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April 26, 2009

Clinton Said Moderation Is Lebanon's Best Hope

The New York Times reported Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived in Lebanon on Sunday for a lightning visit to express support for this fragile country, six weeks before crucial parliamentary elections in which the Islamic military group Hezbollah is expected to make significant gains.


http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/27/world/middleeast/27diplo.html?ref=world

While Clinton said the choice of a government was up to the Lebanese people, the United States which classified Hezbollah as terrorist organization, clearly hoped to bolster the electoral prospects of the existing majority, a coaliition of Sunni Muslim and Christian parties.

"It won't surprise you to hear that I think moderation is important in the affair states," Clinton said after meeting the president, Michel Suleiman, a formerly chief of the armed forces who stays above the political fray.

The United States has given more than $1 billion in aid to Lebanon in 2006, including $410 million for its security forces. Troops have taken part in American police training programs.

According to the Boston Herald News, the Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Washington supports the "voices of moderation" and will never betray Lebanon by making a deal with Syria jeopardizing Lebanon's interests.


http://www.bostonherald.com/news/us_politics/view/2009_04_27_Hillary_Clinton:_U_S__backs_Lebanon/

Yesterday's pledge to support Lebanon came just nearly two months before elections where Iranian-backed Hezollah and its allies could win possibly paving the route for renewed Syrian influence over Lebanon.

April 19, 2009

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March 29, 2009

Turkey's Governing Party Wins City Races

The New York Times reported the governing party, led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, won by a narrow margin in nationwide municipal elections on Sunday, preliminary results showed, but registered declines in a number of major cities.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03
/30/world/europe/30turkey.html?ref=world

The CNN-Turk news channel reported that Mr. Erdogan's party, Justice and Development, led with 39.13 percent of the vote, while the main opposition, the Republican People's Party, had 22.83 percent, and the nationalist People's Action Party had 16.22 percent.

The elections were viewed as referendum on the performance of Turkey's politicians, in particular that of Mr. Erdogan, a former Islamist who has pressed for Turkey's membership in the European Union.

The Anatolian News Agency said five people died and more than 10 were injured in skirmishes at election stations in remote provinces of mainly eastern Turkey.

The BBC News reported that Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to work for national unity after his party won re-election with almost 50% of votes.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6910444.stm

The election was sanctioned after opposition parties in parliament blocked the AK Party's nominee for the post of president causing political deadlock.

After some three-quarters of votes were counted, reports developed that the AKP had won about 47% of the nationwide vote.

March 15, 2009

4 U.S. Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan

According to the New York Times, four American soldiers died in a roadside explosion on Sunday, the United States military said, in the worst of several attacks by insurgents around the country.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009
/03/16/world/asia/16afghan.html?ref=world

The Taliban threatened to increase attacks on foreign and Afghan forces in Afghanistan to defy the increase in American troops arriving in the country over the coming months.

In a separate attack on Sunday, a suicide bomber blew himself up on a main road south of Kabul, killing two Afghan civilians and wounding nine others.

"I saw lots of people in the cars wounded and shouting for help but there was no one to help," said Mohammed Haroon, a mechanic whose neighbor was wounded.

According to the Daily Times in Pakistan, a surge of bombs ripped through parts of Afghanistan on Sunday, killing four United Sates soldiers and three Afghan civilians, officials said, in attacks linked to a Taliban-led insurgency.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2009%5C03%5C16%5Cstory_16-3-2009_pg7_1

The three separate attacks happened amid growing concern about extremist violence in Afghanistan and across the border in Pakistan, more than seven years after the Taliban were removed from government in a US-led invasion.

The Taliban claimed to be responsible for the attack that killed the four International Security Assistance Force troopers in the eastern province of Nangarhar, on the border with Pakistan.

“It was an improvised-explosive device. Four soldiers were killed,” an ISAF spokesman at the force’s Kabul headquarters told AFP.

March 8, 2009

Sudan's President Issues a Warning

President of Sudan, Omar Hassam al-Bashier, issued a warning on Sunday and threatened to kick out more aid groups and expel diplomats and peacekeepers on his first trip to Darfur, according to the New York Times.

http://www.
nytimes.com/2009/03/09/world/africa/09sudan.html?_r=1&ref=world

This warning has been issued since the International Criminal Court ordered his arrest on charge of war crimes.

