On this day in history: May 8th.
1541 Hernando de Soto reaches the Mississippi River and names it Río de Espíritu Santo.
1846 The Battle of Palo Alto Zachary Taylor defeats a Mexican force north of the Rio Grande in the first major battle of the war.
1886 Pharmacist John Styth Pemberton invents a carbonated beverage that would later be named "Coca-Cola".
1902 In Martinique, Mount Pelée erupts, destroying the town of Saint-Pierre and killing over 30,000 people. Only a handful of residents survive the blast.
1914 Paramount Pictures is formed.
1942 The Battle of the Coral Sea comes to an end with Japanese Imperial Navy aircraft carrier aircraft attacking and sinking the United States Navy aircraft carrier USS Lexington.
1945 Combat in Europe ends in World War II: V-E Day. German forces agree to an unconditional surrender.
1970 The Hard Hat riot occurs in the Wall Street area of New York City as blue-collar construction workers clash with anti-war demonstrators protesting the Vietnam War.
1972 President Richard M. Nixon announces his order to place mines in major North Vietnamese ports in order to stem the flow of weapons and other goods to that nation.
1976 The rollercoaster Revolution (roller coaster), the first steel coaster with a vertical flip, opens at Six Flags Magic Mountain.
A suicide bomber killed 12 people in southern Afghanistan on Thursday, while the police opened fire at rock-throwing protesters, enraged at the civilian deaths that they allege were caused by American bombing. The suicide bomber, riding a motorbike, set off explosives near a coalition forces vehicle in the Gereshk district market area in the Helmand province. The explosion killed 12 people and wounded at least 32, said Daud Ahmadi, spokesman for the Gereshk governor.
Posted by: Fred ||
05/08/2009 00:00 ||
Top|| File under: Taliban
[Mail and Globe] Somali pirates seized a small Dutch vessel on Thursday with eight crew members on board, in the latest hijacking in the world's most dangerous waterways, a regional maritime group said. "It happened in the Gulf of Aden two hours ago. That's all I have at the moment," Andrew Mwangura, coordinator of the Kenya-based East African Seafarers Assistance Programme, told Reuters.
Somali pirate activity has been frenetic in recent weeks, despite an unprecedented international naval deployment in the area intended to deter gangs marauding in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden waters off their coast.
Pirates freed a UAE-owned cargo ship freed on Wednesday and captured an Antigua and Barbuda-flagged vessel the day before. They are holding about 18 ships with about 250 hostages, according to local piracy monitoring groups.
Posted by: Fred ||
05/08/2009 00:00 ||
Top|| File under: Pirates
Nepal Maoists have detained some "suspicious" people for "interrogation" on charges of leaking a video footages of caretaker Prime Minister Prachandas controversial instruction to his PLA guerrillas, a news report said on Thursday.
The 16-month-old video footages, which was aired by a private television channel immediately after Prachanda stepped down from the premier's post, showed the Maoist supremo giving instructions to his cadres, saying his real motive was to capture state power and the participation in the election last year was just a political strategy.
The Maoists have started "interrogation" of the people involved in the shooting of the videos and other audio-video programmes of the party, Image FM radio said, quoting party sources.
Prachanda told mediapersons on Wednesday that his party is seriously probing into the leak of the footage though he was not bothered about it.
As per the footage, Prachanda told his party cadres that their real strength of the guerrilla force PLA was little more than 7,000 and not 35,000 as claimed earlier to the UNMIN monitors.
Maoist supremo Prachanda had told the cadres that his party's main objective was to capture power and for that he was planning to merge 20,000 guerrillas verified by the UN into the Nepal Army. He had said that the party was buying more weapons for their army as their final objective is to capture power. The footage was taken in January 2008, just two months before the Constituent Assembly polls.
However, Prachanda has clarified that the footage was taken in different circumstances and it does not apply in the present context. He clarified that the Maoists are now committed to multi-party democracy, human rights and press freedom and they will not run away by abandoning the peace process.
During a press conference on Wednesday Prachanda alleged that the tape was made public at this sensitive time to defame the Maoists and derail the peace process. Nepali Congress has raised serious concern over the footage of Prachanda.
Nepal has descended into political crisis on Sunday when President Ram Baran Yadav overruled Prime Minister Prachanda's order to sack Army Chief Gen Rukmangad Katawal.
The President's action to reinstate the army chief prompted Prachanda to resign, sparking a political crisis in the country, which has been struggling to establish a democracy after the abolition of the unpopular 240-year old monarchy last year.
The move also shattered the Himalayan nation's fragile stability - achieved after the Maoists ended their decade-long insurgency and joined mainstream politics after a 2006 peace deal with the interim government led by G.P. Koirala.
