Home > News > News in Brief: 7 April 2009

News in Brief: 7 April 2009

A brief list of news clippings for the day:

Global Crime Wave? A Syndrome of Crime, Violence, and Repression on the Way. the case of the present global economic meltdown, with our world at the brink and up to 50 million people potentially losing their jobs by the end of this year, one winner is likely to be criminal activity and crime syndicates. From Mexico to Africa, Russia to China, the pool of the desperate and the bribable is expanding exponentially, pointing to a sharp upturn in global crime. As illicit profits rise, so will violence in the turf wars among competing crime syndicates and in the desperate efforts by panicked governments to put a clamp on criminal activity. (TomDispatch)

More Drone Attacks in Pakistan Planned. Despite threats of retaliation from Pakistani militants, senior administration officials said Monday that the United States intended to step up its use of drones to strike militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas and might extend them to a different sanctuary deeper inside the country. (New York Times)

Taliban v. Taliban. ‘Safe havens’ for a reinvigorated Afghan Taliban and al-Qaida, the tribal areas are seen by the West as the ‘greatest threat’ to its security, as well as being the main cause of Western frustration with Pakistan. The reason is simple: the Pakistan army’s counterinsurgency strategy is not principally directed at the Taliban or even al-Qaida – the main enemy is India. (London Review of Books)

Iraqi Forces Training In Turkey. Iraq’s defense minister says Turkey is sponsoring training missions for Iraqi military. (RFE/RL)

Disagreements over Turkey’s EU accession resurface with Obama’s appeal. Divergences among leading members of the European Union concerning Turkey’s EU accession process have resurfaced after US President Barack Obama urged the EU to accept Turkey as a full member on Sunday. (Today’s Zaman)

Obama twists and turns on Iran. United States President Barack Obama, by repeatedly referring to Iran in his major foreign policy speeches, such as in Prague and in the Turkish parliament, has clearly prioritized the country. The problem is the mixed messages he sends out, which will do nothing to assure Tehran that a “new beginning” is any closer. (Asia Times)

The Return of the Old Middle East. As the United States has learned from its failures at transforming the Middle East, old-fashioned balance-of-power politics are once again driving events in the region. (Syria Comment)

The Growing Storm. Last weekend, the Iraqi government arrested an Awakening Group leader of a Baghdad neighborhood, then moved into the area. With the help of US occupation forces, they disarmed the militiamen under his control, but only after fighting broke out between US-backed Iraqi government security forces and the US-formed Sunni Awakening Group militia. (Truthout)

Turkey: Obama Visit Sparks Hope of Reinvigorated US-Turkish Strategic Partnership. Turkish and American observers are hailing President Barack Obama’s upcoming three-day visit to Turkey as an important step in repairing a significant – though troubled – strategic alliance. Ankara and Washington had been at loggerheads on numerous occasions over the last few years. Turkey opposed the American invasion of Iraq and its parliament refused to pass a 2003 motion that would have allowed American troops to enter Iraq through Turkish soil. The United States, meanwhile, had at times been uncomfortable with Turkey’s active re-engagement with the Middle East, particularly its growing relations with Syria and Iran. (Eurasianet)

Over 150,000 Gazans still without tap water. Over 150,000 Palestinians in Gaza (around 10 percent of the population) are struggling without tap water as a result of the damage caused to wells, pipes and waste water facilities during the recent 23-day Israeli offensive which ended on 18 January. (IRIN)

Israeli police shoot motorist during house demolition. Israeli police today shot dead a Palestinian driver they said had tried to attack them during the demolition of a Palestinian home in Jerusalem. (Guardian)

Cyber-skirmish at the top of the world. The vast computer spy network that infiltrated the Tibetan government in exile, while remarkable, is just the tip of a never-ending cyber-war being waged between online activists and governments like China’s. With technical terms such as “honeypots” and “rubber hoses” – and with the use of pornography – the game is just as complex, and potentially just as deadly, as real-life espionage. (Asia Times)

Gazprom, Eni in $4bn buyout deal. Russia’s Gazprom on Tuesday signed a deal worth over four billion dollars to buy out the 20 per cent stake owned by Italy’s Eni in its oil unit Gazprom Neft, in line with the Kremlin’s aim to keep key assets in state hands. (Times of India)

Muslim Brotherhood Breaks with Khaddam and NSF. The Muslim Brotherhood has withdrawn from the National Salvation Front led by ex-Vice President Abdal Halim Khaddam. (Syria Comment)

Iran, Armenia Agree To Build Railroad… government officials have agreed to build a $1.2 billion railway linking Armenia and Iran. The 470-kilometer project connecting the border regions and creating the first rail link between the two countries has been discussed for years… (Turkish Weekly / RFE/RL)

Armenia: Nagorno-Karabakh not part of Turkey talks. In a statement likely to further increase Azerbaijan’s concerns about a possible Turkish-Armenian rapprochement, Armenia has said ongoing talks to normalize relations with neighboring Turkey have no links to its conflict with Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. (Today’s Zaman)

Gates Lays Out Key FY 2010 Budget Recommendations. On April 6/09, US Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates did something unusual: he convened a press conference to announce key budget recommendations in advance. Gates’ announcement, made in the presence of Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Gen. James Cartwright, USMC, aims to make significant changes to America’s defense programs. (Defense Industry Daily)

Somali pirates seize five ships in two days. Somali pirates seized ships from France, Britain, Germany, Taiwan and Yemen in the worst spate of hijackings in months, defying the world’s naval powers by prowling further out in the Indian Ocean. (The Daily Star / AFP)

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