Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi met Thursday with Ismail Haniya, Prime Minister of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip, state television reported. The Egyptian state broadcaster quoted Egyptian presidential spokesman Yasser Ali saying the meeting was the latest in a series the recently-elected president is holding with Palestinian leaders to discuss measures to ease Israel's blockade on Gaza.
The two were reported to have discussed ways to facilitate the easing of movement of Palestinians from Gaza into Egypt "in accordance with relevant laws." No concrete steps were announced. Egypt announced the opening of its border with Gaza after the downfall of President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, but severe restrictions have remained in place.
BAMAKO: Mali's interim President Dioncounda Traore was expected in Bamako yesterday amid tight security following a two-month stay in Paris for medical treatment after being violently attacked in his office.
Read this guy's bio and you realize that maybe, just maybe, al-Qaeda is an upgrade for Mali...
Traore, 70, was due to arrive in Bamako at 1630 (local and GMT), a government statement said, to a country in a worse state of crisis than when he left it. He was attacked by a mob protesting his appointment on May 21, the eve of the official start of a transition period for a return to democratic rule in the troubled west African country after a March 22 coup.
"We have taken the necessary security measures so that his return goes well," a senior official in the security ministry said.
Traore's Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra is trying to cobble together a wider unity government on the orders of mediators from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) regional bloc to deal with the mounting crisis. ECOWAS wants to send a 3,000-strong military force to Mali, but is waiting for United Nations approval and a formal request from Bamako.
Mali has until July 31 to form the unity government, a process which faces further hurdles after key political parties called for Diarra to step down, accusing him of "incompetence and amateurishness."
Traore, whose own party was one of the signatories to the statement demanding the prime minister's resignation, will have to decide whether to keep the astrophysicist in the post. He also faces the continued influence of ex-junta leader Captain Amadou Sanogo, who has been accused by the African Union of meddling in political affairs, and by rights bodies of overseeing torture and enforced disappearances.
Diarra, who has worked for NASA and was also the Microsoft chairman for Africa, is the son-in-law of Moussa Traore who became president of Mali after ousting a previous regime and ruled for 23 years until 1991. Many in Mali see him as too close to the former putschists led by Sanogo.
CNN.com: Who are these radicals, and where did they come from?
Burnett: People refer to them as al Qaeda, but they're also referred to by the names of their militias, such as Ganda Koy or Ansar Dine. Some are religiously motivated, and some are opportunists: They want control and money but aren't driven by religious beliefs.
On the ground, we discovered that they're coming from all over: specifically from Libya, Algeria, Afghanistan. And there is one major radical militia (Ansar Dine) that is also Tuareg. The leader of that group is a Malian Tuareg who spent time in Saudi Arabia.
Why the hell are THEY paying, they didn't invade anybody.
Or is it just a cash pot up for grabs.
Posted by: Redneck Jim ||
I believe the UN got involved because Saddam wasn't going to pay for the damage claims by Kuwait. Now Iraq actually has a government with the will and means to compensate Kuwait for having invaded it.
Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't really see a problem here.
Posted by: American Delight ||
If it's run by the same clowns that ran Oil For Food, what could possibly go wrong. Wonder what their service charges amount includes?
A Swedish national of Lebanese descent placed in long-term storage Into the paddy wagon wit' yez! in Cyprus on suspicion of plotting to attack Israeli tourists in the country will stand trial on Sept. 12, authorities said on Friday.
The man, who has not been identified, faces nine charges of security-related offenses related to tracking the movements and areas frequented by Israeli visitors to the holiday island. He was placed in long-term storage Into the paddy wagon wit' yez! on July 7 as a suspected security threat.
Israel has said the man was planning an attack similar to a suicide bus bombing in the Bulgarian city of Burgas on July 18 that killed seven people, five of them Israelis. Israel has blamed the attack on Lebanese Shiite Mohammedan Death Eater group Hezbollah, and Iran, which has denied any involvement.
Cypriot authorities have acknowledged the suspect showed behavioral patterns similar to the incident in Burgas, in which the attacker waited for Israeli holidaymakers to board a bus at an airport before detonating a backpack of explosives.
During court hearings held behind closed doors, police have maintained the Cyprus suspect is a member of Hezbollah. The group is considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States and other countries, but not by Cyprus.