Late last year, four Keralites training with a Lashkar-e-Taiba unit in the Kupwara mountains, along the Line of Control in northern Kashmir, were shot dead by security forces. And since the September shootout, the police in Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala have been scrambling to unravel the threads that tied Indian Mujahideen groups in the south to each other and to the Lashkar. But the investigations also show that the Indian Mujahideen was fed and watered by transnational financial networks: networks linked both to diasporic Islamists living in west Asia and Pakistan-based organisations like the Lashkar.
From the story of Ernakulam-born computer engineer Sarfaraz Nawaz, who was expelled by the Oman authorities earlier this year, investigators have been able to understand the relationship between domestic terror and diaspora cash. Like so many Indian Mujahideen-linked figures, Nawazs journey into jihad began in the Students Islamic Movement of Indias study groups.
Nawaz began attending SIMI meetings in 1995, soon after he graduated from high school. He became an Ikhwan or full-time SIMI member within a year and by March 2000 was made a member of the now-proscribed Islamist organisations central committee. While in New Delhi, where he also served as the SIMIs office secretary, Nawaz developed a close relationship with several key members of what would later become the organisations jihad faction, including Safdar Nagori, Yahya Kamakutty and Peedical Abdul Shibly.
When the SIMI was proscribed in 2001, Nawaz decided to move abroad. He first found work in a computer firm operating out of Ibra, in Oman, and later joined the Ajman-based Ibn Sina Medical Centre, which was owned by the former Kerala SIMI president Abdul Ghafoor. Later, other SIMI contacts helped him to find a job in Dubai. Finally, in July 2006 Nawaz moved back to Muscat and began working at the al-Noor Education Trust, which offered computer courses. Newly married and prosperous, Nawaz appeared to live the kind of quiet life most in the Indian diaspora aspire to. But the Oman authorities now believe the appearance was intended to deceive.
Soon after returning to Muscat, the investigators say, Nawaz made contact with Abdul Aziz al-Hooti, a Muscat-based businessman with substantial interests in the automobile business and the Lashkar. Hooti, in turn, introduced Nawaz to a ranking Pakistani Lashkar operative, who is so far known only by the aliases Rehan and Wali.
Early in 2008, the police in Hyderabad and Bangalore believe, Nawaz and Rehan met in Dubai to finalise funding for two important projects. In Hyderabad, fugitive Indian Mujahideen commander Tadiyantavide Nasir was preparing several Keralites to journey across the Line of Control to Lashkar training camps in Pakistan. Nasir used his position as an instructor at the citys Jamia Arifiya Nooriya seminary to recruit volunteers. He set up a safe house in Madikere, near Coorg, for their basic indoctrination.
In August, 2008, Rehan allegedly provided the funds and contacts that led the first group of volunteers travel to Jammu and Kashmir. The Indian Mujahideen units also needed funding, Nawaz was told, to execute a series of bombings in Bangalore. Rehan and Hooti, the Bangalore police say, asked Nawaz to travel to India for an on-site briefing about these plans. Both men were evidently impressed by what he found, for an estimated 2,500 Oman Rials was despatched to the Indian Mujahideen through a Kannur-based hawala dealer.
Later, the investigators say, Dhaka-based Lashkar operative Mubashir Shahid provided more money to secure Nasirs escape into Bangladesh and to compensate the families of the men killed in Jammu and Kashmir.
Police officers involved in the Nawaz investigation believe that several similar funding networks fed different elements of the Indian Mujahideen. Indian Mujahideen co-founder Sadiq Sheikh, for example, lived in Dubai for several months with the help of ganglord Aftab Ansari and his lieutenant Amir Reza Khan. During his stay, Sheikh said in a statement to the Hyderabad Police, he discovered that key Indian Mujahideen commander Riyaz Ismail Shahbandri also visited the city to raise funds.
Sheikh never met with Shahbandris contacts, but it seems likely that Nawaz himself was in touch with several SIMI-linked figures who were engaged in fundraising for jihadist groups. Important among them was CAM Basheer, a fugitive SIMI leader, who is thought to be living in Sharjah using fake identification. Basheer, police sources say, visited Nawaz in Muscat at least once and carried funds intended to facilitate Nasirs efforts to recruit jihadists in Kerala. Maulana Abdul Bari, a Hyderabad cleric last sighted in Saudi Arabia, is also thought to have raised funds in the diaspora for the training of jihadist cadre recruited in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
At least five people were killed and eight others injured in a clash between the Taliban and a local lashkar (tribal militia) in Hangu district on Thursday, locals said. They said the Taliban had abducted three people from Sanjikhel tribe. The lashkar followed them to get the men released. Amir Nawaz, Noorullah, Noor Wali, Faizullah and Akhtar Jan were killed in the ensuing gunfight.
