Home > News > News in Brief: 16 April 2009

News in Brief: 16 April 2009

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A brief list of news clippings for the day:

The Two Piracies in Somalia: Why the World Ignores the Other? Much of the world’s attention is currently focused on the Somali sea lanes. The navies of big and small powers are converging on the Somali waters in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. The other more damaging economically, environmentally and security-wise is the massive illegal foreign fishing piracy that have been poaching and destroying the Somali marine resources for the last 18 years following the collapse of the Somali regime in 1991. (Axis of Logic)

Russia ends anti-terror regime in Chechnya. Russia has ordered an end to its counterterrorism regime in Chechnya. That could mean the withdrawal of tens of thousands of troops from the republic which has suffered two separatist wars in the past 15 years. (Deutsche Welle)

Turkmenistan: Pipeline Spat with the Kremlin Turns into a Political Test of Strength. The gas-blast row between Turkmenistan and Russia shows that the geopolitical balance in the Caspian Basin energy contest may be shifting. The Kremlin, along with its energy appendage, Gazprom, now appears to lack the power and the resources to call the shots. (Eurasianet)

Imbalance of Powers. Many hoped the G-20 would directly address the world’s main macroeconomic imbalances. As Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs observed, “Exchange rates were hardly mentioned, despite the fact that exchange rate adjustments are surely needed to smooth the elimination of large and unsustainable global trade imbalances. (Foreign Policy)

More than a tale of two personalities. If incumbent Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of the Congress party and Lal Krishna Advani of the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party had their way, India’s 714 million voters would make a straight choice between the two of them over the month-long elections that began on Thursday. It’s not as simple as that. The Third Front, a loose coalition of regional parties with the left acting as the pivot, is screaming to be heard. (Asia Times)

Mossad joins investigation with Hezbollah operatives in Cairo.. (Friday Lunch Club / Al Akhbar)

Second Lebanese man arrested over Israel espionage. Lebanese security forces this week arrested two men suspected of spying on behalf of Israel. J’ Al-Alam was detained for questioning on Thursday, just days after his relative, retired General Adib Al-Alam. (Haaretz)

MIDEAST: West Bank a Time Bomb Waiting to Explode. Tension between Israel and Palestinians is rising sharply as reflected in a number of increasingly bloody and violent confrontations since Israel’s devastating war in Gaza at the beginning of the year. (IPS)

Ordered out, UN inspectors leave North Korea’s main nuclear facility.
UN inspectors ordered out by North Korea have left the country’s main nuclear facility after removing seals and surveillance cameras there, a diplomat said. (Gulf News)

Armitage: “They Tortured” “Maybe I should Have Resigned”. Armitage admits: He and his boss Colin Powell lost a major battle within the Bush administration on whether the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war applied to guerrillas captured during the “war on terror.” That the Bush administration engaged in torture in the form of waterboarding, though he denied that he had sure knowledge of this practice at the time he was in office. (Juan Cole)

Pakistan police: 16 killed in suicide car bomb attack in northwest. Senior police official Riaz Khan says that the majority of those killed Wednesday were officers. The attack occurred in Charsada, an area in Pakistan’s northwest region bordering Afghanistan. (Gulf News)

Tajik President Warns Of ‘Political Disorder’. Tajik President Emomali Rahmon said in his annual address to parliament that Tajikistan faces a threat of “political disorder,” RFE/RL’s Tajik Service reports. (RFE/RL)

A tech-savvy rebellion. One outcome of the unrest in Bangkok was proof that leaders in exile can use Internet-based communications devices and video links to stir the masses. The era of ousted leaders using letters and smuggled audio cassettes – and governments silencing their opponents through exile – seems to be over. (Asia Times)

Banning al-Hayat in Iraq. The top military spokesman in Baghdad, Maj. Gen. Qassim Atta, said he was filing a lawsuit seeking to close the Baghdad office of Al Hayat, one of the most prominent newspapers in the Arab world, as well as the satellite signal of Al Sharqiya, a popular Iraqi television channel that has been a strong critic of the government. (Marc Lynch)

Iraq Provinces Try to Overcome Political Disarray. The 14 provinces that voted in January have only begun to form councils. Five have no functioning government. (New York Times)

Iraq to Build Major New Oil Refinery. Iraq has signed a contract with British engineering and construction company Foster Wheeler to build the country’s largest-ever oil refinery, an Iraqi official said on Wednesday. (AFP)

Iraq MPs seek extension on Kirkuk vote report. Iraqi lawmakers said on Wednesday they would request a two-month extension to complete a report on holding local elections in the ethnically divided oil hub of Kirkuk. (Zawya / AFP)

The Wild East. The recent round of violence in Lebanon is a sign of the rampant lawlessness that prevails there. In some circles, it even provides a certain level of justification for US aid to the beleaguered country (although drones, Dodges, Fords and a couple tanks won’t be enough to provide stability). The type of aid Lebanese security forces are receiving from the US may help to ‘fight drugs’ but it is hardly worthy of being labeled “military” aid. In many ways, Hezbollah remains better situated than the army.The recent round of violence in Lebanon is a sign of the rampant lawlessness that prevails there. In some circles, it even provides a certain level of justification for US aid to the beleaguered country (although drones, Dodges, Fords and a couple tanks won’t be enough to provide stability). The type of aid Lebanese security forces are receiving from the US may help to ‘fight drugs’ but it is hardly worthy of being labeled “military” aid. In many ways, Hezbollah remains better situated than the army. (KABOBfest)

Russia Says NATO Exercises In Georgia Are Provocation. Russia has called on NATO to cancel or postpone planned military exercises in Georgia that it said were “a provocation.” NATO’s announcement of the exercises, which will involve 1,300 troops from 19 countries, comes at a time when it is seeking to rebuild ties with Russia damaged as a result of Moscow’s intervention in Georgia. (RFE/RL)

Turkish MPs tell Azeris opening Armenian border unacceptable. Deputies from Turkish opposition parties, who attended a meeting in Azerbaijan, expressed Wednesday their strong opposition to the opening of the Turkey-Armenia border. (Hurriyet)

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