Home > News > News in Brief: 3 February 2009

News in Brief: 3 February 2009

A brief list of news clippings for the day:

Chalmers Johnson, Economic Death Spiral at the Pentagon. Recently, reviewing lobbying disclosure reports, the Washington Times discovered “that 18 of the top 20 recipients of federal bailout money spent a combined $12.2 million lobbying the White House, the Treasury Department, Congress, and federal agencies during the last quarter of 2008.” Citibank alone, according to the New York Times, fielded “an army of Washington lobbyists,” plunking down $1.77 million in lobbying fees just in the fourth quarter of last year. (TomDispatch)

Barack Obama to allow anti-terror rendition to continue. Despite ordering the closure of Guantanamo and an end to harsh interrogation techniques, the new president has failed to call an end to secret abductions and questioning. The revelation will cause anger in Europe, where several cases of abuse or mistaken identity were revealed during the Bush administration. Khaled Masri, a German citizen, was arrested in Macedonia in 2003 and taken to Afghanistan for five months before the CIA realised it had made a mistake. The Italians sought to prosecute CIA operatives who had arrested Abu Omar, an Egyptian cleric, and flew him to Egypt where he claimed he was tortured. (Telegraph)

Gazans say Israeli troops forced them into battle zones. For the next 24 hours, Abed Rabbo said, the soldiers repeatedly forced him to walk through the battle zone to see whether the militants were dead or alive. Abed Rabbo wasn’t alone. Eight other residents in this northern Gaza Strip neighborhood told McClatchy in separate interviews that Israeli soldiers had conscripted them to check homes for booby traps, to smash holes in the walls of houses so that soldiers could use them as escape routes or to try to pull dead Palestinian militants from the rubble. (McClatchy)

Politically, Hamas May Have Won. Despite declarations of victory by Israel, the military assault on the Gaza Strip failed to achieve its stated aims, many analysts say. The assault, and even its exceptional brutality, may only have vindicated the notion of resistance among the Arab public. (IPS)

Disgruntled Iraqis back secular parties at polls. Iraqis voted heavily for secular parties in last weekend’s provincial polls, in a show of disaffection with the religious parties that lead the central government, early indications showed on Monday. In a further sign of voter disillusionment, turnout in the country’s first elections since 2005 was little more than 50 percent, and even lower among the Shiite majority community. The Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council (ISCI), the Shiite religious party that won control of seven out of the 11 mainly Shiite provinces four years ago, looked set to lose at least five of them, according to early results from the electoral commission. (The Daily Star)

21 Afghan Police Die in Taliban Bombing; Suicide Attack Was the Second Major Strike in Two Days. At least 21 Afghan police officers were killed Monday in southern Afghanistan when a Taliban suicide bomber disguised as a policeman attacked a local police station, according to Afghan government officials. The bombing occurred about 11:30 a.m. in the town of Tarin Kot in the southern province of Uruzgan. The bomber walked into a district police station and detonated a vest full of explosives, apparently concealed beneath a stolen police uniform, said Hashim Watanwal, an Afghan parliament member in the province. (Washington Post)

Afghans Rally Against U.S. After Strike Kills Two. Hundreds of Afghans demonstrated Sunday against an overnight U.S. military raid that one villager said killed several civilians, the latest incident to stir up Afghan ire against foreign forces accused of killing bystanders. The American military said its forces killed two insurgents. Also Sunday, a suicide bomber in a car attacked a convoy of foreign troops in Kabul, the capital, wounding two Afghans, police said. Taliban fighters asserted responsibility for the attack. (Washington Post)

Pakistan militant attack halts U.S., NATO supplies. Militants blew up a bridge in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, temporarily cutting a major supply line for Western troops in Afghanistan, a government official said. (Globe and Mail/AP)

Security peddlers eye Afghan windfall. With the United States poised to send more troops into Afghanistan, the world’s private military and security firms are gleefully awaiting the contracts that will follow. But those looking for a new gold rush in Afghanistan could be disappointed. For starters, their presence isn’t exactly welcome and their record is far from spotless. (Asia Times)

Al-Qaeda militants try to rob bank. Four alleged members of the al-Qaeda terrorist organizations were detained yesterday on charges of attempting to rob a Postal and Telecommunications General Directorate (PTT) building in İstanbul’s Sultanbeyli district. (Today’s Zaman)

India looks to pick up Sri Lankan pieces. As the Sri Lankan military’s offensive on the remnants of rebel Tamil Tiger territory approaches the end game, India is preparing to play a major role. The political settlement Delhi seeks is not only for the hundreds of thousands of civilians caught in the crossfire, but also expedient at a time pro-Tamil tensions in its Tamil Nadu state threaten to bring turmoil and separatism to its territory. (Asia Times)

Israeli media launches all-out war on Turkey in wake of Davos showdown. Increasingly negative reporting about Turkey by the Israeli media is adding fuel to the fire and exacerbating already tense relations between Ankara and Tel Aviv in what appears to be an open season declared by Israeli commentators and media pundits against Turkey and Turkish interests. (Today’s Zaman)

‘Inedequate healthcare, a million Indians die every year’. One million Indians, mostly women and children, die every year because of inadequate healthcare in a country full of highly-skilled doctors, Britain’s Oxford University said Monday. (Times of India)

Nato not involved in drone attacks, Kayani told. Nato Commander in Afghanistan General David McKiernan held an important meeting with Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Monday and discussed the ambit of issues pertaining to war on terror, situation in tribal areas and Afghanistan and to make Nato supply route safer. According to sources, General David McKiernan while talking on drone attacks in Pakistan’s territory clearly stated that Nato is not involved in such attacks and it has a clear position in this regard. (The News)

China spreads its peacekeepers. China’s participation in multilateral security arrangements has increased dramatically in recent years, reflecting Beijing’s aim to project a more harmonious image beyond its borders while establishing acceptance of China as a great power. At the same time, these peacekeeping activities give Chinese forces valuable training should the need for real combat arise. (Asia Times)

Iran sends first home-made satellite into space. Iran said it launched its first domestically made satellite into orbit on Tuesday, boasting major progress in its space technology when tension with the West over its nuclear ambitions persists. (Globe and Mail/Reuters)

Khatami expected to run for president in June election Khatami expected to run for president in June election. Iran’s former president, Mohammad Khatami, is likely to announce he will run in the June election within days and expects to win voters eager to end the Islamic Republic’s international isolation, a close ally has said. Khatami, who served from 1997 to 2005, oversaw a thawing in Iran’s ties with the West. Those relations have since sharply deteriorated under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who an aide said last week was seeking a second four-year term. (Today’s Zaman)

Crucial West Asia talks in Egypt. Tensions between the Palestinian group Hamas and Israel have risen ahead of crucial talks in Egypt which could cement the fragile ceasefire in Gaza. (The Hindu)

Demography, Migration and Multiculturalism in South Korea. More than a million foreigners reportedly reside in South Korea now, with unskilled migrant workers accounting for a majority. Although the country’s reliance on imported foreign labor is likely to continue unabated, the country prides itself as an ethnically homogenous society and insists on almost zero-immigration policy. However, this paper shows that Korean society is rapidly becoming a multicultural society and this process is inevitable and irreversible. (Japan Focus)

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Categories: News
  1. February 10, 2009 at 9:59 am

    nice blog

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