Taliban blew up a high school in Darra Adam Khel, a private TV channel reported on Thursday. According to the channel, Taliban planted explosives in a government high school in the Bosti Khel area in Darra Adam Khel that went off with a bang. The blast damaged the building, however, no loss of life was reported, the channel said. The political administration has launched an investigation into the incident, it added.
[Geo News] Security forces continued battling militants on the 10th consecutive day here as thousands of residents are fleeing the area. Attack helicopters and warplanes pounded suspected militants hideouts in Sultanwas, Elam and Gundai as the government vowed a decisive victory in the deadliest fighting to grip the restive Buner. Thousands of civilians streamed out of the Taliban stronghold and former tourist paradise on foot or crammed into cars, as aid workers warned that the humanitarian crisis was escalating in the area. Residents said they were hard hit by both the bombardment by government forces and the guerrilla tactics of the Taliban, who have terrorised the population in Buner by kidnapping and killing their opponents. Sources said that fierce clash between militants and security forces are being reported in Kalpani and Diwana Baba. Meanwhile, militants continue occupying the shrine of Pir Baba in Buner.
Jet fighters and helicopter gunships pounded Taliban hideouts and centres in various parts of Swat and Lower Dir on Thursday, killing 60 Taliban.
"We have carried out airstrikes today on known centres of militants killing around 60 [Taliban] in Swat and Lower Dir," chief military spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas told Daily Times by telephone from Islamabad.
Military sources said 12 Taliban were killed in Shamoozai area in Kabal tehsil of Swat and eight others in Malam Jaba. Fourteen Taliban were killed in Matta, Shahdheri and Kooza Cheena.
Taliban commander Ibne Aqil was also reported killed in counter-attack by the police when the Taliban attacked Matta police station, military sources said.
Nine soldiers: "In 24 hours, we lost nine soldiers and about 10 of them [were] injured," General Abbas told AFP. Seven of the soldiers were killed when Taliban ambushed a convoy at the entrance to Mingora.
Two soldiers were killed in the valley north of Matta," the military spokesman told the news agency.
In Lower Dir, district administration officials said the Taliban abducted 11 paramilitary troops after attacking the Malakand Levies Fort in Chakdara. They said three soldiers had been killed in the attack.
Security forces launched an offensive on April 26 to expel the Taliban from two of Swat's neighbouring districts, Lower Dir and Buner.
Security has deteriorated sharply in Swat as armed Taliban started patrol in the restive valley.
The International Committee of the Red Cross warned that a humanitarian crisis was escalating in the area, AFP reported. It said the government had made preparations for up to half a million displaced from Swat. The Taliban have claimed to control "more than 90 percent" of Swat, it said.
I'm not exactly sure how our beloved TW offended thee but dude - chill.
By being a female that feels free to speak.
Posted by: Mike N. ||
05/08/2009 15:56 Comments ||
Everyday a Wildcat(KSU), poor Mr. Justice has had a childish crush on me for several years. I don't recall if he's Saudi or Pakistani, but he seems to feel the need to visit Rantburg and post his revealing little fantasies after Friday services at the mosque. At one point he was dreaming about my armpit hair, some months later about my luxuriant moustaches. Perhaps he imagines in me what he lacks in himself? At any rate, he demonstrates quite clearly the outcomes of close-cousin marriage continued over the centuries, as well as the emotional damage wrought by certain overly traditional household set-ups.
I am quite puzzled as to why he would think the colour pink an insult, though. Perhaps it didn't translate well from his native idiom.
this sounds like a broken record, we will hear of a ceaee fie in a couple days which the taliban will once again regroup and continue taking oner parts of Pakiland, one good thing could come out of this and it would be that they will keep fighting and that may draw alot of the fighters out of afghanistan or into the open where we can pick them off trying too cross the border by into wakiland
[Al Arabiya Latest] U.S. security firm Blackwater ended its operations in Iraq on Thursday closing a controversial era for the company whose guards shot dead 17 civilians in Baghdad in 2007. "The task order for security protection operations held by Blackwater comes to an end today in Baghdad," American embassy spokeswoman Susan Ziadeh said, adding that Triple Canopy will replace it.
Triple Canopy, a Virginia-based firm, was appointed at the end of March by the U.S. State Department to take over the multi-million-dollar contract to protect U.S. government personnel working in Iraq. Linked agreements such as that for Presidential Airways, part of Blackwater that operates helicopter escorts throughout the country for secure air travel, will expire soon, Ziadeh added.