The suspect was cooled for a few years Yez got nuttin' on me, coppers! Nuttin'! two days after his arrival to Cyprus via London, following a tip-off from British intelligence services. In his fourth court appearance since his detention, a district court in the southern coastal city of Limassol on Friday ruled the man would remain in jug until his trial in September, the semi-official Cyprus News Agency reported.
At that hearing, before a criminal court, he will be formally charged and enter a plea.
Israel is less than an hour by air away from Cyprus and thousands of Israelis visit each year. It is also a popular destination for couples getting married.
Hosts accept coach's demand, and separate the teams with makeshift barrier
The Lebanese judo team at the 2012 London Olympics refused to practice next to the Israeli one on Friday afternoon, and a makeshift barrier was erected to split their gym into two halves.
According to several Hebrew sports sites, the two teams were scheduled to use the same gym and mats at London's new ExCeL center for their final preparations. However, there is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened... the delegation from Leb would not train in view of the Israeli team, and insisted some sort of barrier be placed between them.
Organizers accepted the Lebanese coach's demand to separate the teams, erecting a barrier so that the Lebanese team wouldn't see the Israeli one.
The incident was the first political one between Israel and other countries during the 2012 Games, which don't formally get under way until Friday evening's opening ceremony. It happened only days after the Iranian delegation head stated his nation's athletes would compete with Israelis, a statement which was quickly rejected by Tehran, which tried to suggest that his true sentiment was lost in translation.
So with all these (Muzzie) countries refusing to accept/practice/ compete w/ Israel, what happens when it gets down to the finals and they are up against them; if they (the Muzzies)refuse, is that a forfeit, or will the organizers continue to roll over and award co-golds????
Posted by: Barbara ||
Similar to pussitis, its a condition where the guts and colon switch relative ratios, usually brought about when a person loses resolve yets continues to talk big. Occasionally there is the swelling of the mamory glands and the mind wonders to how many falafals he can fit in his mouth at once.
The Israel Defense Forces is reinforcing its defensive positions along the Syrian border on the Golan Heights.
The IDF fears that terror organizations will take advantage of events in Syria taking place on the Golan and will attempt to attack Israeli communities near the border. The steps include strengthening fences and barriers at the border. In addition, the IDF has dug a wide trench to prevent vehicles from approaching towns. The various areas that have been identified as sensitive fall within the sector of the IDF's 36th Division.
The Northern Command's biggest fear is of a terror attack that penetrates inside Israel in which terrorists strike civilians on the Golan. The operations branch has also prepared plans to deal with a potential influx of refugees fleeing from Syria, who may very well ask for asylum in Israel.
The IDF's reinforcement of the border comes after an incident which took place nearly two weeks ago, in which Syrian army forces crossed the demilitarized zone near the border.
Following the incident, in which 500 soldiers and 50 vehicles crossed into the demilitarized zone, Israel filed a formal complaint to the UN secretary general and to the president of the UN's Security Council, warning that the event may have serious ramifications.
The Pentagon has reached an agreement with Lockheed Martin Corp on a $450 million program to enhance electronic warfare equipment on the F-35 fighter jet, and integrate Israeli-unique systems beginning in 2016, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.
The deal, to be finalized in coming weeks, marks a big step forward for Israel's $2.75 billion agreement to buy 19 F-35 jets, which was signed in October 2010 and includes options for up to 75 of the radar-evading fighters.
The Pentagon said the Israeli foreign arms sale could be worth up to $15.2 billion if all options are exercised, when it first approved the sale in September 2008.
"This agreement kicks off the Israeli program," said one of the sources, who was not authorized to speak on the record. "Now all of the agreements are in place."
The F-35 will allow for even greater collaboration in the coming years with Israel, a critical strategic ally for the United States at a time when much of the Middle East is in turmoil.
[Ma'an] Hamas, always the voice of sweet reason, will not agree to hold general elections unless it can guarantee victory, a Fatah front man said Wednesday.
That's pretty much the norm in most of the world...
Ahmad Assaf told Ma'an that Hamas will continue to ban elections which it knows it would lose. He said the Islamist party would only accept election results as free and fair if it won, and would doubt the vote's transparency if it lost.
An infirm grasp on the obvious, that lot has.
President the ineffectual Mahmoud Abbas ... a graduate of the prestigious unaccredited Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow with a doctorate in Holocaust Denial... and the Fatah movement believe in democracy and the peaceful transfer of authority through the ballot box, Assaf said, while others preferred bullets to ballots.
Paleostinians have the right to vote for their leaders, but elections have been postponed three times due to Hamas' objections, Assaf added.
