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Saturday, August 14, 2004

BBC > Scores die in Burundi camp raid

Gunmen have killed at least 130 people in a raid on a camp for Congolese Tutsi refugees in Burundi, a UN spokesperson says.
The Gatumba camp, near the border with DR Congo, provides shelter for 4,000 refugees who fled DR Congo in June.
Survivors accuse Hutu militia groups supported by the Congolese government of having carried out the attack.
Most of the refugees, known as Banyamulenge, fled the Sud-Kivu region in eastern DR Congo.

BBC > AU troops set to arrive in Darfur AU troops set to arrive in Darfur

A force of 150 Rwandan troops are expected to arrive in Sudan over the weekend to protect African Union (AU) ceasefire monitors in Darfur.
Rwandan Foreign Minister Charles Murigande said their mandate did not include the protection of civilians.
But the deployment of 2,500 AU peacekeepers is being considered, UN special envoy Jan Pronk said.
More than a million people have been driven from their homes since the conflict started 18 months ago.
'Gentle African pressure'
Despite Sudan's rejection earlier this week of an AU proposal to send a larger force with authority to protect civilians, it appears pressure is mounting on the Khartoum government to consider a peacekeeping force.
"Discussions are ongoing to find a solution that will be much more satisfactory," Mr Murigande told the BBC.

BBC > US bombers raid Sunni Iraqi city

Air strikes by US planes on the largely Sunni Iraqi city of Samarra have killed at least eight people and injured 40, hospital officials in the city said.
The US military said it had killed "about 50 insurgents" in strikes which began after midnight (2000 GMT Friday) after arms searches on the ground.
A fragile truce has been holding in Najaf, the Shia city at the centre of anti-US unrest in Iraq this week.
But reports speak of heavy casualties overnight in another Shia city, Hilla.
Militants loyal to Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr attacked Iraqi police in the city.
North of Baghdad, local people in Samarra said the US bombs had struck two houses in separate districts, the AP news agency reported.
The US military said a number of 230 kilogram (500-pound) bombs had been dropped on "known enemy locations" near the city.
Samarra, about 95km (60 miles) from Baghdad and with a population of about 200,000, has long been a stronghold of elements opposed to the US-led occupation.

Manorama Online, Malaysia > Colourful opening to Athens games

Athens: The Athens Games were declared open here on Friday night by Greek President Costis Stephanopoulos in a lavish and colourful pageant that brought to life the long history and culture of the country which gave the world the quadrennial celebration of sports.

It was a spectacular homecoming ceremony commencing with the flaming rings formed inside a man-made sea in the middle of the Olympic Stadium and culminating with fireworks that lit up the night sky above the Greek capital.

Among the several highlights of the magnificent tableaux was the lighting of the Olympic cauldron, which bent its neck like a giraffe to enable 1996 Greek windsurfing champion Nikolaos Kaklamanakis to light it from the Games torch after it was relayed inside the stadium.

International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge, in his address to the gathering of athletes from around the world, entreated them to "give us reasons to believe in sports by refusing dopes and by respecting fair play."

"We need peace, we need tolerance, we need brotherhood", was his message to the 72,000 spectators and the large number of athletes present at the opening ceremony which was also watched by a huge global TV audience of four billion.

"You athletes from 202 countries, show us that sports unites by overriding national, political, religious and language barriers. May the Games bring Olympic truce that was created here", was his fervent wish in his speech during the opening extravaganza.

Just prior to his address, Athens Games organising committee chief Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki welcomed all "to a unique Olympic homecoming". "For the second time in 108 years Greece stands before you in celebration of humanity. Olympic Games, welcome home", she declared to the thundering cheer of the spectators assembled inside th

Taipei Times > Powell nudges Japan to reconsider pacifism

Powell nudges Japan to reconsider pacifism
Saturday, Aug 14, 2004,Page 5
US Secretary of State Colin Powell said Japan must consider revising its pacifist Constitution if it wants to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council, Kyodo news agency reported yesterday.
Article Nine of Japan's US-drafted Constitution renounces the right to go to war and forbids a military, although this has been interpreted as permitting forces for self-defense.
"If Japan is going to play a full role on the world stage and become a full, active, participating member of the Security Council, and have the kind of obligations that it would pick up as a member of the Security Council, Article Nine would have to be examined in that light," Kyodo quoted Powell as saying.
"But whether or not Article Nine should be modified or changed is absolutely and entirely up to the Japanese people to decide, because the United States would not presume an opinion," he added in an interview with Japanese media in Washington on Thursday.
Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told a lawmaker from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's ruling party last month that Japan must revise the Constitution and play a greater international military role if it wanted a permanent Security Council seat, Japanese media have reported.
Japan sent troops to help rebuild Iraq in non-combat roles.
Both the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the opposition Democratic Party are working on proposals to revise the Constitution, but many citizens and lawmakers oppose changing the nation's commitment to pacifism.
A Mainichi Shimbun poll published in May showed that 78 percent of Japanese lawmakers were in favor of making some changes to the document, but 70 percent were against changing Article Nine.
Powell reiterated US plans to take legal action against Charles Robert Jenkins, a US Army sergeant accused of deserting to North Korea in 1965 and now in Japan for medical treatment.
"We are working with the Japanese government and Mr. Jenkins is in touch with various people as to how he might deal with this matter in a legal sense," Powell said.
Powell wanted Japan to think again about a decision to invest in a $2 billion project to tap Iran's Azadegan oil field, saying he hoped Japan would take into account Iran's suspected nuclear plans.
He said it "seems clear to us that Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon" and accused Iran of resuming construction of centrifuges for its uranium enrichment program, Kyodo said.
"I would hope that the Japanese government, [and] Japanese businesses, would take this into account as they make judgments as to whether this is the place that one should be making investments in or doing this kind of energy business with," Powell said.
The Japanese state-backed oil company INPEX Corp sealed a deal in February to develop the Iranian field.
Iran says its nuclear programs are solely for generating electricity and not for building nuclear weapons.

CNN > Mighty Charley loses steam

MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- Hurricane Charley was downgraded to a Category 1 storm as it crossed the Florida peninsula Friday after causing "significant damage" as it came ashore on the state's southwestern coast.
Charley was expected to cross Florida's Atlantic coast as a minimal hurricane before continuing northward. The storm is forecast to bring wind and rain up the East Coast through the weekend. Hurricane warnings are posted as far north as the North Carolina coast.
Earlier, Charley snapped utility poles, demolished buildings and flooded roads at Captiva Island, Punta Gorda and Charlotte County when it came ashore with 145 mph wind and 10 foot waves. It lost strength as it moved northeast across the state.
Still, gusts were recorded as high as 105 mph in Orlando, where power was knocked out in about half of the city and the Walt Disney theme parks were forced to close. Forecasters called for four to eight inches of rain along the storm's path, raising the potential of flash floods.
The most powerful storm to soak the Fort Myers area since 1960, Hurricane Charley slammed into North Captiva Island just before 4 p.m. ET Friday -- a more powerful hurricane than Donna, which struck the area in 1960 as a Category 3 storm.

PPNews > TV Cooking Show Host Julia Child Dies

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Julia Child, whose warbling, encouraging voice and able hands brought the intricacies of French cuisine to American home cooks through her television series and books, has died. She was 91.

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. (AP) - A stronger-than-expected AP News > Hurricane Charley roared ashore Friday

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. (AP) - A stronger-than-expected Hurricane Charley roared ashore Friday as a dangerous Category 4 storm, slamming the heavily populated Gulf Coast with devastating storm surges and 145 mph wind that snapped trees in half, ripped roofs off buildings and blacked out hundreds of thousands of people.
Airports and theme parks hurriedly closed before the storm arrived, the Kennedy Space Center sent workers home early, and storm shelters quickly filled up as nearly 2 million people were told to flee ahead of the strongest storm to hit Florida in a decade.
Gov. Jeb Bush said damage could exceed $15 billion, but cautioned that it was a preliminary estimate as the storm headed across the center of Florida toward the Orlando area. His brother, President Bush, declared the storm-battered region a federal disaster area.
"This is the nightmare scenario that we've been talking about for years," hurricane center director Max Mayfield said of storm surges that ranged from 10 to 15 feet.

BBC > Scores killed by Chinese typhoon

A powerful typhoon has struck eastern China, killing at least 115 people.
More than 1,800 others are reported to have been injured after the typhoon hit the coastal city of Wenling, in Zhejiang province.
Officials had already evacuated 415,000 people from coastal areas to escape the storm, which happened at 8pm local time (1200GMT) on Thursday.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Yahoo News - Asia-Pacific - Asia Pulse -Poll: 40 percent of Taiwanese favor independence, 25 percent support China unification

AFP · AP · Asia Pulse · Reuters · Channel NewsAsia · Kyodo

Thursday August 12, 8:37 PM
Poll: 40 percent of Taiwanese favor independence, 25 percent support China unification
A media poll reported Thursday that 40 percent of Taiwanese said they would vote for independence if a referendum were held on the touchy issue, while 25 percent supported unifying with China.

