealth of the Arctic seabed with the United Nations by the end of the year, Russia’s natural resources minister was quoted as saying on Tuesday. Russia, the world’s biggest country, says a whole swathe of the Arctic seabed should belong to Moscow because the area is really an extension of the Siberian continental shelf. Moscow’s bid is part of a race with Canada, Denmark, Norway and the United States to control the giant reserves of oil, gas and precious metals that would become more accessible if global warming shrinks the ice cap. (Reuters)

‘Refugees Tortured in Greece’. Serious indication of torture, widespread violation of human rights, systematic abuse and complete neglect of human life is what refugees and undocumented immigrants face on the south-eastern border of the European Community. The report says Greek coast guards push incoming migrants back to Turkish waters, abandon them on uninhabited islands, or damage their vessels to force them to return back to Turkey. (IPS)

Azerbaijan thwarts Islamist terror attack. Azerbaijan detained a group of militant Islamists who were preparing an armed attack near the US embassy in Baku, the former Soviet state’s security ministry said yesterday. The ministry said it had thwarted a plot to conduct a “large-scale, horrifying terror attack” against government structures and diplomatic missions in the Azerbaijan capital. (Guardian)

Japan ends Afghan support mission. Japanese naval tankers have carried out their last refuelling operation in support of US-led operations in Afghanistan, after the country’s two largest parties failed to reach an agreement on continuing the mission. (Al Jazeera)

Dubai workers ‘to be deported’. Four thousand Asian labourers in Dubai who staged strikes last weekend over poor salaries and working conditions are to be deported, a local newspaper says quoting a government official. Humaid bin Deemas, a senior official from the labour ministry, told the Emarat Al-Youm newspaper on Tueday there would be a “deportation of 4,000 labourers who went on strike and committed acts of vandalism”. (Al Jazeera)

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