Hamas called off electoral registration in the Gazoo Strip in early July, a day before the process was set to start, citing political partiality concerns and highlighting repression of its members in the West Bank.
Assaf said the move demonstrated that Hamas did not support democracy.
Abbas' Paleostinian Authority announced on July 10 that it would hold elections on Oct. 20, a decision denounced by Hamas who said the "unilateral step" undermined reconciliation.
And for a given definition of reconciliation which means surrender to Hamas, that is quite true.
The minister of local government, Khalid Qawasmi, on Thursday told Ma'an that the PA had given Hamas two weeks to rethink its position on holding local elections
The US Air Force's massive 30,000lb bunker-buster bomb critical for striking heavily fortified Iranian nuclear facilities is "ready to go". Michael Donley, the US Air Force Secretary, said that the bomb "if it need to go today", would be available.
"We continue to do testing on the bomb to refine its capabilities, and that is ongoing," he said "We also have the capability to go with existing configuration today."
The endorsement of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) -- the world's largest conventional bomb -- comes after concerns were raised that the weapon still needed refining if was to be effective against Iran's deepest installations.
Last February Congress agreed to an "urgent" Pentagon request to divert $81.6m (£52m) into improvements for the 14-ton MOP.
The 20ft long, 1ft wide weapon will be delivered by the B2 stealth bomber, is the critical piece of military hardware that underwrites American assurances to Israel that it will neutralise Iran's nuclear facilities if diplomacy and sanctions fail. It also gives the B2 something to do...
The idea of a MOP is to penetrate. Not blow up on the surface like a daisy-cutter.
I heard that, during Desert Storm, a number of the penetrators were made from spare barrels for 8-inch naval rifles. Heavy duty stuff, iow.
So it's probable that the casing, designed to penetrate many feet of reinforced concrete, takes up the bulk of the weight and only a small--relatively speaking--volume is left for explosive.
Still, 5k lbs of HE in an enclosed space will do a hell of a lot of damage, since, being so reinforced, there's no way for the blast to get out. Except an eighteen-inch hole.
The effect of confining the blast is dramatic. In OCS, the demo was a couple of little firecrackers about an inch and a half long. Two boards with a firecracker on each. One had a handful of mud on top. Bang. The tamped 'cracker split the board and the untamped one scorched the board. The tamping blew all over as a cloud of damp dust. IOW, the explosion was only slightly confined and still had a hell of a different effect.
Imagine a blast which, quite literally, cannot escape no matter what.
And, as somebody said, the folks have to get in and out. A Hellfire a day into the elevator shaft will prevent shift change. Making an exaggerated example.
Posted by: Richard Aubrey ||
An Iranian-led shipping venture is close to collapse after struggling to steer its oil tankers and dry bulk vessels past tightening Western sanctions, a senior company official said on Thursday.
Negotiations are underway between partners Shipping Corp of India and the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) on how to split the fleet and assets of Irano Hind Shipping, and whether the nearly 40-year-old joint venture will be shut down or not.
Western sanctions aimed at pressuring Tehran to halt its disputed nuclear program prohibit U.S. and European companies from doing business with Irano Hind Shipping due to its links with state-owned IRISL.
"Under the sanctions, we were finding it more and more difficult to employ these ships. So the decision was to split the assets," SCI's Chairman S. Hajara told Reuters by phone from Germany. "Nothing has been settled yet on what will happen to the company. We are still working on it."
He said the assets of the venture, which includes four crude oil tankers and four dry bulk carriers, would be split according to the shares held by the parent companies. India's largest shipping firm, SCI, owns a 49 percent stake in the venture, while IRISL holds the remaining 51 percent.
The break-up is unlikely to have much of an impact for SCI nor IRISL, analysts said. SCI joins other Indian companies trying to distance themselves from Tehran. Indian refiners have cut oil purchases from Iran by more than a fifth, enough to win a waiver from U.S. financial sanctions.
WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration is weighing its options for more direct involvement in the Syrian civil war if the rebels opposing the Assad government can wrest enough control to create a safe haven for themselves, US officials said.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
...who won't be remembered as the next John Foster Dulles...
says it is only a matter of time before the rebels have enough territory and organisation to create such areas.
She blabbered a fair bit about how great and enlightened the Libyan rebels were too...
"More and more territory is being taken," Clinton said this week. "It will eventually result in a safe haven inside Syria, which will then provide a base for further actions by the opposition."