The survey by TVBS, a popular cable news network, also said that 14 percent told pollsters they would boycott or cast invalid ballots in an independence vote. The poll said 21 percent had no opinion on the issue.

Taiwan and China have been ruled separately since the Communists won a civil war in 1949 and took over the mainland. Taiwan's refusal to be ruled by Beijing has irked Chinese leaders, who say the island must unify eventually or face a devastating war.

Beijing has warned that an independence vote would spark a conflict.

Many Taiwanese, especially the younger generation, are becoming less enthusiastic about unification. The island's president, Chen Shui-bian, already considers the island to be independent and says any change in the status quo must be approved by Taiwanese voters.

The TVBS poll said that when asked in general if Taiwan should be independent, unify with China or seek statehood in the United States, 38 percent favored independence. Twenty-one percent supported unification, while 13 percent wanted to become part of America, the survey said. The rest had no opinion.

The telephone poll, conducted Aug. 10-11, involved 1,066 respondents aged 20 and older, TVBS said. The margin of error was three percentage points.

New York Times > McGreevey Describes 'Intensely Personal Decision' in Speech

New York Times > New York Region > McGreevey Describes 'Intensely Personal Decision' in Speech: "August 12, 2004
McGreevey Describes 'Intensely Personal Decision' in Speech

With his wife at his side, Gov. James E. McGreevey announced today that he is gay and would resign out of concern over the impact on the New Jersey governor's office of his disclosure of a sexual relationship with a man.
``My truth is, I am a gay American,'' Mr. McGreevey said in a short speech that was televised live from Trenton.
``I engaged in an adult consensual affair with another man,'' he said, adding that ``it was wrong, it was foolish, it was inexcusable'' and that it violated the bonds of his marriage.
Mr. McGreevey said he was making the intensely personal announcement that he is gay known for the first time in a public statement because he feared that keeping silent would open up the governor's office to rumors, accusations and threats. ``So I am removing these threats by telling you directly about my sexuality,'' he said.
``I have decided the right course of action is to resign,'' he said, adding that his resignation would be effective on Nov. 15. "

BBC SPORT | Golf | Clarke storms to early lead

BBC SPORT | Golf | Clarke storms to early lead: "Clarke storms to early lead
Darren Clarke made a barnstorming start to the USPGA Championship as he carded a seven-under par 65 to take the first-round lead.
The Northern Irishman opened with four straight birdies and rattled off eight in his opening 11 holes
He leads by a shot from Justin Leonard and Ernie Els, who are both a shot adrift after posting 66s.
Clarke, third in last year's USPGA, is trying to become the first European to win a major championship since 1999.
'It is a nice way to start,' he admitted after his best-ever start to a major.
'I have not been scoring as well as I would liked lately, so it was good to keep going, stay patient and have a score like that.
'But there is a long way to go yet.'
Despite bogeys on the ninth and 13th holes, Clarke drained a ninth birdie on the 14th and parred his way through the demanding closing stretch of the Whistling Straits course. "

Tropical Storm Bonnie, top, over northwest Florida, and Hurricane Charley, bottom, off the south coast of Cuba, are seen in this NOAA satellite image.

The New York Times > AP > National > Hundreds of Thousands Urged to Flee Tampa as Hurricane Nears

The New York Times > AP > National > Hundreds of Thousands Urged to Flee Tampa as Hurricane Nears: "August 12, 2004
Hundreds of Thousands Urged to Flee Tampa as Hurricane Nears

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Hundreds of thousands of Tampa Bay-area residents were ordered Thursday to get out of the way of a rapidly strengthening Hurricane Charley, as its weaker sister, the disorganized Tropical Storm Bonnie, blustered ashore in the Florida Panhandle.
Charley, which had pumped up to nearly 105 mph by early afternoon, was expected to hit the state's western coast Friday, possibly bringing heavy rain, swirling tornadoes and a storm surge of up to 12 feet to the Tampa Bay and Fort Myers areas.
The back-to-back storms -- the first to menace the state so close together since 1906 -- had prompted Gov. Jeb Bush to declare a state of emergency for all of Florida.
There were no reports of heavy rains or flooding in the already-soaked areas of the Panhandle after Bonnie's disorganized center came ashore with wind near 50 mph, and by noon, Apalachicola looked as if nothing happened. The sun was shining and the surf was calming down.
Charley loomed, however, prompting evacuation orders along coastal areas from the Florida Keys to Tampa Bay."

IHT: Lee, the son, sworn in as Singapore's leader

IHT: Lee, the son, sworn in as Singapore's leader: "Lee, the son, sworn in as Singapore's leader
Jane Perlez NYT
Thursday, August 12, 2004

SINGAPORE Lee Hsien Loong, the elder son of the founder of modern Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, was sworn in as Prime Minister Thursday night at an outdoor ceremony attended by 1,400 people drawn from the ruling ?ite to the man on the street.

In a speech designed for domestic consumption, Lee, 52, the third prime minister since the city-state's post-colonial era, reassured his audience that Singapore would continue to succeed.

Re-engineering the economy, which is facing competition from India and China, to sustain the growth the country has come to expect will be his greatest challenge, analysts said.

Lee, who has served as deputy prime minister since 1990, was named last year as the successor to the outgoing Prime Minister, Goh Chok Tong." - Forces raid al-Sadr home in Najaf - Aug 12, 2004 - Forces raid al-Sadr home in Najaf - Aug 12, 2004: "Forces raid al-Sadr home in Najaf
Interim prime minister calls on militants to lay down arms
Thursday, August 12, 2004 Posted: 12:58 PM EDT (1658 GMT)
Al-Sadr's house in Najaf was raided Thursday, but he was not home.

NAJAF, Iraq (CNN) -- U.S. Marines battling militants in Najaf conducted a raid on Muqtada al-Sadr's house Thursday, but"

Britain gives green signal to human cloning

Britain gives green signal to human cloning: "Britain gives green signal to human cloning
- -

London: Britain has become the first country to allow scientists to use human clone for medical research work, sparking the debate on the ethics of the human cloning the world over. "

BBC NEWS | South Asia | Pakistan holds al-Qaeda suspects

BBC NEWS | South Asia | Pakistan holds al-Qaeda suspects: "Pakistan holds al-Qaeda suspects
Pakistani authorities say five people have been arrested in the past 48 hours on suspicion of being part of Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.
But the information minister refused to disclose the nationalities of those arrested or give details of where they were detained.
Reports say two of the suspects are Turkish and the others are Pakistanis.
Police in Karachi also say they have arrested a man suspected of an abortive attack against an army corps commander. "

BBC NEWS | Middle East | US moves to crush Shia uprising

BBC NEWS | Middle East | US moves to crush Shia uprising: "US moves to crush Shia uprising
US-led forces have surrounded the centre of Najaf in an effort to defeat a week-long uprising by Shia militants.
There was heavy fighting as US and Iraqi troops sealed off the city's Imam Ali Shrine where followers of radical cleric Moqtada Sadr are now barricaded.
The troops, backed by helicopters and tanks, have kept out of the holy site.
Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi denounced the 'complete criminality' of the militants and again called for them to lay down their weapons.
In a statement read out to a news conference by a senior official, Mr Allawi said: 'Our brave troops have never targeted the sacred holy shrine, but the militia have made the site a target by occupying it.' "

BBC NEWS | Americas | Florida braced as storms approach

BBC NEWS | Americas | Florida braced as storms approach: "Florida braced as storms approach
Millions have been put on alert as a hurricane and tropical storm sweep across the Caribbean and head towards the US state of Florida.
Hurricane Charley battered the Cayman Islands on Thursday as it headed towards Cuba and Florida.
One man was reported killed in Jamaica on Wednesday night as heavy rains caused floods on the south coast.
Tropical storm Bonnie was forecast to hit Florida on Thursday, with hurricane Charley expected to hit hours later.
In western Cuba, the authorities have evacuated 25,000 people from low-lying areas, where there are fears of flooding. Tourists have been taken off a southern resort island. "

BBC NEWS | Americas | California annuls gay marriages

BBC NEWS | Americas | California annuls gay marriages: "California annuls gay marriages
California's Supreme Court has annulled about 4,000 gay marriages that took place in San Francisco.
The court ruled that San Francisco's mayor had overstepped his authority by issuing same-sex marriage licences earlier this year.
Thousands of same-sex couples were married in the city between 12 February and 11 March, when the court issued an injunction halting the wedding spree.
Gay marriage is a controversial issue in the US.
The marriages had virtually no legal value, but they angered conservative groups, which launched legal challenges to nullify them. "

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Heat waves set to become 'brutal'

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Heat waves set to become 'brutal': "Heat waves set to become 'brutal'
Heat waves in the 21st Century will be more intense, more frequent and longer lasting, US experts report in Science.
Scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) used climate modelling to predict geographic patterns of future heat waves.
Future heat waves in some areas of Europe and North America will become more common and extreme in the second half of the 21st Century.
The research shows greenhouse emissions are likely to exacerbate the problem. "

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

BBC NEWS | Middle East | US troops 'poised to storm Najaf'

