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Friday, September 24, 2004

BBC > Megawati apologises for failings

By Rachel Harvey
BBC, Jakarta
Indonesia's President Megawati Sukarnoputri, facing defeat after elections this week, has apologised for the shortcomings of her government.
Mrs Megawati's comments came in a her annual report to the upper house of parliament.
She was speaking as results suggested Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was heading for a landslide victory.
In her speech, Mrs Megawati urged people to wait until the final tally is declared.
This was almost certainly the last big state occasion Megawati Sukarnoputri will attend as president.
INDONESIA'S HISTORIC POLL
Run off after Mr Yudhoyono won first round
150 million registered voters on 14,000 islands
Previous leaders chosen by the legislature
Winner must tackle regional conflicts and terrorist threat
Standing before the assembled ranks of the upper house of parliament, she looked calm and composed as she delivered her assessment of her government's performance.
Progress had been made, she said, in the economic and legal spheres, but other matters remained unresolved.
"For all those shortcomings, for the things we haven't finished," said Mrs Megawati, "I ask forgiveness from parliament and from the Indonesian people whom I love."
Mrs Megawati stopped short of admitting defeat after Monday's landmark presidential elections.
But with around two thirds of the votes counted, it looks certain that her days in power are coming to an end.
European Union election monitors have hailed the presidential contest as a historic event, firmly consolidating democratic reform in Indonesia.
Laying the foundations for Indonesia's first peaceful democratic transition of power could be Megawati Sukarnoputri's greatest political achievement.
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go /pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia -pacific/3682636.stm




BBC > Hubble's deepest shot is a puzzle

Scientists studying the deepest picture of the Universe, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, have been left with a big poser: where are all the stars?
The Ultra Deep Field is a view of one patch of sky built from 800 exposures.
The picture shows faint galaxies whose stars were shining just a few hundred million years after the Big Bang.
But the image's revelation that fewer stars than expected were being born at this time brings into question current ideas on cosmic evolution.
For the first time, we at last have real data to address this final frontier - but we need more observations
Richard Ellis, California Institute of Technology
"Our results based on the Ultra Deep Field are very intriguing and quite a puzzle," says Dr Andrew Bunker, of Exeter University, UK, who led a team studying the new data.
"They're certainly not what I expected, nor what most of the theorists in astrophysics expected."
He is now urging the US space agency (Nasa) to proceed with a servicing mission to upgrade the orbital telescope so it can solve the mystery.
A 'fried' Universe
At issue is the timing of key events in the earliest stages of the Universe.
Scientists believe the super-hot conditions that existed after the Big Bang eventually cooled sufficiently to allow protons, neutrons and electrons to form neutral atoms of hydrogen and helium.
HUBBLE'S ULTRA DEEP FIELD
It is centred on the constellation Fornax, next to the constellation Orion
The image contains an estimated 10,000 galaxies
It was taken using the ACS and Nicmos instruments
Hubble needed 400 orbits to build the Ultra Deep Field observation
Total time amounted to 11.3 days of continuous viewing
The most distant light was detected at a rate of 1 photon per minute
The transition also saw the cosmos plunge into darkness - the stars that could provide the light had yet to ignite.
When they did, from infalling clouds of hydrogen and helium, the "dark ages" gave way to what has been dubbed the "cosmic renaissance".
What is more, these hot, young stars produced intense ultraviolet radiation which "fried" the gas in the Universe - to produce the diffuse intergalactic plasma detectable today.
But the Hubble Ultra Deep Field presents a problem for this story.
When Bunker and colleagues measured the rate of star formation in the image's earliest galaxies, they found it was insufficient to create the levels of radiation needed to produce the intergalactic plasma.
Another exciting possibility is that physics was very different in the early Universe
Andrew Bunker, Exeter University
"There is not enough activity to explain the re-ionisation of the Universe," Dr Bunker told the BBC. "Perhaps there was more action in terms of star formation even earlier in the history of the Universe - that's one possibility.
"Another exciting possibility is that physics was very different in the early Universe; our understanding of the recipe stars obey when they form is flawed."
Red search
The Hubble data was supported by observations with the Keck telescope in Hawaii and the Gemini telescope in Chile.
It has to be said, the Bunker assessment is not totally shared by all groups working in this area. Four other teams investigating the UDF data have put their own very different interpretations on what they see in the historic image.
For example, the team headed by Dr Massimo Stiavelli, from the Space Telescope Science Institute, in Baltimore, US, believes the populations seen may well have been able to re-ionise the Universe, provided the stars were bigger and possessed much fewer heavier elements than those we see today.
But what all astronomers believe is that to solve this puzzle, they need enhanced space-borne detectors that can better describe the long-wavelength light seen in the most distant stars.
The Hubble telescope will get this capability if Nasa goes ahead with a servicing mission and installs an instrument known as the infrared WideField Camera 3.
This is by no means certain, however, and astronomers may have to wait for the launch of Hubble's successor, the James Webb Telescope, early in the next decade.
"For the first time, we at last have real data to address this final frontier - but we need more observations," said Dr Richard Ellis, of the California Institute of Technology, US, who is passionate in his support of a mission to upgrade Hubble.
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go /pr/fr/-/2/hi/science /nature/3680944.stm