The international court accused him of leading a counter insurgency against Darfur rebels that involved rapes, killings and other atrocities against civilians leading up to 300,000 people dead and 2.7 driven from their homes.

Sudan has already expunged 13 of the largest aid groups operating in Darfur in defiant response to the warrant issued last week by the court in the Hague.

The Sudanese Army said Sunday it was preparing for full alert to mobilize three-quarters of its troops, according to the Sudan Media Center.

Bashier said, "Whoever deviates, we will not let them stay, whether a voluntary organization, an envoy, a diplomatic mission or a security force."

The BBC News reported that Sudan's president has issued a warning for the peacekeepers, diplomats and aid staff to leave while visiting Darfur, in the wake of a war crimes warrant against him.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7930829.stm

Omar al-Bashier said all foreign missionaries in Sudan must abide by the law or face expulsion, as he visited the North Darfur capital of El Fasher.

"They have to respect the rule of the country. If anyone goes further than the rule of the country, we will kick them out directly," said Bashier.

The UN Security Council failed to reach a consensus on Saturday on issuing a statement requesting Sudan to reverse the decision to expel the aid agencies.

February 27, 2009

Soldiers Killed President of Guinea-Bissau

The New York Times reported that Army troops killed João Bernardo Vieira, the president of neighboring Guinea-Bissau, early on Monday following a bomb attack that killed the army chief of staff, according to diplomats in the region. He was shot to death.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/03/world/africa/03guinea.html?ref=world

News reports said army troops found the president to be responsible for the death of the army chief, General Batista Tagme Na Wai, who died in an explosion on Sunday night.

Diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity under customary rules, said the president was shot to death around 5:00 in the morning in an attack outside his house and the country’s borders had been closed.

President Vieira, 69, whose was reported dead on Monday, after being re-elected in 2005 returned to power after an earlier spell as a military ruler in the 1980s and 1990s.

Based in Addis Ababa, the African Union condemned the reported killing of President Vieira, said Jean Ping, the group’s most senior official.

According to TimesOnline News, the President and head of the army in Guinea-Bissau were assassinated in tit-for-tat murders that have plunged the West African "narco-state" into crisis.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/africa/article5830298.ece

General Na Waie was killed in a bomb blast at army headquarters. Hours later Vieira was shot to death in a hail of bullets as he tried to flee his home in the capital Bissau.

An army spokesman said the President’s death was an act of revenge for the earlier assassination of the army chief.

“President Vieira was killed by the army as he tried to flee his house,” said Zamora Induta. He said that the President was “taken down by bullets fired by … soldiers.”

Vieira was the ruler of Guinea-Bissau from 1980 to 1999 before being deposed in a military coup. He returned from exile in 2004 and was reinstated in 2005 as president at elections.


February 22, 2009

Detainee Who Claim Abuse to Return to Britain

The New York Times reported that the case of a Guantanamo detainee has gained international attention because of his assertions that he was tortured while in C.I.A. custody. He is scheduled to arrive in Britain on Monday.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/23/world/europe/23release.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=Detainee%20to%20Return%20to%20Britain&st=cse

The detainee, Binyam Mohamed, has been in American custody for nearly seven years. He was held and interrogated first in Pakistan and hen for 18 months in Morocco. He was also was held and interrogated in Afghanistan, before being moved to the Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, prison camp.

His return to Britain will mark the finish line of an 18-month standoff between the United States and Britain. Britain has been attempting to get him released since August 2007.

An anonymous British government official affirmed Mr. Mohamed’s expected return but gave no other details. On Friday, the British Foreign Office issued a statement that final arrangements were being made for his release.

Mr. Mohamed will adhere to voluntary restrictions such as a lifetime prohibition on travel to the United States, according to people who have seen the restrictions.Those people would only speak if they were anonymous.

According to ABC News, the Obama administration will start the process of releasing a prisoner from the Detainee Center at Guantanamo Bay next week, perhaps as early as Monday.

http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2009/02/gitmo-detainee.html

Binyam Mohamed, a 30-year-old Ethiopian and legal resident of the UK, will be moved into British custody. The British will fly Mohamed back to England. The British government has signaled it intends to place Mohamed under surveillance, yet he is not expected to be arrested.