BBC NEWS | Middle East | US troops 'poised to storm Najaf': "US troops 'poised to storm Najaf'
US and Iraqi forces are preparing for a major assault against Shia Muslim fighters in the holy city of Najaf, the US military has said.
US forces have been battling insurgents loyal to radical cleric Moqtada Sadr for the past week.
Hundreds have been reported killed or injured since the fighting began.
One of Iraq's deputy presidents, Ibrahim Jaafari, has called for the US-led forces to withdraw and allow Iraqi security forces to take over.
'I call for multinational forces to leave Najaf and for only Iraqi forces to remain there,' he said in remarks broadcast by Arabic TV channel al-Jazeera.
Earlier, he also called on Mr Sadr's Mehdi Army militants to pull back. "

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Iraq 'ended nuclear aims in 1991'

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Iraq 'ended nuclear aims in 1991': "Iraq 'ended nuclear aims in 1991'
By Gordon Corera
BBC Security correspondent

The head of Iraq's nuclear programme under Saddam Hussein has said Iraq destroyed its nuclear weapons programme in 1991 and never restarted it.
Jafar Dhia Jafar told the BBC sanctions and inspections worked in stopping the reconstitution of the programme.
One of the most powerful arguments in the case for war on Iraq was the US and UK's claim Saddam Hussein was trying to restart his nuclear programme.
Mr Jafar ran Iraq's nuclear programme for nearly 25 years.
Equipment destroyed
The man the former Iraqi leader originally asked to build the country's nuclear bomb claimed all nuclear development stopped in July 1991, under the orders of Saddam Hussein.
'We had orders to hand over the equipment to the Republican guards,' Mr Jafar said in his first broadcast interview - to be aired on BBC's Newsnight programme on Wednesday evening.
'And they had orders to destroy the equipment that we handed over to them.'
He said that everything was destroyed, such that the programme could not be restarted at the time - and that it never restarted. "

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

The New York Times > Opinion > Banning Bad News in Iraq

The New York Times > Opinion > Banning Bad News in Iraq: "August 10, 2004
Banning Bad News in Iraq

As interim prime minister, Ayad Allawi is supposed to be guiding Iraq toward democratic elections. Yet in his first six weeks he has begun yielding to the same kind of authoritarian mentality that has stifled democracy in too many neighboring states. His latest target is Al Jazeera, whose sometimes sensational news coverage is the Arab world's principal source of uncensored information. Claiming that Al Jazeera's extensive coverage of terrorist kidnappings and other crimes encourages continuing violence, Mr. Allawi's police shut down the station's Baghdad bureau on Saturday for at least 30 days. The office will be allowed to reopen only if Al Jazeera agrees to change its policies.
Thwarting Al Jazeera's news coverage will not halt the violence that has been tearing Iraq apart for the past 16 months. But it may spare Mr. Allawi the embarrassment of having that violence so visible to a worldwide audience. It may also give his government a freer hand to abuse human rights and pursue personal political vendettas in the name of restoring law and order.
Al Jazeera's professional, provocative and partisan news coverage has no exact parallel in the United States, in part because the journalistic context in which it operates fortunately has no parallel here. Before the station began broadcasting in 1996 with financial support from the emir of Qatar, Arab viewers were largely limited to tame and uninformative state broadcasting outlets. Now tens of millions of people across the Arab world see news that their own governments would prefer to keep quiet.
That has repeatedly gotten Al Jazeera into trouble with authoritarian Arab governments - a pr"

IHT: U.S. forces urge civilians to leave Najaf

IHT: U.S. forces urge civilians to leave Najaf: "U.S. forces urge civilians to leave Najaf
Tuesday, August 10, 2004

NAJAF, Iraq American forces urged civilians to evacuate the combat zone in Najaf on Tuesday, the sixth day of clashes with Shiite militias that have restricted output from southern Iraqi oil fields and sent world oil prices soaring.

U.S. troops in Humvees drove through the center of the Shiite city, using loudspeakers to call on civilians to evacuate the zone immediately.

Residents said it was the first time U.S. troops had called for a mass evacuation, adding that they feared a massive attack on the Mahdi Army of the radical cleric Moktada al-Sadr in the city's cemetery, and on the shrine of Imam Ali, one of Shiite Islam's holiest sites."

My Way News

My Way News: "Bush Mocks Kerry Over Views on Iraq War
Aug 10, 4:40 PM (ET)

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) - President Bush mocked rival John Kerry's stand on the Iraq war Tuesday and rejected the Democrat's timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops as the Republican campaigned with Kerry pal and Vietnam War hero Sen. John McCain.
Seeking to shore up his support in the military rich, GOP-leaning Florida panhandle, Bush assailed Kerry on the dominant issue of the campaign as the incumbent made his 24th trip to the swing state that narrowly ensured his election in 2000."

Yahoo! News - Anti-Kerry Book Scribe Sorry for Slurs

Yahoo! News - Anti-Kerry Book Scribe Sorry for Slurs: "Anti-Kerry Book Scribe Sorry for Slurs

By JENNIFER C. KERR, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - One of the authors of a new anti-John Kerry (news - web sites) book frequently posted comments on a conservative Web site describing Muslims and Catholics as pedophiles and Pope John Paul (news - web sites) II as senile.
But as he prepared to launch the book, 'Unfit for Command,' Jerry Corsi apologized for the remarks in an interview with The Associated Press Tuesday, saying they were meant as a joke and he never intended to offend anyone.
In chat room entry last year on, Corsi writes: 'Islam is a peaceful religion � just as long as the women are beaten, the boys buggered and the infidels are killed.'
In another entry, he says: 'So this is what the last days of the Catholic Church are going to look like. Buggering boys undermines the moral base and the lawyers rip the gold off the Vatican (news - web sites) altars. We may get one more Pope, when this senile one dies, but that's probably about it.'
Corsi, who described himself as a 'devout Catholic,' said the comments are being taken out of context. 'I considered them a joke,' said Corsi, who owns a financial services company and has written extensively on the anti-war movement.
In a March posting, Corsi discussed Kerry's faith, writing: 'After he married TerRAHsa, didn't John Kerry begin practicing Judaism? He also has paternal grandparents that were Jewish. What religion is John Kerry?'
Kerry and his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, are Catholic.

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Malaysia police 'brutal, corrupt'

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Malaysia police 'brutal, corrupt': "Malaysia police 'brutal, corrupt'
By Jonathan Kent
BBC correspondent, Kuala Lumpur

The head of a commission inquiry into the Malaysian police says his panel has been inundated with allegations of corruption and brutality.
Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi says he wants immediate action to put the commission's proposals into effect.
Mr Abdullah has made eliminating corruption a centrepiece of his plans.
He ordered a royal commission to be set up to look into the management and workings of the police shortly after coming to power in October. "

MSNBC - Colin Powell will skip GOP convention

MSNBC - Colin Powell will skip GOP convention: "Colin Powell will skip GOP conventionThe Associated Press
Updated: 10:42 a.m. ET Aug. 10, 2004WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Colin Powell, a Republican centrist who is popular with moderate voters, intends to skip the GOP convention in New York that will nominate President Bush for a second term.

The secretary does not plan to attend, State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli said Tuesday. He drew attention to Powell's remarks last week at a convention of minority journalists that he was obliged as secretary not to take part in parochial debate."

Cnn Fed raises rates a quarter-point again - Aug. 10, 2004

Fed raises rates a quarter-point again - Aug. 10, 2004: "Fed raises again

Central bank policy-makers add another quarter-point to fed funds rate, see economic pickup ahead.
August 10, 2004: 5:14 PM EDT
By Mark Gongloff, CNN/Money senior writer

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - The Federal Reserve raised its target for a key short-term interest rate a quarter-percentage point Tuesday in a continuing effort to raise lending rates from the lowest levels in more than 40 years. "