Published: 2004/09/23 13:04:44 GMT

© BBC MMIV



BBC > Support for UN reform increases

Support is growing at the UN for a joint bid by four influential countries to increase the number of members of the Security Council.
Germany, Brazil, India and Japan are seeking permanent seats on the council for themselves and one African nation.
France and Britain, two permanent council members, backed the move at the General Assembly - although Italy expressed its opposition.
France also restated its disapproval of the invasion of Iraq.
French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier told the meeting his country would not send troops to Iraq, despite calls from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan for protection for UN personnel there.
"As everyone knows, France did not approve of the conditions in which the conflict was unleashed," he said. "Neither today nor tomorrow will it commit itself militarily in Iraq."
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf also ruled out sending troops.
'Truly representative'
BBC diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus says UN reform is not only on the agenda of the General Assembly but in the very air, and there is a growing feeling that the UN needs to be recast.
Mr Barnier backed the four countries' bid, and said Paris was in favour of increasing the numbers of both permanent and non-permanent members of the council.
The call was echoed by UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw - who also voiced support for a Russian proposal to stop suspected terrorists using political asylum in other countries.
India and Germany put forward their case for the reforms of the security council, saying it was essential for the legitimacy of the UN.
"The inclusion of countries like India would be a first step in the process of making the United Nations a truly representative body," Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said.
German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said the reasons for the reforms "speak for themselves", as they would give the UN more authority.
Italy objects
Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade called for two permanent and two non-permanent African seats, while Nigerian President Olesegun Obasanjo argued that his country was well qualified for permanent membership.
But Italy voiced its opposition to the move, saying it favoured only the inclusion of more non-permanent seats on the council.
"We do not believe the council's difficulties can be resolved through new permanent, irrevocable appointments," Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said, adding that Arab nations might feel excluded.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is known to favour an expansion of the council, to enable it to command greater respect - especially in the developing world - and to make it more effective.
Washington, meanwhile, has backed Japan's bid for a permanent seat, but reserves judgement on Germany, India and Brazil.
The council's five veto-wielding permanent members are the UK, China, France, Russia and the US.
The 10 other council members are chosen for two-year terms by regional groups.
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go /pr/fr/-/2/hi/americas /3684820.stm




Thursday, September 23, 2004

MSNBC - NBC poll: Bush holds narrow lead

MSNBC - NBC poll: Bush holds narrow lead

NBC poll: Bush holds narrow lead
Many voters don't believe Kerry has a clear message

By Mark Murray
NBC NEWS

WASHINGTON - Less than six weeks before Election Day, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows President Bush with a lead over Democratic challenger John Kerry — but it's within the margin of error, and it's much smaller than some other recent post-GOP convention polls indicate.

