Afghanistan's parliament voted Saturday to dismiss the country's defense and interior ministers.
Parliament had expressed concern ...meaning the brow was mildly wrinkled, the eyebrows drawn slightly together, and a thoughtful expression assumed, not that anything was actually done or indeed that any thought was actually expended... s after questioning the two about security lapses, including cross-border attacks blamed on Pakistain.
Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak and Interior Minister Bismullah Mohammadi were the top ministers in President Hamid Maybe I'll join the Taliban Karzai ... A former Baltimore restaurateur, now 12th and current President of Afghanistan, displacing the legitimate president Rabbani in December 2004. He was installed as the dominant political figure after the removal of the Taliban regime in late 2001 in a vain attempt to put a Pashtun face on the successor state to the Taliban. After the 2004 presidential election, he was declared president regardless of what the actual vote count was. He won a second, even more dubious, five-year-term after the 2009 presidential election. His grip on reality has been slipping steadily since around 2007, probably from heavy drug use... 's Cabinet. Their dismissal comes even as Karzai is trying to show stability in his government ahead of the withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan.
LONDON - Somalia's pirates could be granted an amnesty if they release hostages and return captured vessels to their owners, transitional president Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed told the London Times.
The head of Somalia's corruption-riddled government, whose current mandate expires next month, said he was prepared to let off the 2,000 pirates thought to be operating off the troubled nation's coast in comments published in Friday's Times.
"Those who leave behind what they have done will be forgiven," he said, after campaigning in Balad, 40 kilometres north of Mogadishu. "The government will make clear that the doors are open, if they want to come in."
Sharif, who faces competition for the presidency from parliament speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan, was linked to alleged graft in a UN report leaked earlier this month that called for corrupt leaders to face Security Council sanctions. The report contained claims that Sharif had given a diplomatic passport to pirate ringleader Mohamed Abide Hassan as an inducement to wind down his network.
Local tax collections from pirates are down. Panic stations, men - where did our hard currency go? How do we import all those TV's and iPad's from Nairobi ... without these pirates??? Get back in business matey's!!!
JUBA: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday urged South Sudan and Sudan to end an oil dispute that has brought the neighbors to the brink of war, in the highest-level visit of a US official to Juba since its independence a year ago.
Clinton visited Africa's newest nation for the first time on Friday, hours after a US Security Council deadline expired for the neighbors to solve a long list of disputes ranging from border security to oil payments. Clinton said both nations should reach an oil agreement as a first step to end hostilities. Juba sent both economies into turmoil when it shut down its oil output in January to stop Khartoum seizing oil for what the latter called unpaid fees.
"Now we need to get those (oil) resources flowing again," Clinton told reporters after meeting South Sudan's President Salva Kiir for more than one hour in his office where she hugged him upon arrival.
Because the US would rather buy oil from despicable thugs and oil tics than drill for it at home...
"A percentage of something is better than a percentage of nothing," she said, referring to the importance of an oil deal.
"Both countries will need to compromise to close the remaining gaps between them," she said during her 3-hour visit to Juba, part of an 11-nation African tour.
The African Union has been trying to mediate between the neighbors but talks have made little progress. Both sides have made some concessions in oil talks but remain far apart from a deal. Prior to her Juba visit, Clinton called Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti on Wednesday to signal continued US support for both nations to settle all disputes peacefully, Sudanese state news agency SUNA said.
CAIRO: Egypt's President Muhammed Mursi has pledged to guarantee security for tourists.
Talk is cheap...
"After the revolution, Egyptians are intent on assuring security for all visitors," the president said on a visit to Luxor in southern Egypt, quoted by the MENA news agency. "Egypt is safer than before and open to all, and Luxor will remain the capital of tourism and antiquities."
Mursi promised tourists visiting the temples of Luxor and Karnak "to make every effort to prevent anything that could damage tourism again."
"Here, you have security. Move around freely and make the most of Egypt's climate and ancient civilization. We will do everything possible to ensure you enjoy your stay in Egypt," he said, voicing optimism for the winter season.
So they need the foreign exchange more than they need the religious purity, do they...