New York Times > Bush Nominates Congressman to Replace Tenet as C.I.A. Director

Published: August 10, 2004
President Bush today nominated Representative Porter Goss, a Republican congressman who is the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, to be the new head of Central Intelligence.
"Porter Goss is a leader with strong experience in intelligence and the fight against terrorism," Mr. Bush said in announcing his choice in the White House Rose Garden this morning.
"He knows the C.I.A. inside and out. He is the right man to lead this important agency at this critical moment in our nation's history."
Mr. Goss, 65, served for about 10 years as a Central Intelligence Agency case officer, beginning in the early 1960's.
His name had been prominent in speculation about who might succeed George J. Tenet, who stepped down on July 11 after months of criticism about the failures of the intelligence community in the fight against terrorism. John McLaughlin, the deputy director, has been serving as interim director.
James L. Pavitt, the C.I.A.'s deputy director for operations, also retired this month, leaving a vacuum at the top of the war on terrorism.
Mr. Goss's selection is bound to be controversial. He was responsible for Congressional oversight of the C.I.A., and the commission investigating the 9/11 attacks concluded that the oversight efforts largely failed. He is considered a strong partisan, and recently took to the floor of the House to attack Senator John Kerry, the president's opponent in November's election.
Tpday the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator John D. Rockefeller, said he was concerned with Mr. Bush's choice, saying that the selection of a politician for the post — "any politician, from either party" —was a mistake. He made similar comments in June, when Mr. Goss was being mentioned in the press as a candidate for the job. But Mr. Rockefeller, Democrat of West Virginia, said today that he would work to move the nomination process forward, although Mr. Goss "will need to answer tough questions about his record and his position on reform."
Within the C.I.A., views of Mr. Goss are mixed. But perhaps the biggest challenge to his nomination is the uncertainty over what kind of job he will be taking. Mr. Bush last week endorsed the creation of a national intelligence director, who will sit above the C.I.A. director and coordinate the activities of all intelligence agencies. While the C.I.A. job remains a critical one, it will therefore be much diminished, making the C.I.A. chief one among many intelligence directors.
The C.I.A. has been at the center of steady criticism this year, both by the 9/11 panel and the Senate Intelligence Committee, for failures of intelligence associated with the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the war on Iraq.
The bipartisan 9/11 commission concluded in its unanimous final report that the attacks "were a shock but they should not have come as a surprise." It warned that without a historic restructuring of the nation's intelligence agencies and a new emphasis on diplomacy, the United States would leave itself open to an even more catastrophic attack.
Mr. Bush's acceptance of the proposal for a national intelligence chief was immediately criticized by the commission, which said the Bush plan would not grant nearly enough power to the position.
The C.I.A. came in for earlier criticism in the Senate Intelligence Committee report. Pat Roberts, a Republican from Kansas who is the panel's chairman, said there was no evidence that the C.I.A. altered any findings under political pressure but said the intelligence that sent the country to war in Iraq was flawed.
Specifically, the reports by the two panels pointed out that there was no evidence to support C.I.A. claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, or substantive ties to Al Qaeda. The C.I.A.'s findings had been embraced by Bush administration officials, which left them open to widespread criticism by Democrats. The White House has steadfastly defended its record on terror.
Mr. Goss, of Florida, has served as the House Intelligence Committee's chairman since 1997, but had already announced plans to retire from Congress in January, at the end of the current session.
Mr. Goss's nomination will now go before the Senate, and Mr. Goss said today that he looked forward to the process.
But political analysts said the Senate might well seize on the nomination as an opportunity to voice renewed criticism of the Bush administration's handling of intelligence, which could prove damaging to Mr. Bush in this election year.
Today Mr. Bush said: "The work of the C.I.A. is vital to our security. America faces determined enemies who plan in many nations, send trained killers to live among us, and attack without warning.
"This threat is unprecedented, and to stop them from killing our citizens, we must have the best intelligence possible."
He added, "Director George Tenet, Acting Director John McLaughlin have served our nation with distinction and honor. And now with the agreement of the U.S. Senate, the C.I.A. will have another strong leader in Porter Goss."
David E. Sanger contributed reporting for this article from Washington.

Monday, August 09, 2004

MSNBC > Singapore set for leadership change

Singapore set for leadership change: "Singapore set for leadership change

SINGAPORE, Aug. 9 Lee Hsien Loong, Singapore's prime minister-designate, is expected to name a new cabinet on Tuesday, ushering in a new generation of leaders days before taking power on Aug. 12 in Singapore's second leadership change. " [english donga] [english donga]: "North and South Consider Marching Together for the Athens Olympics

AUGUST 09, 2004 22:11

The president of the Korean Olympic Committee (KOC), Lee Yeon-taek (left), and the president of the Chosun Olympic Committee, Moon Jae-duk, discussed agenda items including marching together for the opening ceremony of the Athens Olympic at the breakfast table at Divani Hotel, Athens on August 9. This was the first high official meeting between top North and South athletic representatives for the upcoming Olympic Games." - Deadly blasts hit Turkey hotels - Aug 9, 2004 - Deadly blasts?it Turkey hotels - Aug 9, 2004: "Deadly blasts hit Turkey hotels
Monday, August 9, 2004 Posted: 11:14 PM EDT (0314 GMT)
ISTANBUL, Turkey -- Explosions have hit two Istanbul hotels early Tuesday, killing one person, Turkish police say.
At least six other people have been injured in the blasts, police have said.
The blasts went off about 1:40 a.m. (10.40 p.m. Monday GMT, 6:40 p.m. Monday ET) at tourist hotels in two Istanbul neighborhoods.
The two simultaneous explosions rocked the small hotels, which often host tourists from former Soviet republics." - Al Qaeda arrests yield 1,000 disks - Aug 9, 2004 - Al Qaeda arrests?ield 1,000 disks - Aug 9, 2004: "Al Qaeda arrests yield 1,000 disks
Monday, August 9, 2004 Posted: 7:08 PM EDT (2308 GMT)
Al Qaeda arrests yield 1,000 disks
Monday, August 9, 2004 Posted: 7:08 PM EDT (2308 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Nearly 1,000 computer disks were recovered last week as part of a series of arrests in the United Kingdom of alleged al Qaeda operatives, U.S. government sources have told CNN.

Both British and American authorities are analyzing the information in the disks for any potential clues to possible al Qaeda attack plans.

The New York Times > Washington > Campaign 2004 > First Lady Defends Limits on Stem Cell Research

The New York Times > Washington > Campaign 2004 > First Lady Defends Limits on Stem Cell Research: "First Lady Defends Limits on Stem Cell Research

ROYAL OAK, Mich., Aug. 9 - Venturing forcefully into one of the more contentious issues of the campaign, Laura Bush on Monday defended the limits her husband has imposed on embryonic stem cell research and criticized those who suggest that the research could lead quickly to cures for Alzheimer's and other diseases.
'I hope that stem cell research will yield cures and therapies for a myriad of illnesses,' Mrs. Bush told an audience about 300 supporters, many of them doctors and nurses, at a campaign event in Langhorne, Pa. 'But I know that embryonic stem cell research is very preliminary and the implication that cures for Alzheimer's are around the corner is just not right, and it's really not fair to the people who are watching a loved one suffer from this disease.'
The remarks were a thinly veiled reference to comments by Ron Reagan, who suggested loosening restrictions on the research in a speech at the Democratic National Convention, just six weeks after the death of his father, former President Ronald Reagan, who had Alzheimer's."

Wired News: Hubble Instrument Goes Dark

Wired News: Hubble Instrument Goes Dark: "Hubble Instrument Goes Dark
By Amit Asaravala
10:10 AM Aug. 09, 2004 PT
One of the four science instruments onboard NASA's ailing Hubble Space Telescope failed last week, the space agency said Friday.
The Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph, or STIS, was used by astronomers to detect black holes and measure the temperatures of stars, among other things. The instrument failed to respond to a test command and went into suspension shortly after noon Eastern Daylight Time on Aug. 3, according to a mission status report. "

The New York Times > International > Middle East > Bush Sees Joint World Effort to Press Iran on Nuclear Issue

The New York Times > International > Middle East > Bush Sees Joint World Effort to Press Iran on Nuclear Issue: "August 10, 2004
Bush Sees Joint World Effort to Press Iran on Nuclear Issue

ANNANDALE, Va., Aug. 9 - President Bush said Monday that the United States would maintain pressure on Iran to abandon its nuclear weapons program, emphasizing that his administration was working with other countries and not confronting Iran on its own.
'Iran must comply with the demands of the free world, and that's where we sit right now,' Mr. Bush told a Republican crowd at an 'Ask President Bush' campaign event in this Washington suburb. 'And my attitude is that we've got to keep pressure on the government, and help others keep pressure on the government, so there's kind of a universal condemnation of illegal weapons activities.'
The president has come under searing criticism from his Democratic competitor, Senator John Kerry, for what Mr. Kerry calls Mr. Bush's go-it-alone approach to foreign policy, which he says has left the United States isolated in the world. Mr. Kerry has also attacked Mr. Bush for allowing Iran to move forward with its nuclear ambitions while going to war with Iraq, where almost no evidence of a nuclear weapons program was found.
Mr. Bush has not directly answered Mr. Kerry's charges, but on Monday he repeatedly emphasized how much the United States was cooperating with other nations to try to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, particularly in Iran.
'We've relied upon others to send the message for us,' he told the crowd in the gymnasium at the Annandale campus of Northern Virginia Community College. 'And the foreign ministers of Ger"

Japan Today - News - Kerry stands by Iraq war voting record - Japan's Leading International News Network

Japan Today - News - Kerry stands by Iraq war voting record - Japan's Leading International News Network: "japantoday > world
Kerry stands by Iraq war voting record

Tuesday, August 10, 2004 at 07:54 JST
GRAND CANYON, Arizona � Responding to U.S. President George Bush's question with several of his own, Sen John Kerry said Monday he would have voted to authorize the war in Iraq knowing what he does now, but added that he would have used the power more effectively than the current commander in chief.
The Democratic presidential nominee said he hoped to begin reducing the number of U.S. forces in Iraq within six months of taking office if he is elected. 'It is an appropriate goal to have,' he said, but added that achieving it would depend on broader international assistance, better stability within Iraq and other related factors."