The State Department refused to renew annual contracts in January for Blackwater which renamed itself Xe after the Iraqi government banned it in January over the killings in Baghdad's Nisur Square on Sept. 16, 2007. An Iraqi investigation found that 17 civilians died and 20 were wounded when Blackwater guards opened fire with automatic weapons while escorting an American diplomatic convoy through the square. U.S. prosecutors say 14 civilians were killed in the incident.
One former Blackwater guard pleaded guilty to manslaughter charges and co-operated with prosecutors while five others pleaded not guilty at a federal court in Washington in January and are still awaiting trial.
The shooting focused a spotlight on the shadowy and highly lucrative operations of private security operations. Blackwater guards were reported to earn as much as $1,000 a day each in Iraq.
Anne Tyrrell, a spokeswoman for Xe, said the firm remains proud of its work in Iraq. "We are honored to have provided this service for five years and are proud of our success - no one under our protection has been killed or even seriously injured," she said.
SINGAPORE: Details of the capture of Singapore's fugitive Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) leader Mas Selamat Kastari on April 1 in Johor Bahru have emerged as both the Singapore and Malaysian governments confirm his arrest. In a statement on Friday, Singapore's Home Affairs Ministry said: "Mas Selamat has been arrested by the Malaysian Special Branch (MSB) in a joint operation between the MSB and the Internal Security Department (ISD)." Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng said Singapore is happy that Mas Selamat has been arrested. Mr Wong added that the public was not informed earlier of the capture so as not to compromise operations and jeopardise sources of information.
Singapore's Internal Security Department (ISD) had worked hard and looked at every lead, sharing information with its Malaysian counterpart. Mr Wong also said that the MSB had done excellent work. "Between ISD and MSB, there is a long standing cooperative cordial relationship and as a result of this kind of relationship, we are able to keep each of our countries safe and also contribute to the safety and security of the region," said Mr Wong. For now, the JI leader will remain in Malaysia as the authorities there want to continue interviewing him.
When asked why the public could not be informed earlier, Mr Wong explained that there is a need for operational secrecy. He added that Malaysia wanted to investigate what other terrorist networks were up to. The deputy prime minister said Singaporeans must maintain vigilance and not let their guard down following Mas Selamat's arrest as the terror threat is real and Singapore is a prime target. With Singapore's long coastline, Mr Wong said Singaporeans must not assume the country is safe as there are other JI members who have not been detained.
He said: "Singapore is a small country. It has a long coastline, it is porous, and it is easy for people and goods to be brought in or even leave Singapore. So you should not assume just by the arrest of one person, Singapore will be safe from terrorists threat."
Mr Wong said Mas Selamat will be sent to the Whitley Road Detention Centre again when he is brought back to Singapore. He added that the centre is now a different place compared to what it was when the JI leader escaped on February 27 last year. He also revealed that Mas Selamat had swam across the Straits of Johor using an improvised flotation device to escape from the north shore of Singapore in February last year.
Separately, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry S Iswaran said the arrest of Mas Salamat is a welcome piece of news to Singaporeans. He said the JI leader's arrest speaks highly of security forces involved in the operation.
"It's a tribute to the professionalism of the intelligence agencies. They worked across borders with their partners to secure his eventual arrest."
Click here to view the video [WMV]. Don't miss the Tigers running over a dog at 0:55. You can get a good look at what LTTE cadres look like as well as the Tamil civilian worker/slaves. Near the end it shows a Tiger in civilian clothes shooting a twin 20mm AA gun in direct fire mode (the gun promptly jams).
An LTTE video recovered from the possession of a dead LTTE terrorist by the 58 Division during ground advances made into general area South of Vellamullivaikkal have proved the LTTE's use of civilians as forced labour.
The video footage provides substantial evidence on the heinous crimes perpetrated by LTTE against innocent civilians held at gun point.
The video shows footage of terrorists in civilian attire firing at both security forces and fleeing hostages by a pedal gun fixed to an armour-plated 'Unicorn' type vehicle. In the background, civilians brought to build earth bunds are forced to camouflage the vehicle with leaves and branches. The video clearly shows another LTTE cameraman who is positioned to video any form of military retaliation towards the terrorists, taking cover among the civilians brought to forced labour. This is what they do and this is the very sort of footage extracted by international media to carry spread the LTTE's spin on the ground reality, the defence observer further stated.
According to the correspondent, the Army has destroyed two such Unicorn type vehicles, one earlier during confrontations at Puthumathalan.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.