Tourism, one of the main sources of Egypt's revenue and employment, was badly hit during and after the popular uprising which ousted president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011. However, the sector has been recovering with the number of tourists rising 32 percent in the first quarter of 2012, industry officials said, as compared to the same period last year.
Despite the recovery, the first-quarter figures were a sharp 27.8 percent lower than those registered in the same period of 2010. The recovery has been faster in Sinai and at the Red Sea resorts.
The girl was murdered by her Pak parents for her Western ways. And it was her little sister who bravely told jurors how her mother and father suffocated the 17-year-old with a plastic bag -- gripping testimony that led to her parents' murder conviction on Friday.
Justice Roderick Evans sentenced Iftikhar, 52, and Farzana Ahmed, 49, to life in prison for killing their daughter, Shafilea Ahmed, in 2003. The couple -- first cousins from the Pak village of Uttam -- were ordered to serve a minimum of 25 years in prison.
Convicted by the diary of a friend of one of the sisters. Contemporaneous diary entries corroborated the witness of the little sister, who was only ten when it happened. More details at the link.
North Korean leader Fat Boy Kim Jong-un has held his first meeting with a foreign delegation since he took power after the death of his father, Kim Jong Il.
China's official Xinhua news agency and the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency said Kim held talks Thursday with Wang Jiarui, head of the International Liaison Department of China's Communist Party, and other Chinese officials. Xinhua quoted Wang as saying Beijing is ready to work jointly to maintain high-level contacts and boost practical cooperation.
Kim was cited as saying his government is focused on developing the economy and improving people's livelihoods.
It is not known whether the two sides discussed six-party talks on the North's nuclear disarmament.
ION WORLD NEWS > US WARNS CHINA ON MOVES TO DOMINATE SOUTH CHINA SEA.
Recovery of ancient or alleged lost territories, massive new UW resources, control or blockade of world-votal Strait of Malaccas, + set up of PLA Naval, Air bridgehead to the Philipines, Indonesia, PNG, + bulk if SE Asia.
* TOPIX > STROM WARNINGS: SOUTH CHINA SEA REFLECTS DANGER OF [proposed US] DEFENCE CUTS.
* SAME > [US]EXPERT: CHINA MUST ABIDE BY UNCLOS.
* TOPIX, WORLD NEWS > FACTBOX: JAPAN MILITARY WELL-ARMED [+ well-trained], BUT UNTESTED IN BATTLE, since 1945.
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's top court yesterday struck down a new law exempting members of the government from being tried for contempt, clearing the way for legal proceedings against the prime minister.
This really has become a cage match...
Parliament passed the bill last month after the Supreme Court dismissed Yousaf Raza Gilani as prime minister and convicted him of contempt for refusing to reopen multi-million-dollar corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.
But on Friday, a five-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry declared the law "unconstitutional."
New Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf now has until Aug. 8 to indicate whether he will follow a court order to write to authorities in Switzerland, asking them to reopen the cases against Zardari. Last month, the Supreme Court made veiled threats Ashraf could suffer the same fate as Gilani if he refuses to do so.
For more than two years, the government has resisted judges' demands to reopen investigations into Zardari, arguing he enjoys immunity as head of state. The showdown could force elections before February 2013 when the government would become the first in Pakistan's history to complete an elected, full five-year mandate.
The allegations against Zardari date back to the 1990s, when he and his wife, late premier Benazir Bhutto, are suspected of using Swiss bank accounts to launder $12 million allegedly paid in bribes by companies seeking customs inspection contracts.
The Swiss shelved the cases in 2008 when Zardari became president and the government insists the president has full immunity as head of state. mBut in 2009 the Supreme Court overturned a political amnesty that had frozen investigations into the president and other politicians, ordering that the cases be reopened.
Zardari had already signed the contempt law, which sought to exempt government figures, including the president, prime minister and cabinet ministers from contempt for acts performed as part of their job.