Japan Today - News - Sharon, Peres fail to reach deal on Gaza - Japan's Leading International News Network

Japan Today - News - Sharon, Peres fail to reach deal on Gaza - Japan's Leading International News Network: "japantoday > world
Sharon, Peres fail to reach deal on Gaza

Tuesday, August 10, 2004 at 07:59 JST
JERUSALEM - Ariel Sharon, the hawk, and Shimon Peres, the dove, agree on Israel's need to pull out of Gaza, but an alliance between their parties was held up Monday by a sharp disagreement over whether Israel should be a welfare state.
Coalition negotiations broke up over the 2005 state budget and welfare cuts. No further talks were scheduled, hinting at a crisis. "

Japan Today - News - Iran defiant on right to possess nuclear technology - Japan's Leading International News Network

Japan Today - News - Iran defiant on right to possess nuclear technology - Japan's Leading International News Network: "japantoday > world
Iran defiant on right to possess nuclear technology

Tuesday, August 10, 2004 at 08:01 JST
VIENNA - Iran is demanding Europe's leading powers back its right to nuclear technology that could be used to make weapons, dismaying the Europeans and strengthening Washington's push for U.N. sanctions, a European Union official and diplomats said Monday.
The Europeans are urging the Iranian government to instead make good on a pledge to clear up suspicions about its nuclear ambitions. "

The New York Times > International > Middle East > Insurgency: U.S. Is Tightening Grasp on Rebels Encircled in Iraq

The New York Times > International > Middle East > Insurgency: U.S. Is Tightening Grasp on Rebels Encircled in Iraq: "August 10, 2004
U.S. Is Tightening Grasp on Rebels Encircled in Iraq

NAJAF, Iraq, Aug. 9 - American forces besieging militiamen of a rebel cleric in a shrine and cemetery sacred to Shiite Muslims tightened their cordon on Monday, warning that the rebels had been left no way in or out. But the warnings drew an immediate riposte from the cleric, Moktada al-Sadr, who emerged from days of silence to reject demands for the militiamen to surrender.
'I will defend Najaf until the last drop of my blood,' Mr. Sadr said at a news conference in the Imam Ali shrine, which has served as a stronghold for his Mahdi Army since his uprising in the spring against the foreign occupation of Iraq.
The repercussions of the latest fighting, which began in Najaf last week and quickly spread to other centers of support for Mr. Sadr, intensified when officials of the state-owned oil industry said that Iraq's largest oil fields, in the southern region around Basra, had stopped pumping oil on Monday after Mr. Sadr's militiamen had threatened to attack oil fields, refineries and pipelines. About 1.8 million barrels a day, 90 percent of Iraq's current oil exports, are shipped from terminals in and near Basra.
In Baghdad, American military officials announced a curfew of 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. in the capital's Sadr City neighborhood, home to more than a million Shiites and, with Najaf, Mr. Sadr's greatest stronghold. The measure, the most stringent of its kind in the 16 months since the country fell to the American-led invasion, appeared aimed "

The New York Times > Washington > The Overview: New Leaders Are Emerging for Al Qaeda

The New York Times > Washington > The Overview: New Leaders Are Emerging for Al Qaeda: "August 10, 2004
New Leaders Are Emerging for Al Qaeda

WASHINGTON, Aug. 9 - A new portrait of Al Qaeda's inner workings is emerging from the cache of information seized last month in Pakistan, as investigators begin to identify a new generation of operatives who appear to be filling the vacuum created when leaders were killed or captured, senior intelligence officials said Monday.
Using computer records, e-mail addresses and documents seized after the arrest of Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan last month in Pakistan, intelligence analysts say they are finding that Al Qaeda's upper ranks are being filled by lower-ranking members and more recent recruits.
'They're a little bit of both,'' one official said, describing Al Qaeda's new midlevel structure. 'Some who have been around and some who have stepped up. They're reaching for their bench.''"

Japan Today - News - U.S. reaffirms ties with Philippines - Japan's Leading International News Network

Japan Today - News - U.S. reaffirms ties with Philippines - Japan's Leading International News Network: " japantoday > asia
U.S. reaffirms ties with Philippines

Tuesday, August 10, 2004 at 06:51 JST
WASHINGTON - The United States will maintain strong relations with the Philippines, despite Manila's recent troop withdrawal from Iraq, the U.S. State Department said Monday.
'We have a strong partnership that has been built over decades and generations, and we will cooperate on a wide variety of issues,' State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli said. (Kyodo News)"

My Way - News "Kerry: Still Would Have Approved Force for Iraq"

My Way - News: Aug 9, 5:34 PM (ET)

By Patricia Wilson
GRAND CANYON, Ariz. (Reuters) - Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry said on Monday he would have voted for the congressional resolution authorizing force against Iraq even if he had known then no weapons of mass destruction would be found.
Taking up a challenge from President Bush, whom he will face in the Nov. 2 election, the Massachusetts senator said: 'I'll answer it directly. Yes, I would have voted for the authority. I believe it is the right authority for a president to have but I would have used that authority effectively.'"

My Way News

My Way News: "Reporter Held in Contempt in CIA Leak Case
Aug 9, 7:07 PM (ET)

WASHINGTON (AP) - A federal judge held a reporter for Time magazine in contempt of court Monday for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating the leak of the identity of a covert CIA officer.
In an order issued July 20 but not made public until Monday, U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan ruled that Time's Matthew Cooper and 'Meet the Press' host Tim Russert were required to testify 'regarding alleged conversations they had with a specified executive branch official.'
NBC News issued a statement saying that Russert already had been interviewed under oath by prosecutors on Saturday under an agreement to avoid a protracted court fight. The interview concerned a July 2003 phone conversation he had with Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis 'Scooter' Libby."

Rights group accuses Taiwan of failing to grant political asylum to Chinese dissidents

Rights group accuses Taiwan of failing to grant political asylum to Chinese dissidents: "Monday August 9, 12:03 PM
Rights group accuses Taiwan of failing to grant political asylum to Chinese dissidents
Activists on Monday accused Taiwan of violating human rights by detaining two Chinese dissidents for months and denying them political asylum.
One of the dissidents, Yan Peng, fled to Taiwan in June after being jailed for 18 months in China on charges of sedition for supporting the 1989 democracy movement, the Taiwan Human Rights Association said in a statement.
The other detainee, Chen Rongli, fled to Taiwan in January after serving eight years in a Chinese jail for attempting to set up an opposition political party, the group said. "

IHT: Death toll in South Asia floods tops 2,000

IHT: Death toll in South Asia floods tops 2,000: "Death toll in South Asia floods tops 2,000
The Associated Press
Monday, August 9, 2004

NEW DELHI Thirty-nine bodies were found floating in receding floodwaters and four children died in a house collapse in India, officials said Monday, as the death toll from monsoon rains this season across South Asia passed 2,000.

The toll already is well above that of last year, when 1,500 people were killed during a monsoon that extended to mid-October. The monsoon usually runs from June through September.

At least 1,195 people have died in India, 694 in Bangladesh, 124 in Nepal and five in Pakistan, bringing the toll to 2,018, according to figures supplied by the authorities in each country and compiled by The Associated Press."

IHT: Job figures, still cloudy, fuel debate

IHT: Job figures, still cloudy, fuel debate: "Job figures, still cloudy, fuel debate
Edmund L. Andrews/NYT
Monday, August 9, 2004

WASHINGTON The stunningly slow pace of U.S. job creation in July has provided new ammunition in an intense political debate over job quality.

For months, Democrats have said that the long-delayed employment recovery was concentrated in low-wage jobs that paid far less than those that were lost. White House officials replied that the available data failed to settle the matter one way or the other.

The data are still inconclusive. But the weakness in job creation and the apparent weakness in high-paying jobs may be opposite sides of a coin."

IHT: Radical Iraqi cleric vows to fight to the last

IHT: Radical Iraqi cleric vows to fight to the last: "Radical Iraqi cleric vows to fight to the last
AP, Reuters
Monday, August 9, 2004

NAJAF, Iraq A radical cleric whose loyalists have been battling U.S. troops for five days day vowed on Monday to fight 'until the last drop of my blood has been spilled.' Explosions and gunfire were heard throughout Najaf and U.S. helicopters hovered overhead in renewed fighting between U.S. forces and Moktada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia."