Still, the survey has some troubling numbers for Kerry as he tries to close Bush's narrow lead: Female voters aren't flocking to the Massachusetts senator as they have to past Democratic candidates, and a solid majority of overall voters believes he doesn't have a message, or doesn't know what he would do if elected.

The poll, conducted by Hart/McInturff, shows Bush receiving support from 48 percent of registered voters, Kerry getting 45 percent, and Nader getting 2 percent. Among likely voters (defined as those expressing high interest in the November election, who represent 78 percent of the survey), Bush holds a four-point lead over Kerry, 50 percent to 46 percent.

"The difference between those couple of points and being in a dead-even race is modest," said GOP pollster Bill McInturff. "This is not a difficult race [for Kerry] to get quickly back to being functionally tied."

In fact, the results among registered voters are virtually identical to the results from past NBC/Wall Street Journal polls — even though many experts claim that Bush had a resoundingly successful convention, and noted that Kerry (dogged by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth who attacked his Vietnam record, and Democrats who questioned whether his campaign had a concrete message) had a dreadful August.

In the last poll, which was released just days before the Republican convention, Bush held a 47-45 percent lead over Kerry, a result unchanged from the survey in July. Moreover, June's poll had Bush leading 45 percent to 44 percent; May's had him up 46-42; and March's had him leading 46-43.

At odds with other polls
In addition, the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll — conducted Sept. 17-Sept. 19 among 1,006 registered voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points — finds that Bush's lead among registered voters may not be as large as some other recent polls have suggested. For instance, the CBS News/New York Times survey had Bush's lead at 9 points; Gallup had it at 8 points; and ABC News/Washington Post had it at 6 points. (Other national polls, however, have shown a much closer race.)

Nevertheless, examining the national polls might not be the best way to gauge the current state of this race; what really matters is the electoral map. And according to an NBC analysis of that map, Bush has 222 electoral votes leaning his way, Kerry has 200, and 116 appear up for grabs.

Although Kerry narrowly trails Bush in this poll, the survey also has some discouraging findings for the Democratic candidate. For example, he has just a 48-45 percent lead among women voters. By comparison, exit polls from 2000 show that that Al Gore won the women's vote 54-43. And the reason behind this shift, it seems, can be attributed to the war on terror. In the poll, when asked what set of issues is more important, 44 percent of respondents said terrorism, social issues and values, while another 44 percent said the economy and health care. Among women, though, 45 percent cited the economy and health care, while a surprisingly large 42 percent said terrorism and values.

Another troubling sign for the Kerry campaign is that most voters don't know what its message is. Fifty-four percent of respondents say that the campaign doesn't have a message, or that they don't know what a Kerry-Edwards team would do if elected. That's compared with just 36 percent who believe the campaign has a message. On the other hand, 68 percent say the Bush campaign has a message, while just 23 percent think it doesn't.

Troubling signs for Bush, too
But Bush has some troubling signs of his own. Even though the president has a slight lead in this poll, when voters were asked what they would want in a second term for Bush, 58 percent say they want major changes, compared with only 9 percent who say they want his second term to look a lot like his first term. "Look, he has to prove that he will pivot" in a second term, said Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart. Yet McInturff, the GOP pollster, added that this is something Bush can accomplish at the upcoming debates.

And heading into those debates, this poll — with a near-even horse race and problematic signs for both Bush and Kerry — shows that the presidential contest could be as close as the one four years ago. "For now, the race has all the hallmarks of a photo finish," Hart said.