Released man said behind 2006 Dahab bombings, and 2011 murder of Italian in Gazoo; Israel has urged citizens to leave peninsula for fear of attacks
Hamas, always the voice of sweet reason, freed a Salafi leader of an al-Qaeda affiliated terror group, it was reported Friday. His group is believed to have close ties with terror cells currently operating in the Sinai.
Israel reportedly believes the terrorist, Abu Walid Al-Maqdisi, who was set free after some 17 months on Thursday, was the criminal mastermind of three bombings in Dahab in Egypt's SInai Peninsula that killed more than 20 people in 2006 and fears his release could lead to more such attacks.
Channel 2 News analyst Ehud Ya'ari said Friday that Hamas had released an individual who may carry out terror attacks in Sinai.
Al-Maqdisi, an Egyptian previously residing in Gazoo whose real name is Hisham al-Saidni, is the head of Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad, an Islamic thug group that also is believed to have kidnapped, and killed, Italian peace activist Vittorio Arrigoni in Gazoo in April 2011. The release of al-Maqdisi had been one of the conditions set forth by the terror group when it seized Arrigoni.
Gazoo's Hamas rulers had incarcerated Yez got nuttin' on me, coppers! Nuttin'! al-Maqdisi in March 2011 for attempting to disrupt public order.
On Thursday, Israel's Counterterrorism Bureau warned its citizens to leave Sinai immediately.
"We possess information that Gazoo terror groups and others are planning attacks on Israeli tourists in the immediate future," the government agency said in a statement.
Based on intelligence collected by the bureau, faceless myrmidons belonging to global Jihad organizations and Paleostinian terror groups plan to kill or abduct Israeli tourists and will target beaches and resorts known to be favored by them.
The travel warning instructed Israelis planning to travel to Sinai not to go -- and called on families to make immediate contact with relatives who are currently there to try to bring them back to Israel.
According to Channel 2 News, there are currently several hundred Israelis vacationing in the Sinai, most of them Arab Israelis.
Israel has issued travel advisories for Sinai before. But the security warnings and travel notices have increased since Hosni Mubarak ...The former President-for-Life of Egypt, dumped by popular demand in early 2011... was toppled in 2011 and amid rising lawlessness among Bedouin tribes.
Egyptian officials dismissed the Israeli warning on Friday, claiming it was concocted by Israeli tourism companies in an effort to scare Israelis out of Egyptian hotels and draw them to Israeli ones.
An unnamed Egyptian official told the German news agency that the Sinai Peninsula was under the control of Egyptian authorities and that there are no faceless myrmidons operating there.
The Dahab bombings took place on April 24, 2006, at a restaurant, a cafe and a market. A reported 23 people were killed -- mainly Egyptians, but also a German, Lebanese, Russian, Swiss, and a Hungarian. Dozens were maimed, including Israeli, American and Paleostinian tourists. The blasts were said to be suicide kabooms, carried out by Bedouin, orchestrated by Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad.
British public opinion regarding Israel is turning because of its hardline policies towards the Palestinians, the UK ambassador has warned. In an unusually forthright interview on Israeli television, Matthew Gould said that an increasing number of Britons see Israel as "Goliath" and the Palestinians as "David" -- a mirror image of the Jewish state's narrative of itself.
"Support for Israel is starting to erode and that's not about these people on the fringe who are shouting loudly and calling for boycotts and all the rest of it," he told the Channel 10 television station. "The centre ground, the majority, the British public may not be expert but they are not stupid and they see a stream of announcements about new building in settlements, they read stories about what's going on the West Bank, they read about restrictions in Gaza."
Mr Gould also said he had detected a shift in attitude against Israel among centrist MPs in Britain amid growing frustration with the lack of progress in the peace process.
Although his comments will irritate the Israeli right, which has always viewed Britain as pro-Palestinian, they have prompted a debate in the country, not least because Mr Gould is Jewish and is seen as a friend of Israel. Government officials said they had "taken note" of his message.
Israelis are well aware that international support for their country has dwindled, but many are convinced that the problem is one of image rather than substance. Frequent seminars are held to find ways of improving the perception of Israel abroad, something Israelis call "hasbara".
But Mr Gould said that public relations campaigns to justify Israeli policies would not remedy the problem.