BBC NEWS | Americas | Black rivals to stand in Illinois

BBC NEWS | Americas | Black rivals to stand in Illinois: "Black rivals to stand in Illinois
Illinois is poised to elect a black candidate in this November's Senate election after both main parties picked African-American challengers.
Alan Keyes, a veteran Republican politician, announced he would stand after the party's first choice pulled out amid a sex scandal.
Mr Keyes, a two-time presidential hopeful, will be pitted against rising Democrat star Barack Obama.
America has elected only four black senators in its entire history.
Mr Keyes, who is known for his deeply conservative views, announced his bid on Sunday after the previous candidate, Jack Ryan, pulled out in June.
He told a rally in Chicago that he faced an 'uphill battle' and could not promise victory 'with tremendous ease'. "

The New York Times > Washington > Rice Says Iran Must Not Be Allowed to Develop Nuclear Arms

The New York Times > Washington > Rice Says Iran Must Not Be Allowed to Develop Nuclear Arms: "August 9, 2004
Rice Says Iran Must Not Be Allowed to Develop Nuclear Arms

KENNEBUNKPORT, Me., Aug. 8 - President Bush's national security adviser said Sunday that the United States and its allies 'cannot allow the Iranians to develop a nuclear weapon' and warned that President Bush would 'look at all the tools that are available to him' to stop Iran's program.
Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, said on the NBC News program 'Meet the Press' that she expected that the International Atomic Energy Agency would make what she called 'a very strong statement' in September forcing Iran to choose between isolation or the abandonment of its nuclear weapons efforts. But she stopped short of saying whether the United States could muster its allies to impose sanctions against Iran in the United Nations Security Council.
Until now, European powers and Russia have resisted American efforts to impose sanctions against Iran, which they see as a major trading partner. " - U.S. Marines assume their own command in Najaf - Aug 9, 2004 - U.S. Marines assume their own command in Najaf - Aug 9, 2004: "U.S. Marines assume their own command in Najaf
Cleric vows to continue fighting U.S.-led forces
Monday, August 9, 2004 Posted: 2:29 PM EDT (1829 GMT)
radical Shiite Muslim cleric vowed to fight American forces to the death, U.S. Marines in the area of the holy city of Najaf assumed full control over their own forces there, a coalition statement said Monday.

My Way - News

My Way - News: "Nader Doesn't Get Spot on California Ballot

Aug 8, 3:39 PM (ET)

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Consumer advocate Ralph Nader did not collect enough signatures to make the ballot in California as an independent presidential candidate but his spokesman said on Sunday the campaign would keep trying.
Nader had gathered about 85,000 signatures by Friday's deadline and had clearly failed to accumulate the 153,035 signatures needed to place him on the ballot, California Secretary of State spokesman Doug Stone said. Final tallies were not immediately available"

Yahoo! News - Keyes Steps Into Illinois Senate Race

Yahoo! News - Keyes Steps Into Illinois Senate Race: "Keyes Steps Into Illinois Senate Race

Mon Aug 9, 7:55 AM ET

By P.J. Huffstutter Times Staff Writer
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Alan Keyes (news - web sites), a two-time presidential candidate who lives in Maryland, announced Sunday that he would accept the Illinois Republican Party's nomination and run for the U.S. Senate.
With less than three months before the election, Keyes acknowledged it would be difficult to beat Barack Obama, 43, the state senator whose speech at the Democratic National Convention in Boston gained him national prominence. This is the first U.S. Senate race in history where both candidates from the two major parties are African American, assuring that the Senate will seat its fifth black member ever. "

Japan Today - News - 4 dead, 7 injured in nuclear power plant accident - Japan's Leading International News Network

Japan Today - News - 4 dead, 7 injured in nuclear power plant accident - Japan's Leading International News Network: "japantoday > national
4 dead, 7 injured in nuclear power plant accident

Monday, August 9, 2004 at 20:53 JST
TSUGURA - Four workers died and seven others were injured, three seriously, Monday after steam leaked from one of the reactors of Mihama nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture in the worst nuclear plant accident in Japan, according to prefectural police and firefighters.
No radioactive leak is believed to have taken place, according to the government's Nuclear and Industry Safety Agency and Kansai Electric Power Co, the owner of the plant. "

Milky Way Twin

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Hubble sights Milky Way's 'twin'

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Hubble sights Milky Way's 'twin': "Hubble sights Milky Way's 'twin'
A stunning image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope shows a galaxy that looks like a twin of our own.
NGC 3949 is a large spiral galaxy and, in astronomical terms at least, is relatively nearby at around 50 million light-years away from Earth.
Galaxies like this help astronomers understand more about our own.
This is because the Sun and the Solar System are so embedded in the Milky Way that it is difficult to see our galaxy's large-scale structure. "

BBC NEWS | South Asia | India and Pakistan swap POWs

BBC NEWS | South Asia | India and Pakistan swap POWs: "India and Pakistan swap POWs
India and Pakistan have carried out a rare exchange of prisoners of war.
Two Indian soldiers and a Pakistani returned to their respective countries at a handover at the Wagah border post.
Correspondents say that such transfers are unusual - particularly because both sides had earlier denied holding prisoners of war.
The handover - which took place amid scenes of jubilation on the Indian side of the border - comes as both countries are holding peace talks. "

BBC NEWS | Americas | Oklahoma plotter given life term

BBC NEWS | Americas | Oklahoma plotter given life term: "Oklahoma plotter given life term
An accomplice in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Terry Nichols was given a life term for each of 161 murder charges relating to the bombing of a federal building, which killed 168 people.
He is already serving a life sentence on federal charges of conspiracy and the involuntary manslaughter of eight federal officers who died in the blast.
His accomplice Timothy McVeigh, who planted the bomb, was executed in 2001. "

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Poland yields to US in Iraq zone

BBBC NEWS | Middle East | Poland yields to US in Iraq zone: "Poland yields to US in Iraq zone
Polish troops in Iraq have handed over military authority in two provinces to US marines because of worsening security in the holy city of Najaf.
The Polish-led multinational force in the area is giving up control of Najaf and Qadisiya provinces, a Polish military statement said.
The change was ordered by the senior US officer in Iraq, Gen George Casey, the statement said.
The multinational force retains control of three other provinces in the area.
The move came as Iraqi and US forces battled militants loyal to radical Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr for a fifth day in Najaf. " - U.S. leak 'harms al Qaeda sting' - Aug 9, 2004 - U.S. leak 'harms al Qaeda sting' - Aug 9, 2004: ".S. leak 'harms al Qaeda sting'
Monday, August 9, 2004 Posted: 6:24 AM EDT (1024 GMT)

The effort by U.S. officials to justify raising the terror alert level last week may have shut down an important source of information that has already led to a series of al Qaeda arrests, Pakistani intelligence sources have said.

Until U.S. officials leaked the arrest of Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan to reporters, Pakistan had been using him in a sting operation to track down al Qaeda operatives around the world, the sources said

:: Xinhuanet - English ::

:: Xinhuanet - English ::: "China, Vietnam reach accord on border issue 2004-08-09 15:55:32

BEIJING, Aug. 9 (Xinhuanet) -- China and Vietnam have agreed on concrete measures to solve their border issue and agreed a detailed regulation on the land border, the Beibu Gulf and at sea.

Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks with his Vietnamese counterpart Vu Dung Sunday in South China's Nanning city.
Both sides agreed a detailed regulation on the land border, the Beibu Gulf and at sea. "

Japan Today - News - Taliban claim responsibility for bomb attack in Afghanistan - Japan's Leading International News Network

Japan Today - News - Taliban claim responsibility for bomb attack in Afghanistan - Japan's Leading International News Network: "Taliban claim responsibility for bomb attack in Afghanistan

Sunday, August 8, 2004 at 17:35 JST
ISLAMABAD - Afghanistan's Taliban militia claimed responsibility Sunday for a roadside explosion in southwestern Afghanistan that killed two U.S. soldiers and their Afghan interpreter, Afghan Islamic Press reported."

The New York Times > International > Middle East > Law and Order: Iraq's Premier Takes Hard Line Against Rebels

The New York Times > International > Middle East > Law and Order: Iraq's Premier Takes Hard Line Against Rebels: "LAW AND ORDER
Iraq's Premier Takes Hard Line Against Rebels

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Aug. 8 - Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, reinforcing his reputation as a man ready to deal harshly with his adversaries, flew into the embattled city of Najaf on Sunday and said that there would be 'no negotiations or truce' that would spare rebel fighters from American and Iraqi forces who have been waging a violent contest for control of the city's heart.
In Baghdad, Dr. Allawi's aides later announced that the government had approved a decree restoring the death penalty for a range of crimes, including some so broadly phrased that they appeared to cover virtually every kind of insurgent attack. A suspension of the death penalty was one of the earliest moves taken by the American occupation authority last year.
The two actions on Sunday, coming amid some of the fiercest fighting of the 15-month insurgency, seemed to set a new benchmark for Dr. Allawi, whose political trademark since his youth in Saddam Hussein's Baath Party has been one of relentless toughness. The restoration of capital punishment had been expected since he took office in June, with a twin-edged vow to curb the insurgency by reaching out to disaffected " -- AP State Wire News -- California's power grid manager issues warning -- AP State Wire News -- California's power grid manager issues warning: "California's power grid manager issues warning
The Associated Press
Last Updated 10:44 pm PDT Sunday, August 8, 2004
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California's power grid manager has issued a power watch, urging residents to cut back their electricity usage.
There was little immediate danger of blackouts, spokeswoman Stephanie McCorkle said Sunday. 'It's a way of letting people know when supplies are tight.'"