Mark Murray covers politics for NBC News.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

New York Times > POLITICS Shiite Leader Fears Politics May Delay January Election

September 23, 2004
By DEXTER FILKINS
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Sept. 22 - Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani, the nation's most powerful Shiite leader, is growing increasingly concerned that nationwide elections could be delayed, his aides said, and has even threatened to withdraw his support for the elections unless changes are made to increase the representation of Shiites, according to one Iraqi source close to him.
Aides to Ayatollah Sistani contacted Lakhdar Brahimi of Algeria, the United Nations adviser who brokered the agreement to hold the elections, planned for January, to express concern that they would be delayed, according to Hamid Khaffaf, one of Ayatollah Sistani's top aides.
Another source close to the electoral negotiations said Ayatollah Sistani had asked Mr. Brahimi to return to Iraq to try to address his concerns. Mr. Khaffaf declined to discuss details of the conversation.
In New York, Mr. Brahimi's aides said only that he had not spoken recently to Ayatollah Sistani. The United Nations special representative to Iraq, Qazi Jehangir of Pakistan, could not be reached for comment.
According to people with knowledge of the talks, Ayatollah Sistani is concerned that the nascent democratic process here is falling under the control of a handful of the largest political parties, which cooperated with the American occupation and are comprised largely of exiles.
In particular, these sources say, Ayatollah Sistani is worried about discussions now under way among those parties to form a single ticket for the elections, thus limiting the choices of voters and smothering smaller political parties.
Ayatollah Sistani, who earlier this year sent tens of thousands of Iraqis into the streets to demand early elections, is said to be worried that a "consensus list" of candidates from the larger political parties would artificially limit the power of the Shiites, who form a majority in the country.
Under an agreement reached among exile groups in the early 1990's, the Shiites were said to make up about 55 percent of the population. Ayatollah Sistani, the sources say, believes the Shiite population has swelled since then and therefore would be underrepresented on any list based on a 55 percent figure.
Ayatollah Sistani also expressed concerns that the Iraqi government, possibly under American pressure, would postpone the elections on the pretext that the anarchical conditions that prevail over parts of the country would make the results illegitimate, the sources said.
According to an Iraqi close to Ayatollah Sistani who spoke at length with him last weekend, the ayatollah is so upset about the prospect that the Shiites might be underrepresented that he is prepared to withdraw his support for the elections if his concerns are not addressed. It is unclear, however, what specific demands he has made.
"If he sees that what this is leading to is unfair and unfree elections, then he will not take part in it,'' the Iraqi said. "He will declare the elections to be illegitimate."
The activity by Ayatollah Sistani represents a reassertion of his efforts to ensure that the country's long-suppressed Shiite Arabs translate their majority status into political power. In the months since the Americans toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein, Ayatollah Sistani has largely stayed away from engaging in the minutiae of partisan politics, but he has aggressively pushed the Americans, the United Nations and the Iraqi government to hold democratic elections as soon as possible.
The prospect of a boycott by Ayatollah Sistani could have severe consequences. The grand ayatollah, the senior cleric among the Shiite religious hierarchy, commands vast respect among ordinary Iraqis, many of whom could be counted on to give serious consideration to a pronouncement by him about the elections. An association of Sunni clerics has already announced that they will boycott the election.
Ayatollah Sistani's concerns also reflect a certain ambivalence regarding the presence of foreign forces in the country and the influence of international organizations like the United Nations. In the months since the Americans toppled Mr. Hussein, Ayatollah Sistani has declared a wish to end the American presence, but he has not told Iraqis to oppose it aggressively.
His concerns come at a time of growing uncertainty about the feasibility of holding elections here in January, with a guerrilla insurgency raging across much of Sunni-dominated areas north and west of Baghdad. Last week, Secretary General Kofi Annan said he doubted whether legitimate elections could be carried out in the current environment. Some United Nations officials in Baghdad, however, have said they believe elections can go forward.
American commanders say they intend to bring many of the most restive areas, including Falluja, under control by the end of the year, by force if necessary.
In recent weeks, the leaders of the major Iraqi parties have been negotiating the possibility of forming a unified ticket for the elections.
Under the electoral system, drawn up by the United Nations, voters will select not individual candidates but lists, whose members will take a number of seats in the National Assembly roughly proportional to the shares of the votes their parties receive.
While many Iraqi leaders envisioned that each party would put forward its own list for the election, the negotiations among the larger parties are driving at consolidating all of the candidates onto a single slate. Party leaders involved in the negotiations say such a ticket would be conducive to national unity in a time of great distress.
"The goal is to have a united front,'' said Adil Abdul Mahdi, the Iraqi finance minister and a member of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a leading Shiite party. "We think that would be better for the unity of the country."
It was unclear late Wednesday precisely what Ayatollah Sistani sought from Mr. Brahimi or others at the United Nations. Mr. Khaffaf declined to discuss what Ayatollah Sistani would like Mr. Brahimi to do, other than to say, "The most important thing now is to hold the election at the specified time.''
As concerned as Ayatollah Sistani is about early elections, he appears to be equally worried that the democratic process may be usurped by the well-financed major parties, nearly all of which flourished in exile and cooperated with the American occupation. These parties include the Iraqi National Accord, which is headed by the prime minister, Ayad Allawi; the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, known as Sciri; the Dawa Party; the Iraqi National Congress; the Kurdish Democratic Party, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.
Dawa and Sciri are Shiite-dominated political parties; the National Accord and the National Congress are of mixed religion and ethnicity.
All six of these parties are dominated by exiles, and together they formed the core of the external opposition to Saddam Hussein. Each was represented on the Iraqi Governing Council, the American-approved advisory board that served during the 15 months of military occupation.
"Ayatollah Sistani's concern is that the elections are being controlled and managed by the political parties that took part in the government,'' said the source close to Ayatollah Sistani.
Similar complaints arose last month during the gathering that was called to choose a National Conference, which is now advising the government.