Although many older Britons remain bitter over Jewish terrorist attacks against British servicemen in mandate-era Palestine in the 1940s, the post-war generation warmed to Israel, admiring its perceived pluck during conflicts with the Arab world in the 1960s and 1970s that called into question the Jewish state's survival.
But buoyed by vast sums of US aid, Israel is now the unquestioned military powerhouse in the Middle East, while the Palestinians seem no closer to achieving a state of their own years after the last suicide bombing in Israel.
Britain will provide more "non-lethal support" for Syria's rebels as the bloodshed inside the country worsens, William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, said.
In the aftermath of Kofi Annan's resignation as peace envoy -- which Mr Hague termed a "bleak moment, not only for the country's people but for our diplomatic efforts" -- Britain would do more to hasten the downfall of President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
A European Union arms embargo prevents the export of weapons to any party in Syria's conflict, but Britain is helping the rebels in other ways. "Given the scale of death and suffering and the failure so far of the diplomatic process, we will, over the coming weeks, increase our practical but non-lethal support," said Mr Hague. "We have helped them with communications and matters of that kind, and we will help them more."
But the Foreign Secretary ruled out sending armaments.
There is no military solution for Syria crisis and the issue can be resolved through a political approach, visiting Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said here on Friday, IRNA reported. Speaking to reporters at a press conference, he noted that Iran supports peaceful solution for Syrian crisis.
"Middle East is engaged in deep and speedy developments, including the Syria and Bahrain unrests; although Bashar Al-Assad's reform plan is in progress speedily but Syria is still involved in a war with terrorist gangs supported by outside countries; some US officials and regional countries are pursuing ways to equip rebels with semi-heavy weapons; sorely weaponization of various terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda members in Syria, by US and some regional countries still continues."
The high-ranking official underlined that the Syrian army was successful in its defense of Damascus and clearing of the Aleppo from terrorist gangs.
"Iran and Russia have similar stance toward the Syrian crisis and both stress the fulfillment of Bashar al-Assad's reform plan; Moscow and Tehran condemn foreign interference in Syria and warn about spreading of Syrian unrest to the other parts of the region; the efforts done by some UN Security Council member states and regional countries to bring Kofi Annan's peace mission to an end is sorrowful; Tehran and Moscow are still firm about their support for Annan's peace plan."
Amir-Abdollahian underscored that foreign military invasion against Syria is unlikely and Damascus is needless of Iran's military support, noting that it has been years that Damascus has been fully prepared to respond to any foreign raid, including war with Zionist regime.
Amir-Abdollahian is in Russia for a one day visit to the country.
The statement added that the foreign countries have never been sincere about their claims on trying to help the Syrian government to pass through the crisis and they have even tried to make Annan's plan to fail by supporting the terrorist groups and giving shelter to them.
Meantime, the statement stressed that Syria has always proven its commitment to Annan's plan and it has always cooperated with the international observers in Syria.
Azerbaijan, Baku -- Firing damaged some of unites of Iran's biggest Imam Khomeini petrochemical complex, Mehr reported on Friday.
Operation Lemony Snickett continues...
As a result of fire, four killed and 16 people injured, Mehr quoted the governor of the province Mahshehr Manouchehr Hayat. He said the cause of the fire was a gas leak. Fire is extinguished. According to the agency, the number of victims exceeds declared.
It is the second time this year that fire break out at the country's biggest petrochemical facility. Earlier, in February some of units of this complex fired because of "technical reasons".
The complex produces oil byproducts including fuel. It is the biggest petrochemical production complex in Iran with 4 million tons production capacity per year.
MOSCOW: The Russian Defense Ministry denied reports Friday that the country is sending three warships carrying some 360 marines total to the Syrian port of Tartus.
The reports, which quoted an unnamed military official, said the vessels were sailing to Tartus to pick up supplies.
The vessels were expected to spend several days there before heading back to the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk, according to the reports, two of which were from state-owned news agencies.
But the Defense Ministry dismissed the accounts, saying in a statement that it had no such plans and that the ships had enough supplies.