Home > News > News in Brief: 26 January 2009

News in Brief: 26 January 2009

A brief list of news clippings for the day:

For Children of Gaza, Scars to Last a Lifetime. In the Gaza Strip, where half the population is under the age of 16, the young bear some of the war’s deepest scars. At least 280 children were killed, nearly as many as the number who died in Gaza during the entire second intifada, or uprising, according to the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights. More than 1,000 others were wounded. Even the children who escaped physical injury face the psychological consequences of having lived under near-constant bombardment for 22 days and nights. (Washington Post)

Livni: Obama can use Gaza op success to alter Mideast reality. [Israeli] Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said on Monday that United States President Barack Obama could use Israel’s success in its recent offensive against Hamas to change the reality in the Middle East. (Haaretz)

Babacan: Turkish delegation allowed through Rafah crossing. Egyptian officials allowed a Turkish aid delegation to pass into Gaza through the Rafah border crossing, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan announced yesterday. The 30-member group, which included two former deputies and many doctors, were kept waiting since Friday by Egyptian officials at the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt. The crossing is the Palestinians’ only window to the outside world that does not go through Israel. (Today’s Zaman)

Abbas accuses Israel of trying to ‘wipe out our people’ in beleaguered Gaza. As Egypt pressed on with an initiative designed to end Israel’s deadliest-ever offensive in impoverished Gaza, Abbas said the Zionist state was intent on waging a war of extermination. (The Daily Star/AFP)

Israel will back troops accused of war crimes. International calls to investigate Israel over alleged war crimes in the Gaza Strip prompted Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to promise military personnel state protection from foreign prosecution yesterday. (The Independent/Reuters)

Gaza reminiscent of Sabra and Shatila – doctors. “Gaza in 2009 is becoming a new bloody chapter in Palestinian and Middle Eastern history that is, unfortunately, comparable to Sabra and Shatila,” Mads Gilbert told reporters at Oslo’s Gardermoen airport, referring to the three-day massacre at two Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut 27 years ago. (The Daily Star)

Bush’s parting gift to Georgia. Among its final foreign policy acts before leaving office, the Bush administration earlier this month signed a strategic partnership agreement with Georgia that commits the United States to promoting that nation’s membership in NATO despite European and Russian objections. (McClatchy)

A last look at Guantanamo. As this dark chapter in history closes – a story that began with the horrific Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, but ends with condemnation of a U.S. administration that sacrificed the moral high ground – it’s time to look back at a prison that has become an enduring symbol. (Toronto Strar)

U.S. will hit targets inside Pakistan: Biden. Sticking to the campaign pledge of U.S. President Barack Obama, his deputy and Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday said the U.S. would not hesitate to launch attacks inside Pakistan, if it had actionable intelligence against “high-value” Al-Qaeda targets. (The Hindu)

From Hospital, Afghans Rebut U.S. Account. The American military declared the nighttime raid this month a success, saying it killed 32 people, all Taliban insurgents — the fruit of an emphasis on intelligence-driven use of Special Operations forces. But the two young men who lay wincing in a hospital ward here told a different story a few days later, one backed up by the pro-American provincial governor and a central government delegation. (New York Times)

Russia stops US on road to Afghanistan. Moscow has indeed agreed in principle to grant permission to the United States to use a transit route to Afghanistan via Russian territory. But before this happens, Russia wants something in return: to challenge the US’s secret veto power over Afghanistan’s external relations and to prise Kabul out of Washington’s stranglehold. (Asia Times)

Taliban shape an opium economy. As every taxman knows, more valuable production generates stronger revenue, and there are few commodities more valuable for an insurgent taxman than opium. In Afghanistan, this means the Taliban, who now have almost complete control of the opium economy. If the insurgency is rolled back, it will reveal government banditry, criminal collusion, and some rebels will be re-classified as drug lords. (Asia Times)

BULGARIA: Protests Rise Above Parties, and Against Them. Protests have been taking place in Bulgarian capital Sofia almost every day since Jan. 14. Bringing together students and parents, farmers and environmentalists, the actions are directed against a political class which, in the words of the organisers, has “robbed” Bulgarians. (IPS)

Iceland’s Prime Minister Says the Government Has Collapsed. Iceland’s prime minister says the island nation’s coalition government has collapsed amid a deepening financial crisis. (New York Times)

Succession story ‘shakes up’ Pyongyang. Citing “well-informed” and “multiple intelligence” sources, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency was the first to report that North Korea’s Dear Leader Kim Jong-il had designated his third son, Jong-un, as the next ruler of the world’s most mysterious country. But observers aren’t buying it, and many say Seoul may have been behind the less-than-credible leak. (Asia Times)

Clamour for Police Reforms Louder Post Mumbai. Following the Nov. 26-29 terror attacks on the port city of Mumbai, which exposed lack of coordination among various security forces, the clamour to implement long-pending police reforms in India has become louder. (IPS)

India has no better friend, partner than US: Obama. Greeting India on the occasion of the country’s 60th Republic Day, US President Barack Obama said Indians have no better friend and partner than the people of the United States. (Times of India)

‘There are 25 different Ergenekons in Turkey’. The Ergenekon investigation presents clues pointing to the perpetrators of unsolved murders in Turkey and the figures who orchestrated social upheaval. (Today’s Zaman)

Death agony of Thatcher era. The free-market revolution embraced by British prime minister Margaret Thatcher and US president Ronald Reagan is now in its death throes, and bringing both countries to economic ruin.(Asia Times)

Russia: Jobless Figure Hits 6 Million. The head of the Federal Labor and Employment Service said Saturday that the number of Russians without work rose to 6 million in December from 5 million the month before. (Moscow Times)

Malaysian, Thai Officials Trafficking Burmese Migrants? A scandalous trade in Burmese migrant labour involving Malaysian and Thai officials and international human traffickers is now coming to light. (IPS)

Germany to cut economic aid from firms dealing with Iran. German Chancellor Angela Merkel instructed Economics Minister Michael Glos to stop issuing government guarantees to German enterprises trading with Iran. (Jerusalem Post)

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