BBC > US in shock over hostage deaths

America has woken up in shock to the news that both the US hostages being held by militants in Iraq have been killed by their captors.
Eugene Armstrong was killed on Monday. Jack Hensley was killed 24 hours later, it was finally confirmed on Wednesday.
People gathered to comfort Mr Hensley's family at their home in Marietta, Georgia.
Mr Hensley's relatives said they would pray for a third hostage held with the two Americans, Briton Ken Bigley.
What has happened will echo around the world for a day or two but will resonate in my family for generations
Ty Hensley, brother of victim
The militants have said they will kill Mr Bigley as well unless all Iraqi women prisoners are freed.
Washington has said it is holding two women, who are both in physical and legal US custody, but has no plans to release them.
'Devastated'
Mr Hensley's brother, Ty, told US media on Wednesday morning that he believed the body found in Baghdad was Jack's. There has not been any official confirmation of his identity.
Ty Hensley described the impact on his family to the NBC network's Today programme.
"What has happened will echo around the world for a day or two but will resonate in my family for generations," he said.
The victim's wife Pati was "extraordinarily devastated", he added.
"She's a widow now," he said. "She is the mother of a 13-year-old daughter... What has fallen upon her is an extraordinary amount of weight."
Jack Hensley had been due to celebrate his 49th birthday on Wednesday.
His wife had tried hard to make some kind of contact with the kidnappers but to no avail.
She made several appearances in TV shows on Tuesday to plead with the hostage-takers.
In her last broadcast appeal, Mrs Hensley passed on a message from their daughter: "Daddy I miss you and I love you, please come home."
No question of deal
In an interview for CNN, she described her husband and his colleagues as "three wonderful men who were there simply to help the Iraqi people overcome the terrible damage that had been done to them during all of this war".
The BBC's Justin Webb in Washington says neither Jack Hensley's nor Eugene Armstrong's families asked the US government to accede to the kidnappers' demands to release the women prisoners.
There has been no suggestion from the White House that such a course was ever considered, our correspondent says.
On Wednesday, reports from the Iraqi Justice Ministry suggested that at least one of the women would be released but these were dismissed by US sources.
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go /pr/fr/-/2/hi/middle _east/3680262.stm

