Home > News > News in Brief: 16 August 2008

News in Brief: 16 August 2008

A brief list of news for the day:

Georgia and Russia declare ceasefire. The Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, has signed a ceasefire pact to end hostilities in Georgia. The deal calls for Russian troops to pull back from Georgia but also grants them limited patrols inside the country. (Guardian)

Missile shield accord draws Russian fire. Moscow lashed out at Washington and Warsaw on Friday, saying the plan to site a US anti-missile defence shield in Poland would undermine the global balance of power and put Poland at risk of nuclear attack. Washington and Warsaw reached a preliminary agreement on Thursday to build part of the missile defence shield in Poland, station US Patriot missiles there and bolster the two countries’ military co-operation. (FT)

Ukrainians wonder what Georgia crisis means for them. Russia’s invasion of Georgia has unsettled this former Soviet republic, which like Georgia has applied for membership in NATO but now fears that the U.S. could do little to prevent similar Russian action here. (McClatchy)

BTP Pipe Offline for One to 2 Weeks. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which is still ablaze after an explosion, may not reopen for another one to two weeks, a senior source at Turkey’s state-owned pipeline company Botas said Thursday. Stocks at the Ceyhan depot, which had been used to keep the 1-million-barrel-per-day pipeline flowing, have run dry, the source said, following the explosion Tuesday night. Opened in 2006, the pipeline is the first to carry large volumes of Caspian crude without going through Russia. (Moscow Times)

Coalition party holds firm against immunity for Pakistani president as impeachment looms. Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s chances of avoiding impeachment appeared to dim Saturday as a key ruling party held firm against any deal that would protect him from criminal charges and he gave no public indication of resigning. The country’s foreign minister said Musharraf needs to make up his mind in two days. (AP)

Somalia: 56 Killed, 80 Wounded in Violence. More than 50 people were killed in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu since Thursday in some of the worst violence in weeks, Radio Garowe reported. (allAfrica)

Zimbabwe: No Joy As Talks Drag On. For ordinary Zimbabweans, the talks between the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) factions and Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU PF are the only hope for a fresh beginning after two disputed polls in March and June this year. Weeks after the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding establishing conditions for talks, a power-sharing deal remains elusive. (allAfrica)

Bomb strikes Shiite pilgrims en route to holy city in Iraq for 3rd consecutive day. A car bomb exploded Saturday as Shiite pilgrims were boarding minibuses in Baghdad, killing at least six people, officials said. It was the third consecutive day that extremists targeted travelers en route to the holy city of Karbala. (AP)

Iraq: U.S. Officials Admit Worry over a ‘Difficult’ al-Maliki. U.S. officials privately admit being concerned that Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki has become “overconfident” about his government’s ability to manage without U.S. combat troops, according to an Iraq analyst who just returned from a trip to Iraq arranged by U.S. commander General David Petraeus. (IPS)

Condemnations of Tripoli blast continue to pour in from local, world leaders. Lebanese and international officials on Thursday continued to condemn Wednesday’s bomb attack on a bus in the Northern city of Tripoli which killed at least 14 people, including nine soldiers, and wounded more than 40. (Daily Star)

Israel vs. Al Jazeera. The Israeli government stopped helping Al Jazeera after the station aired a birthday celebration for Samir Kuntar, the Lebanese killer freed last month in a prisoner exchange with Hezbollah. The dispute is the latest between Al Jazeera and Israel. In March, Israel threatened to stop working with Al Jazeera because of its coverage of a particularly bloody IDF (Israel Defense Force) military raid in Gaza. (Checkpoint Jerusalem)

Syria is engaging in a major charm offensive. And significantly, they’ve been courting people like [former American Israel Public Affairs Committee president] Thomas Dine to help set up meetings in Washington. This is new! For Syria to reach out to the Israelis not just through the negotiations in Ankara but through the Jewish community in the United States is a potential game-changer in many ways. (Syria Comment)

Lebanon, Syria agree to demarcate borders. Lebanon and Syria agreed on Thursday to take formal steps to demarcate their borders as part of a string of decisions to normalize their relations for the first time after decades of tension. (Daily Star)

Ahmadinejad hopeful energy deals will be signed soon. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad played down failure during his two-day visit to İstanbul to sign energy agreements with Turkey that were opposed by the United States, saying these deals will be signed soon. (Today’s Zaman)

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