Officials are already starting to brainstorm how a safe zone might allow Washington to step up its assistance, which has been limited to humanitarian aid and nonlethal equipment such as medical supplies and communications gear.
A senior American official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the US is seeing "increased unity, cohesion and better military performance" among the rebels, including greater effectiveness in coordinating attacks, which the administration sees as proof the rebels are better employing the encrypted radios supplied by the US.
For now, US officials are standing by their assertion that they won't provide arms to anti-Assad forces or push for a no-fly zone over rebel-controlled areas.
The discussions on Syria come as the US and its international partners look for a possibly game-changing shift in the country's bloody, 16-month conflict.
The establishment of a safe zone would settle one issue: the lack of an actual place inside Syria for other nations to engage with the opposition on the ground and deliver supplies into the heart of the conflict.
The US would be able to shift Syrian-watching officials they have deployed in places such as Jordan and Turkey into Syria.
And governments such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar that have been providing weapons to the opposition would have a more direct pipeline for military assistance.
But officials cannot point to when the rebels might be able to carve out some autonomous space for themselves within Syria.
The rebels remain heavily outgunned by Syria's better trained forces. And while they've been able to increase the breadth of their attacks across Syria, they've been constantly forced to cede back any temporary territorial gains they make.
The only intevention I would endorse would be that of assisting both sides equally. The winner remains in your debt (as much as an Arab memory will permit). The loser.... well, he's never heard from again anyway.
A Syrian parliamentarian representing the northern province of Aleppo said she has defected to Turkey, becoming the first member of the rubberstamp assembly elected in May and dominated by President Bashar Al Assad's Baath Party to defect.
"I have crossed to Turkey and defected from this tyrannical regime ... because of the repression and savage torture against a nation demanding the minimum of rights," Ikhlas Al Badawi told Sky News Arabia.
"Please don't kill me!"
The authorities chose Badawi, to run for parliament on behalf of the "labourers and peasants" sector, a term for state backed labour and farmers unions who are guaranteed half the seats in the 250 seat assembly.
Badawi, a mother of six, was also a member of the Baath Party, which took power in 1963 military coup that destroyed the country's democratic institutions in favour of a Soviet style political system dominated by Assad's Alawite sect.
He seemed to do well as a Baath party member. Lived large. Pro'ly got his kids into the best schools. Wonder if any of the rebels will trust him?
[Ma'an] Most Paleostinian factions have remained in Syria, with the exception of Hamas, always the voice of sweet reason, whose leaders have relocated, officials in Syria said Thursday.
Most Hamas leaders have fled Syria despite the movement's insistence that it was not seeking to move its politburo from Damascus ...Capital of the last remaining Baathist regime in the world... . Only some local Hamas leaders in refugee camps remain, local officials told Ma'an.
Meanwhile, ...back at the comedy club, Boogie was cracking himself up, but nobody else seemed to be getting the non-stop jokes... leaders of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Paleostine ... Paleostinian Marxist movement, founded in 1967. It is considered a terrorist organization by more than 30 countries including the U.S., European Union, Australia, Canada, and Antarctica. The PFLP's stated goal is the establishment of a socialist State in Paleostine. They pioneered armed aircraft hijackings in the late 60s and early 70s... , Fatah and Islamic Jihad ...created after many members of the Egyptian Moslem Brotherhood decided the organization was becoming too moderate. Operations were conducted out of Egypt until 1981 when the group was exiled after the liquidation of President Anwar Sadat. They worked out of Gaza until they were exiled to Lebanon in 1987, where they clove tightly to Hezbollah. In 1989 they moved to Damascus, where they remain a subsidiary of Hezbollah... stayed in Syria amid the bloody 16-month uprising against Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Leveler of Latakia... , the officials say.
Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Ramadan Shallah visited Syria in mid-July before heading to Cairo, sources in the movement told Ma'an.
Sheikh Nafeth Azzam, Islamic Jihad politburo member, has previously denied that the movement's leadership in Syria had moved its headquarters to Tehran.
Hamza Abu Shanab of the Gazoo-based Paleostinian Coalition for the Syrian Revolution told Ma'an on Tuesday that 105 families originally from the Gazoo Strip had returned through Egypt's Rafah crossing since the weekend.
Paleostinian sources in Syria told Ma'an that most of those who fled to Gazoo were living in Syria as residents and not refugees, while some had been exiled to the country.