Published: 2004/09/22 16:59:59 GMT

© BBC MMIV



BBC > $550,000 fine for Janet exposure

Federal regulators in the US have fined the CBS TV network a record $550,000 (£306,814) for pop star Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" in February.
The singer exposed her right breast during a dance routine with Justin Timberlake at this year's Super Bowl.
Now the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has fined 20 CBS-owned TV stations the maximum penalty for indecency - $27,500 (£15,340) - each.
The fine is the largest ever levied against a US television broadcaster.
However, the agency's five commissioners decided not to fine CBS's affiliate stations - more than 200 in all - which also aired the show.
The breast-baring incident generated a record number of complaints - more than 500,000 - and CBS was quick to apologise.
Timberlake blamed the exposure on a "wardrobe malfunction", while Jackson said it had been an accident.
In March she told chat show host David Letterman a second piece of material had been in place to conceal her breast when Timberlake ripped off her bustier.
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go /pr/fr/-/2/hi /entertainment/3681326 .stm




BBC > Nato agrees to expand Iraq role

The Nato alliance has agreed to take on a larger role in the training of Iraqi security forces, a spokesman said.
The organisation will now work towards creating a large military training academy to expand the work done by some 40 Nato instructors already in Iraq.
After a week-long delay, accord was reached through a revised plan that overcame French and Belgian objections.
The two countries had earlier voiced concern over how the academy would be led, funded and protected.
Under the plan, some 300 Nato instructors will now be sent to Iraq to train local security forces.
BBC regional analyst William Horsley says the move is a big step forward for the US and its allies in Iraq, who have long wanted to draw more on the huge resources and experience of Nato in the task of bringing security and stability to Iraq.
French doubts
France, Germany, Belgium and Spain will not contribute personnel for the project and have sought assurances that other members of the 26-nation alliance will shoulder the bulk of the training costs.
"This assistance should be oriented to help Iraq build the capability of its government to address the security needs of the Iraqi people," Nato spokesman James Appathurai told reporters in Brussels.
The regular Nato ambassadors' meeting followed an appeal by US President George W Bush for other countries to unite "to win the battle of bringing democracy to Iraq".
Earlier France's President Jacques Chirac had said the US-led invasion of Iraq, which toppled Saddam Hussein last year, had opened up a Pandora's box of new problems in the Middle East.
The French leader again cast doubt on the strategy of the multinational force for bringing stability to Iraq.
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go /pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe /3680504.stm

Published: 2004/09/22 18:03:29 GMT




KEUR FM 90 > Reuters > China on High Alert for Taiwan Independence Moves

(2004-09-21)
BEIJING (Reuters) - China is on high alert for moves toward independence by Taiwan as the island's president, Chen Shui-bian, speeds up his efforts to split Taiwan from the motherland, a government spokesman said on Tuesday.
A spokesman for the cabinet's Taiwan Affairs Office, which formulates Beijing's policy toward the democratic island of 23 million, said the mainland would resolutely oppose Taiwan independence and protect the unity of the country.
The spokesman accused Chen of "accelerating attempts in recent weeks to split Taiwan from China," the official Xinhua news agency said.
The mainland was "on high alert for splittist attempts of Chen Shui-bian," he was quoted as saying. Beijing views Taiwan as part of Chinese territory and has vowed to bring it back to the fold, by force if necessary.
The island and the mainland have been split politically since the Communists swept to power in 1949 and the Nationalists fled to Taiwan at the end of a civil war.
Last week, Chen made a case for Taiwan's entry into the United Nations in an unusual satellite news conference, saying Taiwan was a victim of "political apartheid" engineered by China. The appeal failed for the 12th consecutive year.
In 1971, a General Assembly resolution declared the People's Republic of China "as the only legitimate representatives of China." The resolution expelled Taiwan from all U.N. organizations and agencies.
Before that, the Nationalists occupied the U.N. seat as the Republic of China, which remains Taiwan's official name.
Chen argued that the 1971 resolution did not say that China could represent Taiwan.
The Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman "warned that Chen Shui-bian has been trying everything to separate Taiwan from China, taxing Taiwan compatriots and cross-Straits relations," Xinhua said.
Tensions have been simmering since Chen won re-election in March, although he scrapped annual military exercises last month as a reciprocal goodwill gesture after Taiwan newspapers said China had canceled its own war games.
Despite military and diplomatic rivalry, the two sides have seen trade, investment and tourism blossom since the late 1980s.