All terrorism-related charges against Mohamed were dropped in 2007.

British authorities have long voiced their concerns about the evidence collected against Mohamed saying because of allegedly being subjected to torture by Pakistani and U.S. authorities, it is not admissible in court.

Commander Kirk Lippold, a Senior Military Fellow at Military Families United, said Mohamed's release is not safe and urged the president to reconsider his decision.

February 15, 2009

Noted Writer Is Stabbed at Book Reading in Beijing, China

The New York Times reported that a prominent writer, famous for his provocative antiestablishment Web postings, was stabbed and wounded during a book reading on Saturday.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/16/world/asia/16china.html?_r=1&ref=world

The writer, Xu Lai, was approached in a bathroom by two men who stabbed him in the stomach. They then threatened to amputate Lai's hand before fleeing the scene said friends and fellow bloggers who posted the news on the Internet.

Some people believe the attack may have been triggered by Lai's writings, many of which criticize government corruption and make fun of the ruling Communist party.

Lai's blog, ProState in Flames, was carried by Bullog, a liberal Web site, until the government closed it down last month.

The editor of Xu Lai's articles of The Beijing News, Xiao Sanlang, said Lai remained in the hospital on Sunday, but is not suffering from life-threatening wounds.

According to TimesOnline (UK News), the writer behind Pro-State in Flames, was attacked while speaking at the One Way Street bookshop in Beijing on Saturday afternoon.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article5739768.ece

His wife said that two men forcibly led Lai into the men's toilet. She chased after them finding one of the suspects holding a vegetable knife, while the other had a dagger.

The men fled the scene leaving Lai on the ground with a cut to his stomach. Lai is recovering in the hospital.

Blogs remain the most important channel of communication for self-expression in China.

A witness said they heard one of his attackers say,"You brought this on yourself. You know why we're doing this, don't you?"

Best known for his sarcastic style in commenting on social and political issues, Lai is an editor of the popular Beijing Newsdaily.

February 8, 2009

170 Al Qaeda Suspects Released In Yemen

WCCO News reported that Yemen released 170 men it had arrested in connection with having ties to al Qaeda.

http://wcco.com/national/Al.Qaeda.Yemen.2.929770.html

Security officials said Yemen released them on Sunday two weeks after the terror group said that Yemen had become the base of its activities for the whole Arabian peninsula.

The announcement came at the same time government forces say they were poised to fight a deep al Qaeda presence that includes both Yemenis and Saudis.

After signing pledges not to engage in terrorism, the detainees were freed Friday and Saturday. Local tribal areas
are also expected to ensure the good behavior of the released.

Fox 9 News also reported that 170 men were freed Friday and Saturday after signing pledges not to engage in terrorism.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,489734,00.html

Anonymity is the only condition of which the government forces would speak who announced the release because they are not allowed to speak to the press.

After President Barack Obama ordered the prison to be shut down within a year, Yemen has said it expects most of the 100 remaining Yemenis at Guantanamo to be sent home.

Saudia Arabia issued a list of 85 most wanted living abroad that included two Yemenis.

February 1, 2009

Swearing-In of New Gay Woman Prime Minister In Ireland

Sunday the New York Times reported that Johanna Sigurdardottir, 66, was the first gay female prime minister to be sworn in as the leader of a coalition government of Iceland's social Democrats and its Left-Green Movement for three months until the future election set for April 25.

Asked to be the new head of government, Ms. Sigurdardottir will lead a new government by repairing Ireland's banks which were nationalized last fall to save them from going under with multi-billion dollar debts.

Her reputation is well-known as she started her political career as a union organizer with Icelandair, the national airline which she had worked as a flight attendant for more than 30 years.

According to a spokesman for Iceland's National Association of Queers, Frosti Johnsson said, "Iceland is a small society and the public know Sigurdardottir stands for as a politician, and that's the only thing that is important."

The BBC reported that Ms. Sigurdardottir will take over the previous coalition cabinet of PM Geir Haarde as interim prime minister which fell apart last month due to the stress of a huge economic crisis.

First elected to Iceland's parliamentary in 1978, Ms. Sigurdardottir said her priorities include replacing the board of governors of the central bank and asking a parliamentary committee to consider the idea of entering the European Union.