Guardian Unlimited | Columnists | Dirty politics

Guardian Unlimited | Columnists | Dirty politics: "Dirty politics

You know the US presidential election is hotting up when the smear campaigns get started

John Sutherland
Monday August 9, 2004
The Guardian

The US election is, as they promised, getting very dirty. Karl Rove (Bush's Svengali) is said to have predicted, 'By November, they won't even know whose side he fought on.' 'He', of course, is John Kerry - the would-be next president of America whose Svengalis (less gifted in the black arts than Rove) chose to package him as Lieutenant John, intrepid Swift Boat skipper, acknowledging the ovation of the delegates with a military salute and a crisp 'reporting for duty'.
Shortly afterwards, the other side hoisted (yet again) the national-security level to orange and releasing their propaganda torpedo. The Democrats can count on the sell-out movie (Fahrenheit 9/11); the Republicans, a book (Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry) that is already No 1 on Amazon's bestseller list a week before publication. "

BBC NEWS | Africa | Arab League backs Sudan on Darfur

BBBC NEWS | Africa | Arab League backs Sudan on Darfur: "Arab League backs Sudan on Darfur
The Arab League has rejected any sanctions or international military intervention as a response to the crisis in Sudan's Darfur region.
Arab foreign ministers at an emergency session in Cairo backed Khartoum's measures to disarm Arab militias and punish human rights violators.
They called on the UN to give Sudan more time to resolve the conflict.
And Sudanese Vice-President Ali Osman Taha said he thought the UN's end of August deadline was impractical.
He told the BBC's Hard Talk programme that Khartoum was committed to disarming all militia forces in Darfur. "

BBC NEWS | South Asia | Europe takes on Afghan security

BBBC NEWS | South Asia | Europe takes on Afghan security: "Europe takes on Afghan security
A French and German-led military unit has taken over command of international peacekeeping force in Afghanistan.
Troops from Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Spain will lead the force for the next six months.
But the changeover comes amid growing criticism of Nato's support for the International Security Assistance Force.
There are concerns it has been too slow in meeting promises for extra troops before October's presidential election. "

Japan Today - News - 5 suffer heart, lung failure after nuclear power plant accident - Japan's Leading International News Network

Japan Today - News - 5 suffer heart, lung failure after nuclear power plant accident - Japan's Leading International News Network: "5 suffer heart, lung failure after nuclear power plant accident

Monday, August 9, 2004 at 16:54 JST
TOKYO Five people suffered heart and lung failure while two others were injured Monday after steam leaked at one of the reactors of Mihama Nuclear Power Plant in Fukui Prefecture, firefighters said.
According to information received by the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, the leak took place at a facility housing the turbines for the No. 3 reactor of the plant, located in the town of Mihama, at around 3:28 p.m. The plant is owned by Kansai Electric Power Co., the nation's second largest utility. (Kyodo News)"

CNN> International team to monitor presidential election

Observers will be part of OSCE's human rights office
From David de Sola
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A team of international observers will monitor the presidential election in November, according to the U.S. State Department.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe was invited to monitor the election by the State Department. The observers will come from the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.
It will be the first time such a team has been present for a U.S. presidential election.
"The U.S. is obliged to invite us, as all OSCE countries should," spokeswoman Urdur Gunnarsdottir said. "It's not legally binding, but it's a political commitment. They signed a document 10 years ago to ask OSCE to observe elections."
Thirteen Democratic members of the House of Representatives, raising the specter of possible civil rights violations that they said took place in Florida and elsewhere in the 2000 election, wrote to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in July, asking him to send observers.
After Annan rejected their request, saying the administration must make the application, the Democrats asked Secretary of State Colin Powell to do so.
The issue was hotly debated in the House, and Republicans got an amendment to a foreign aid bill that barred federal funds from being used for the United Nations to monitor U.S. elections, The Associated Press reported.
In a letter dated July 30 and released last week, Assistant Secretary of State Paul Kelly told the Democrats about the invitation to OSCE, without mentioning the U.N. issue.
"I am pleased that Secretary Powell is as committed as I am to a fair and democratic process," said Democratic Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas, who spearheaded the effort to get U.N. observers.
"The presence of monitors will assure Americans that America cares about their votes and it cares about its standing in the world," she said in a news release.
Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee of California agreed.
"This represents a step in the right direction toward ensuring that this year's elections are fair and transparent," she said.
"I am pleased that the State Department responded by acting on this need for international monitors. We sincerely hope that the presence of the monitors will make certain that every person's voice is heard, every person's vote is counted."
OSCE, the world's largest regional security organization, will send a preliminary mission to Washington in September to assess the size, scope, logistics and cost of the mission, Gunnarsdottir said.
The organization, which counts among its missions conflict prevention and postconflict rehabilitation, will then determine how many observers are required and where in the United States they will be sent.
"OSCE-participating [nations] agreed in 1990 to observe elections in one another's countries. The OSCE routinely monitors elections within its 55-state membership, including Europe, Eurasia, Canada and the United States," a State Department spokesman said.
The spokesman said the United States does not have any details on the size and composition of the observers or what countries will provide them.
OSCE, based in Vienna, Austria, has sent more than 10,000 personnel to monitor more than 150 elections and referenda in more than 30 countries during the past decade, Gunnarsdottir said.
In November 2002, OSCE sent 10 observers on a weeklong mission to monitor the U.S. midterm elections. OSCE also sent observers to monitor the California gubernatorial recall election last year.
More recently, OSCE monitored the elections in Northern Ireland in November and in Spain in March.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

BBC > South African apartheid party will join ANC

The party that legalised apartheid in South Africa has paved the way for its extinction by joining the party that battled the racist system.
The New National Party plans to fight future elections under the banner of the ruling African National Congress.
As the National Party, it introduced apartheid after it came to power in 1948, denying black South Africans the right to vote.
The NNP will shut down in September next year.
The party's leader, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, said he planned to join the ANC in the coming weeks and urged fellow party members to do the same.
South African President Thabo Mbeki welcomed the decision of the NNP to join his party.
He said he could not think of another instance where a party of oppression had admitted defeat and joined those whom it had oppressed.
Representatives of both parties are reported to be planning a joint national tour to help convince NNP members to make the change.
When it was in government, the National Party had a policy of reserving the best land for whites and entrenched a host of regulations designed to protect white privilege.
This included preserving white only beaches, benches and restaurants.
It lost power to the ANC in the country's first truly democratic election in 1994.

THE INVESTIGATION New York Times > U.S. Says Man Had Ties to Plot to Disrupt Vote