BBC NEWS | Middle East | Suicide bomber strikes Jerusalem

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Suicide bomber strikes Jerusalem

A female Palestinian suicide bomber has blown herself up in Jerusalem, killing two people and injuring several others, Israeli police say.
The blast happened in the busy French Hill suburb in the north of the city.

It is an area where Israelis gather to catch buses or hitch lifts to settlements in the West Bank.

Last month, 16 people were killed in twin suicide bombs in the Israeli city of Beersheba - the first major suicide attacks in Israel since March.

Wednesday's bomb went off shortly before 1600 (1400 GMT).

Woman bomber

One witness told Israeli television the attacker tried to approach a hitchhiking post used by Israeli soldiers when a border police officer spotted her.

"He tried to stop her and she blew up," Moshe Suissa told Channel Two television.
Suicide bombers have killed hundreds of people in Israel since the start of the Palestinian uprising nearly four years ago. Several of the suicide bombers have been women.
Last week the Palestinian militant group, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, vowed revenge after the killing of three of its members, including senior member Mahmoud Khalifa.

Two days later 10 Palestinians were killed by Israeli raids in the northern West Bank towns of Nablus and Jenin - strongholds for the militant group.

It is more than six months since the last suicide bombing in Jerusalem.

The Israeli authorities say the construction of a security barrier in the West Bank, and repeated raids against suspected militants, have helped to prevent attacks in recent months.

The New York Times > AP > National > Kerry Accuses Bush of Incompetence on Iraq

The New York Times > AP > National > Kerry Accuses Bush of Incompetence on Iraq: "September 21, 2004
Kerry Accuses Bush of Incompetence on Iraq
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Filed at 8:10 a.m. ET
NEW YORK (AP) -- Staking out new ground on Iraq, Sen. John Kerry said Monday he would not have overthrown Saddam Hussein had he been in the White House, and he accused President Bush of ``stubborn incompetence,'' dishonesty and colossal failures of judgment. Bush said Kerry was flip-flopping.
Less than two years after voting to give Bush authority to invade Iraq, the Democratic candidate said the president had misused that power by rushing to war without the backing of allies, a post-war plan or proper equipment for U.S. troops. ``None of which I would have done,'' Kerry said.
``Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who deserves his own special place in hell,'' he added. ``But that was not, in itself, a reason to go to war. The satisfaction we take in his downfall does not hide this fact: We have traded a dictator for a chaos that has left America less secure.''
Bush hit back from a campaign rally in New Hampshire, interpreting Kerry's comment to mean the Democrat believes U.S. security would be better with Saddam still in power. ``He's saying he prefers the stability of a dictatorship to the hope and security of democracy,'' the Republican incumbent said.
``Today, my opponent continued his pattern of twisting in the wind,'' Bush said. ``He apparently woke up this morning and has now decided, No, we should not have invaded Iraq, after just last month saying he would have voted for force even knowing everything we know today.''
Both candidates addressed partisan crowds, drawing cheers and hoots as they stretched each"

The New York Times > Washington > Campaign 2004 > Kerry Returns to Florida, Hammering Bush on Iraq

The New York Times > Washington > Campaign 2004 > Kerry Returns to Florida, Hammering Bush on Iraq: "September 22, 2004
Kerry Returns to Florida, Hammering Bush on Iraq
By RICHARD W. STEVENSON

