Home > News > News in Brief: 7 January 2009

News in Brief: 7 January 2009

A brief list of news clippings for the day:

School hit piles pressure on Israel. Israel is facing mounting pressure to agree a ceasefire, as fighting continues in the wake of an attack on a UN school in Gaza.On Tuesday, the Israelis launched an attack on a school run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (Unrwa) in the northern town of Jabaliya. The attack left 43 Palestinians dead and around 100 wounded. (Al Jazeera)

Israel considers broadening Gaza attack. Israel’s military planners have prepared for two more stages of conflict in Gaza that would escalate an already heavy air and ground offensive into a full military occupation of the strip and the toppling of the Hamas movement. (Guardian)

Sarkozy: Israel and Palestinians agree to terms of Gaza truce. French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Wednesday that Israel and the Palestinian Authority have agreed to an Egyptian-French proposal for a cease-fire between Israel and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. The statement made no mention of Hamas’ stance on the proposal. (Haaretz)

Fighting resumes near city of Gaza after three-hour truce ends. Clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian gunmen resumed in the city of Gaza on Wednesday after the expiration of a three-hour truce to allow in humanitarian aid, residents told Reuters. (Hurriyet)

Israel intensifies violations of Lebanon’s airspace. Israel’s air force stepped up reconnaissance flights over Beirut on Monday after a senior Israeli intelligence chief warned politicians that Hizbullah could launch an attack across the Lebanese border. Several Israeli warplanes violated Lebanese airspace on Monday, flying over Hizbullah’s political strongholds in Beirut’s southern suburbs. (The Daily Star)

Surging towards stalemate in Afghanistan. The United States will soon double the number of its troops in Afghanistan from about 30,000 to 60,000, and several other North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries will also up their troop levels. The move comes with little surprise and considerable bipartisan support in the US, but with little public discussion of the aims and likely outcomes. (Asia Times)

Iran’s Supreme Leader Opts to Back Ahmadinejad’s Re-Election. For the first time since the early days of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the country’s supreme spiritual leader has plunged into partisan politics. Ahmadinejad’s popularity, even among various conservative factions, has plunged along with the global price of oil and natural gas. Many Iranians blame the administration for the country’s economic mess, in particular spiraling inflation and festering unemployment. (EurasiaNet)

Reality wins over energy grand design. Renewal of the dispute between Russia and Ukraine over gas payments has encouraged resurrection of claims of a grand energy design hatched and nurtured in the Kremlin. The complexity and variety of competing interests in Central Asian fuel supply mock such notions. (Asia Times)

Turkey: Taking a Go-Slow Approach in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Turkey is pursuing a go-slow diplomatic line in the Caucasus and Central Asia, stressing a “complementary” policy, in which Ankara strives to retain its strong strategic relationship with the United States and European Union while at the same time cultivating wider ties with Russia. (EurasiaNet)

Government Reshuffle in Greece in Wake of Riots. Shaken by scandals, public protests and a surge in extremism, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis of Greece on Wednesday replaced his finance minister, one of his closest aides, and eight other cabinet ministers in a sweeping cabinet shake-up. (New York Times)

Chinese Navy Begins Somali Piracy Patrols: Report. A Chinese naval convoy arrived Jan. 6 in the Gulf of Aden on a landmark mission to protect the country’s shipping from Somali pirates and escorted its first four vessels, state media reported. (Defense News/AFP)

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