Home > News > News in Brief: 12 January 2009

News in Brief: 12 January 2009

A brief list of news clippings for the day:

Israeli Troops Push Into Gaza City. On the 17th day of the war against Hamas, Israel said its ground forces called in a series of air strikes after troops pushed into a heavily populated area of Gaza City from the south on Sunday in fierce fighting that continued on Monday. Nearly 900 people have been killed, according to Palestinian Health Ministry officials. Thirteen Israelis have been killed, Israel has said. (New York Times)

Israel: Stop Unlawful Use of White Phosphorus in Gaza. On January 9 and 10, 2009, Human Rights Watch researchers in Israel observed multiple air-bursts of artillery-fired white phosphorus over what appeared to be the Gaza City/Jabaliya area. (Human Rights Watch)

Iraqi Parliament rudderless as Sunni parties fail to agree on new speaker. Iraq’s Sunni Arab politicians were in disarray on Sunday after the deputy parliament speaker announced that they had failed to agree a candidate to propose for the post of parliamentary speaker. (Daily Star)

Georgia: Washington and Tbilisi Sign Strategic Pact Sure to Irk the Kremlin. The United States and Georgia officially became “strategic partners” under a charter signed by the two governments on January 9. While Georgian officials are hailing the document as a guarantee of Washington’s support for Tbilisi, analysts are divided on what kind of impact the agreement will actually have. Many believe the only certainty is that the pact will rile Russia. (EurasiaNet)

Energy Security Guides China’s Approach. China’s pro-active stance in finding a settlement to the latest crisis in the Middle East — a trouble spot which does not normally figure on Beijing’s list of top foreign policy priorities — suggests heightened attention to energy security for the country’s power-hungry economy. (IPS)

Race to the death over Kashmir waters. India and Pakistan are engaged in an expensive winner-takes-all race to build hydroelectric dams across a river in Kashmir known in India as the Kishenganga. The winner secures rights to the river. The consequences, beyond disastrous water loss for millions of farmers, could tip the foreign policy balance between the countries. (Asia Times)

PAKISTAN: Nightmare for Civilians Uprooted by Conflict. “We are in hell! No electricity, no clean drinking water! This is no life, we were better off at home!” fumes Arjumand Khanum, a refugee from Bajaur Agency, on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. (IPS)

Militants kidnap govt official in South Waziristan. Five armed men kidnapped Amir Latif, additional political agent in the South Waziristan tribal region along with his driver in the presence of more than 20 security personnel on Sunday. (DAWN)

Pakistan: Six soldiers, 40 militants killed in Mohmand clash. At least 40 militants and six soldiers were killed in a fierce gun battle with security forces in the Mohmand tribal region on Saturday night, official said. Officials said that heavily armed militants stormed a fort of the Mohmand Rifles and two check posts in the Lakaro sub division near the Afghan border from several directions, sparking clashes which lasted for several hours. (DAWN)

The Afghan reconstruction boondoggle. Consideration of what has gone awry in Afghanistan generally focuses on the George W Bush administration’s failures in military strategy and tactics. But everyone’s looking in the wrong direction – the administration perpetrated a scam by using the system it set up to dispense reconstruction aid to transfer American taxpayer dollars from the national treasury directly into the pockets of private war profiteers. (Asia Times)

Ukraine signs deal to resume Russian gas supplies. Ukraine on Monday removed conditions that threatened a gas deal to resume Russian supplies, opening the way for the rival former Soviet states to resolve a row that has plunged much of Europe into an energy crisis. (Gulf News)

Obama indicates swift, new approach for Iran. US president-elect Barack Obama indicated his administration would move “swiftly” with new tactics in its approach to Iran to head off the impending nuclear crisis and block Tehran’s support of terrorism. (Khaleej Times)

Turkey: Government Launches Kurdish TV Channel. Late December was an especially hectic time for Nilufer Akbal. A leading Kurdish singer in a country that denied Kurds existed until 1991, she had agreed to appear on Turkey’s brand-new state-run Kurdish television channel to host her first weekly music show. (EurasiaNet)

Turkish court arrests prominent journalist in Ergenekon probe. A Turkish court arrested early Monday journalist and writer, Prof. Yalcin Kucuk, detained in the latest wave of Turkey’s controversial Ergenekon probe. The Istanbul court also ordered the arrest of retired colonel Levent Goktas, while it released Huseyin Buzoglu, the lawyer of retired Gen. Tuncer Kilinc and writer Ergun Poyraz who were detained earlier in the operation. (Hurriyet)

Turkish navy completes exercise with Russian fleet in Mediterranean. For the first time, a part of Russia’s northern fleet conducted training exercises with their Turkish colleagues in the Mediterranean Sea, Russia Today said. (Hurriyet)

East Asian Regionalism and the End of the Asia-Pacific: After American Hegemony. [The] diminution of the US’s overall ideological and economic importance compounded by its failed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is likely to undermine its influence in East Asia and its standing as both a regional and a global power. One consequence of this process may be to strengthen the attractiveness of exclusively East Asian regional organisations—especially if China’s economic development continues to cement its place at the centre of an increasingly integrated regional economy. (Japan Focus)

Firm behind huge Iraq embassy doesn’t want to talk about it. The new U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has almost everything architects love to talk about: big money, high profile, controversy, historic significance, fascinating location. (McClatchy)

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