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October 14, 2007

Israeli Airstrike

It came to light Sunday that Israel bombed an unused military building that held a partially built nuclear reactor, years away from completion, early in September, according to CNN. In the weeks after the attack, U.S. officials said the attack was aimed either at a nuclear or missile facility that Syria operated jointly with North Korea. Reuters reported the reactor was apparently modeled on one in North Korea used for stockpiling nuclear weapons fuel. Israel confirmed earlier this month it had carried out an air strike on Syria, but the two countries have given little information on the target.
CNN reported that Israel has been extremely secretive about the affair. It only recently relaxed censorship to allow Israel-based journalists to report that Israeli aircraft attacked a military target deep inside Syria.

October 7, 2007

Blackwater Shootings Deliberately Uprovoked

The NY Times reported that an Iraqi government inquiry found employees of the American security company Blackwater USA shot unprovoked at Iraqi civilians at a downtown traffic circle three weeks ago, an episode that killed 17 people and wounded more than 20 others. Reuters reported that on Sunday Iraq said security guards from the U.S. firm Blackwater deliberately killed 17 Iraqis in last month's shooting incident in Baghdad and that it would take legal steps against them.

September 30, 2007

U.N. envoy in Myanmar

According to CNN United Nations envoy Ibrahim Gambari met Sunday with Myanmar's detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in an effort to quell recent tensions between the country's military leaders and protesters. The hour-long meeting took place in the Myanmar city of Yangon. No other details were released.Suu Kyi is under house arrest and has been barred by the government from meeting with foreigners, which made the meeting with the envoy completely unexpected. According to an AP article the U.N. envoy failed to see either the junta leader, who controls the country, or his deputy in his scheduled meetings. The diplomat was returning late Sunday to the military government's headquarters for a possible third meeting. The U.N. envoy planned to tell the junta leader "about the international outrage over what has happened and will urge him to talk with various people and try to resolve the problems peacefully," Shari Villarosa, charge d'affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Yangon, told CNN.

September 23, 2007

Let My People Go

Israel decided Sunday that they will release 90 Palestinian prisoners as a sign of good faith. The move comes in light of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month. According to the Agence France Presse, all the prisoners to be released are members of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah party from the West Bank and Gaza Strip. What the release will be accomplishing seems to be uncertain. Reuters reported that the proposal to release the prisoners had been delayed for two weeks after a series of rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip cast doubt to whether the cabinet in Israel could be persuaded to back the move. The prisoner release isn't adequate in the Palestine government's eyes, while many in the Israeli government don't see why they should release any prisoners at all. The move seems to be a meaningless gesture for the rest of the world to see and think something is being accomplished. Go Israel.

September 16, 2007

Phucket Plane Crash

A plane crashed in Thailand Sunday on the resort island of Phuket, killing 88 people, 78 of whom were foreigners on vacation. Reuters reported that the plane, a MD-82 operated by a low cost operator out of Bangkok called One-Two-Go, was trying to land during torrential rain and turbulence when it hit the runway, broke in two, burst in flames, and skidded off the pavement. The tail section ended up on the runway verge, and the nose was buried in trees. Reuters included a quote from Udom Tantiprasongchai, chairman of One-Two-Go parent company Orient Thai Airlines: “Tomorrow the police will set up an investigating committee to find out what actually caused the accident. What we need to do right now is take care of the injured,� Udom said.
MSNBC had a similar report. They reported the flight, number OG269, crashed as it tried to land in pouring rain, splitting in two and bursting into flames. They included a quote from Chaisak Angsuwan, director general of the Air Transport Authority of Thailand: “The visibility was poor as the pilot attempted to land. He decided to make a go-around but the plane lost balance and crashed. It was torn into two parts�
The Reuters report has a few survivor accounts and includes some information about the island and upcoming investigation. The MSNBC report has more survivor accounts and seems to be more focused on the emotional side and aftermath of it. Overall they are very similar.