Home > News > News in Brief: 12 February 2009

News in Brief: 12 February 2009

A brief list of news clipping for the day:

Taliban send a bloody warning. The United States and Britain are working overtime, with help from Russia, in preparation for what they believe will be the biggest-ever offensive against militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Wednesday’s brazen multiple terror strikes in the Afghan capital of Kabul underscore the urgency of the task, while also sending a clear message that the Taliban and al-Qaeda now have the capability to strike anywhere in the region, at any time. (Asia Times)

Tajikistan: On the Road to Failure. Far from being a bulwark against the spread of extremism and violence from Afghanistan, Tajikistan is looking increasingly like its southern neighbour – a weak state that is suffering from a failure of leadership. Energy infrastructure is near total breakdown for the second winter running, and it is likely migrant labourer remittances, the driver of the country’s economy in recent years, will fall dramatically as a result of the world economic crisis. (ICG)

Steve Fraser, Locked into the Bailout State. Obtuse hardly does justice to the social stupidity of our late, unlamented financial overlords. John Thain of Merrill Lynch and Richard Fuld of Lehman Brothers, along with an astonishing number of their fraternity brothers, continue to behave like so many intoxicated toreadors waving their capes at an enraged bull, oblivious even when gored. (TomDispatch)

China’s defense: The view from Taiwan. China’s latest defense assessment claims Taiwan’s attempts to seek “de jure independence” have been thwarted, and that Beijing’s threat perception in the Taiwan Strait has been greatly reduced. Reading between the lines, it appears China hopes to gradually erode United States influence over Taiwan by offering it security promises, leading to an eventual reunification. (Asia Times)

Azerbaijan: Air Force Chief Assassinated in Baku, Search for Suspects Ongoing. Lt-Gen. Rail Rzayev, the head of Azerbaijan’s Air Force and Anti-Aircraft Defense Force, was shot in the head as he was sitting in a Mercedes in front of his Baku apartment building. Doctors at a military hospital could not save 64-year-old Rzayev’s life, the Interior Ministry announced. Few details about the case are being made public. (EurasiaNet)

India scoffs at Pakistan’s evasion tactics. Pakistani claims that it needs more information on the Mumbai terror attacks of last November before it can register a case against the perpetrators are being met with cries of “rubbish” from India. With politicians gearing up for national elections, New Delhi faces mounting pressure to take action – though al-Qaeda says India will pay a heavy price if it attacks Pakistan. (Asia Times)

India & Israel Introducing MR-SAM. MR-SAM is an Rs 10,000 crore (almost $2.5 billion) project to develop a medium range SAM for use with India’s land forces. In February 2006, “Israel, India to Cooperate on $350M Long-Range Barak SAM Project” covered a joint Indian-Israeli development agreement to create a new medium shipborne air defense missile, based on the Barak system in service with both navies. (Defense Industry Daily)

Extremism Dominates Israeli Polls. “The peace process is based on three false basic assumptions,” said Avigdor Lieberman, leader of Israel’s extreme right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party, which will dictate the formation and political course of the next Israeli government. (IPS)

Israel allows export of 25,000 carnations from Gaza to Europe. Israel on Thursday allowed Palestinian flower growers to export 25,000 blooms from the Gaza Strip to Europe ahead of Valentine’s Day. The amount of carnations allowed out of the Gaza Strip was only a fraction of what farmers produce. Many farmers say they have no choice but to feed the crop to sheep. (Haaretz)

Egypt frees one blogger-activist, but not another. After a short-but-intense international protest campaign, Egyptian authorities freed Egyptian-German student/blogger Philip Rizk after interrogating him for four days about his criticism of Egypt for not doing more to help Gaza. (Checkpoint Jerusalem)

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