August 8, 2004
his article was reported by David Johnston, Thom Shanker and David E. Sanger, and written by Mr. Johnston.
WASHINGTON, Aug. 7 - A Pakistani man whose arrest provided information about the reconnaissance of financial institutions in New York, Newark and Washington was also communicating with Qaeda operatives who the authorities say are plotting to carry out an attack intended to disrupt the fall elections, a senior intelligence official said Saturday.
Senior intelligence and counterterrorism officials said it was not clear whether the people behind the surveillance of the financial institutions and the people involved in the election threat were part of the same group, or belonged to overlapping or separate ones.
The arrest last month of the Pakistani, Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan, had already prompted a search in the United States, Britain and other countries to locate the people behind the surveillance, which took place three or four years ago. Now the authorities say Mr. Khan's arrest is also helping them unravel a threat to carry out an attack this year inside the United States.
It is not clear whether Mr. Khan represents the second channel of intelligence that officials have alluded to in recent days that, they say, convinced them that the reconnaissance of financial institutions was related to current threats.
But he is emerging as a central figure in an expanding web of connections that, the authorities say, indicates that they may have penetrated an operational Qaeda group whose intentions were previously unknown.
Bush administration officials have talked about a potential threat to the election since the spring. Early last month, the homeland security secretary, Tom Ridge, spoke of a plot to disrupt the democratic process.
On Saturday, American authorities said they were close to identifying the main figures who conducted reconnaissance of the financial centers. Armed with multiple leads stemming from arrests in Britain and Pakistan, and aided by a wealth of information from forensic studies of computers seized in Pakistan, the authorities have begun a large-scale investigation.
Still frustrating investigators is the uncertainty about whether the surveillance in 2000 and 2001 was part of an ongoing plot. So far, the officials said, no clear evidence has been obtained that indicates whether the plot was ever abandoned.
Increasingly, however, the authorities suspect that the Qaeda figures believed to have been involved in the surveillance were active members of the terrorist network. They say the clandestine manner in which they operated suggested that they wanted to carry out attacks inside the United States.
Investigators are counting on people already in custody, or others whom they hope to apprehend, to help solve the mystery of whether the plot is still active.
Among those in custody is a suspect named Babar Ahmed, who was arrested in Britain this week at the request of the United States. Whatever his role in the surveillance, the authorities now say that Mr. Ahmed obtained detailed information about the movements of the Navy aircraft carrier Constellation, including information about the formations used by the carrier and its escort vessels in maneuvers like its passage through the Strait of Hormuz in the Middle East in 2001.
As part of the inquiry, Navy officials examined the record of a sailor aboard the Benfold, a destroyer that was part of the Constellation battle group. Officials said they had found an e-mail message from the sailor - who has since left the service - that was sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
The officials said that a turning point in the surveillance case came with the arrest in Britain, earlier this week, of Abu Issa al-Hindi. The authorities say they believe Mr. Hindi was dispatched to the United States by senior Qaeda leaders to carry out the reconnaissance operation.
For reasons still not entirely clear, Mr. Hindi was under surveillance by the British authorities - believed to be acting on information supplied by the United States - even before he is said to have been identified as an operative in the surveillance of American financial institutions.
One senior counterterrorism official said the outpouring of leads had mushroomed into a sprawling investigation in which agencies in the United States and overseas were struggling to coordinate and share the enormous volume of information.
The inquiry has caused strains between the United States and Britain. There were signs that some British authorities might not have agreed with the White House decision to make public information about the surveillance operations. The news agency Reuters quoted the British home secretary, David Blunkett, as saying that there was "a difference between alerting the public to a specific threat and alarming people unnecessarily by passing on information indiscriminately."
Officials at MI5, the British domestic intelligence agency, have warned that the intense news media coverage in the United States of recent arrests in Britain could interfere with legal efforts to extradite suspects to the United States.
So far, American authorities have sought the extradition of only person, Mr. Ahmed, who was arrested on charges unrelated to the surveillance operation. He is being sought on charges that he used a computer Web site to raise money for fighters in Chechnya and Afghanistan.
Mr. Ahmed is a cousin of Mr. Khan, a Qaeda communications expert whose arrest last month in Pakistan produced the trove of information that led American officials to elevate the terror alert level.
A report by Reuters in Pakistan said Mr. Khan had been secretly funneling information about Al Qaeda to Pakistani authorities and that his arrest and subsequent identification in news accounts may have cost the United States a valuable source.
American officials contacted on Saturday would not confirm whether Mr. Khan was a mole or double agent. They said his arrest had led to intelligence gains of enormous value in uncovering the surveillance operation in the United States.
Intelligence officials have also recently come into possession of information about how much Al Qaeda knew about Navy operations.
According to a statement from United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, British law enforcement authorities, executing search warrants for several locations connected to Mr. Ahmed, "seized, among other things, a document that set forth plans for a U.S. naval battle group operating in the Strait of Hormuz in April 2001. The information contained in the document, which was classified at the time, has been confirmed as legitimate by the U.S. Navy."
The documents, according to the government statement, "included the battle group's planned movements on April 29, 2001, and a drawing of the group's formation. In addition, the document specifically noted that the battle group was tasked both with enforcing sanctions against Iraq, and with conducting operations against Afghanistan and Al Qaeda."
Most important, the statement said, "the document specifically described the battle group's vulnerability to a terrorist attack, and provides specific examples on how the ships might be attacked (e.g., 'they have nothing to stop a small craft with RPG etc, except their Seals' stinger missiles')."
The initials R.P.G. refer to rocket-propelled grenade, and Seals are naval Special Operations Forces.
For unrelated reasons, the Constellation was retired from service in August 2003. In addition, after the attack on the Cole, in October 2000, the Navy began "force protection'' measures for ships sailing into regions where attacks were deemed likely. Those measures remain classified.
American officials said the e-mail correspondence from the sailor from the Benfold occurred in July 2001. Navy officials said on Saturday that investigators had not found any evidence that the sailor was the source of Mr. Ahmed's information on the Constellation group.
The content of the e-mail correspondence "was sympathetic to the jihad movement," according to the immigration and customs statement. "The enlistee expressed anti-American sentiment and offered praise for the Mujahedeen, the attack of the U.S.S. Cole" and for those "who have brought honor" to the movement "in the lands of Jihad Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, etc."
David Johnston and Thom Shanker reported from Washington for this article and David E. Sanger from Kennebunkport, Me.

New York Times > Diplomacy Fails to Slow Advance of Nuclear Arms

August 8, 2004
KENNEBUNKPORT, Me., Aug. 7 - American intelligence officials and outside nuclear experts have concluded that the Bush administration's diplomatic efforts with European and Asian allies have barely slowed the nuclear weapons programs in Iran and North Korea over the past year, and that both have made significant progress.
In a tacit acknowledgment that the diplomatic initiatives with European and Asian allies have failed to curtail the programs, senior administration and intelligence officials say they are seeking ways to step up unspecified covert actions intended, in the words of one official, "to disrupt or delay as long as we can" Iran's efforts to develop a nuclear weapon.
But other experts, including former Clinton administration officials, caution that while covert efforts have been tried in the past, both the Iranian and North Korean programs are increasingly self-sufficient, largely thanks to the aid they received from the network built by Abdul Qadeer Khan, the former leader of the Pakistani bomb program. "It's a much harder thing to accomplish today," said one senior American intelligence official, "than it would have been in the 90's."
Mr. Khan's sales have also complicated the Bush administration's efforts to disarm North Korea. A new assessment of the country has come in one of three classified reports commissioned by the Bush administration earlier this year from the American intelligence community. Circulated last month, the report concluded that nearly 20 months of toughened sanctions, including ending major energy aid, and several rounds of negotiations involving four of North Korea's neighbors have not slowed the North's efforts to develop plutonium weapons, and that a separate, parallel program to make weapons from highly enriched uranium was also moving forward, though more slowly.
The desire to pursue a broader strategy against Iran's nuclear ambitions is driven in part, officials say, by increasingly strong private statements by Israeli officials that they will not tolerate the development of an Iranian nuclear weapon, and may be forced to consider military action similar to the attack against a nuclear reactor in Iraq two decades ago if Tehran is judged to be on the verge of deploying a weapon. (In contrast, North Korea's neighbors, especially South Korea and China, are seeking stability first, and disarmament as a longer-term goal, diplomats from the region say.)
"The evidence suggests that Iran is tryin

Boston Globe > Veteran claims misquote on Kerry; Globe stands by its story

By Susan Milligan, Globe Staff | August 7, 2004
WASHINGTON -- A report that one of a group of veterans opposing Senator John F. Kerry's bid for the presidency had said he made a mistake signing an affidavit questioning Kerry's medals rocketed around the airwaves yesterday, sparking a backlash on conservative radio programs and the Drudge Report website.
The programs asserted that retired Lieutenant Commander George Elliott had been misquoted in yesterday's Boston Globe when he said he had made a "terrible mistake" in signing an affidavit suggesting Kerry did not deserve to be awarded the Silver Star. Kerry was awarded the medal for killing a Viet Cong soldier.
The Globe quoted Elliott, who was Kerry's commanding officer during the war, as saying he was under "time pressure" when he signed the document and still believes Kerry deserved the Silver Star for his service. The affidavit was released ahead of the publication of a new book that questions whether Kerry should have been given some of his combat medals.
Elliott released another affidavit yesterday backing away from his comments this week to the Globe, saying the reporter, Michael Kranish, misquoted him.
Globe Editor Martin Baron released a statement saying "the Globe stands by the article. The quotes attributed to Mr. Elliott were on the record and absolutely accurate."
In 1996, when Kerry was running for Senate reelection and faced questions about the circumstances in which he shot the Viet Cong fighter, Elliott came to Boston and defended Kerry, saying he deserved the Silver Star.
In yesterday's new affidavit, Elliott said, "had I known the facts I would not have recommended Kerry for the Silver Star simply for pursuing and dispatching a single wounded Viet Cong." He added, "I do not claim to have any personal knowledge as to how Kerry shot the wounded, fleeing Viet Cong."
At the same time, Drudge also erroneously reported that Kranish, a 20-year Globe veteran, had written the introduction to a Kerry-authorized campaign book, "Our Plan for America: Stronger at Home, Respected in the World."
In fact, Baron said, Kranish had no connection to the Kerry campaign book and did not write its introduction.
Baron noted that earlier this summer Kranish worked with PublicAffairs -- the publisher of the Boston Globe biography of Kerry, "John F. Kerry: The Complete Biography by the Boston Globe Reporters Who Know Him Best" -- to write a short introduction to a second project: an independent, unauthorized review of publicly available documents dealing with the platform and policy statements of Kerry and Edwards. That project was in no way connected with the Kerry-Edwards campaign, Baron said.
"When PublicAffairs subsequently struck an agreement with the Kerry campaign to do an official campaign book, Kranish's relationship with the project immediately ended," Baron said.
Peter Osnos, publisher of PublicAffairs, said both Drudge and Amazon, the online bookseller peddling the upcoming Kerry-Edwards book, had made a mistake in suggesting Kranish had written its introduction.
"As far as I can tell, if there's any malign intent here, it was someone making Drudge think Michael was somehow doing something for [Kerry's] campaign," Osnos said.
The Globe book, "John F. Kerry: The Complete Biography," is an unauthorized biography. The work draws on extensive interviews with the candidate, all conducted before 2004. After he emerged as the presumptive Democratic nominee, Kerry declined to cooperate with further interviews.
Amazon, the online bookseller, apparently contributed to the confusion with a listing for the Kerry-approved campaign book indicating Kranish as the author. PublicAffairs' officials said yesterday that Amazon had agreed to revise the listing immediately.
Kerry campaign spokesman Michael Meehan said Kranish had no connection to the campaign.