ORLANDO, Fla., Sept. 21 - Senator John Kerry returned to Florida on Tuesday after an absence of a month, campaigning in a crucial swing state with a newly aggressive attack on President Bush's handling of Iraq and a feisty critique of the president's record on health care.
Appearing in Orlando with his running mate, Senator John Edwards, and earlier in Jacksonville, Mr. Kerry sought to project the aura of a candidate hitting his stride. His staff was equally upbeat, asserting that the campaign's polling showed Mr. Kerry running neck and neck or even a little ahead of Mr. Bush in Florida, a claim impossible to assess because there have been no public statewide polls since the state was hit by hurricanes in the last month.
'These guys have got me in a fighting mood,' Mr. Kerry said of Mr. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney at a late-night rally here in a voice made hoarse by campaigning.
A day after delivering his most pointed critique of Mr. Bush's handling of the war in Iraq, Mr. Kerry tried to stay on the offensive. Noting that Mr. Bush had told reporters in New York earlier in the day that the Central Intelligence Agency had been 'guessing' about what conditions might be like in Iraq when it made its most recent assessment, Mr. Kerry said to the crowd here, 'Ladies and gentlemen, does that make you feel safer? Does that give you confidence that this president knows what he's talking about?'
Earlier, Mr. Kerry used his first news conference since early August to press his case that only a new president can salvage a situation in Iraq getting worse by the day."

The New York Times > Washington > Campaign 2004 > Kerry in a Struggle for a Democratic Base: Women

The New York Times > Washington > Campaign 2004 > Kerry in a Struggle for a Democratic Base: Women: "Kerry in a Struggle for a Democratic Base: Women
By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE

WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 - It was no accident that John Kerry appeared Tuesday on 'Live With Regis and Kelly'' and recalled his days as a young prosecutor in a rape case. Or that he then flew from New York to Jacksonville, Fla., to promote his health care proposals. Or that on Thursday in Davenport, Iowa, he will preside over a forum on national security with an audience solely of women.
These appearances are part of an energetic drive by the Kerry campaign to win back voters that Democrats think are rightfully theirs: women.
In the last few weeks, Kerry campaign officials have been nervously eyeing polls that show an erosion of the senator's support among women, one of the Democratic Party's most reliable constituencies. In a New York Times/CBS News poll conducted last week, women who are registered to vote were more likely to say they would vote for Mr. Bush than for Mr. Kerry, with 48 percent favoring Mr. Bush and 43 percent favoring Mr. Kerry.
In 2000, 54 percent of women voted for Al Gore, the Democratic nominee, while 43 percent voted for Mr. Bush.
Democratic and Republican pollsters say the reason for the change this year is that an issue Mr. Bush had initially pitched as part of an overall message - which candidate would be best able to protect the United States from terrorists - has become particularly compelling for women. Several said that a confluence of two events - a Republican convention that was loaded with provocative scenes of the Sept. 11 tragedy, and a terrorist attack on children in Russia - had helped recas"

Monday, September 20, 2004

New York Times > THE DEMOCRATIC RUNNING MATE Taking the Offensive, Edwards Says a Kerry Administration Would 'Crush' Al QaedaBy RANDAL C. ARCHIBOLD

Published: September 20, 2004
JOHNSTOWN, Pa., Sept. 19 - Opening a weeklong Democratic offensive on Iraq and terror, Senator John Edwards promised Sunday that a Kerry White House would eliminate what he called a "backdoor draft'' of Reservists and National Guard members and would "crush'' Al Qaeda.
On a day when he alone among the presidential and vice-presidential candidates campaigned, Mr. Edwards, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, added fresh elements to his standard remarks on war and terror, two subjects that polls suggest rank at the top of voter concerns.
Mr. Edwards's comments came as Terry McAuliffe, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, promised a new salvo this week against the Bush administration's Iraq policy.
Mr. McAuliffe, in a conference call with reporters on Sunday, said that Mr. Kerry would deliver a major speech on Iraq on Monday and would criticize President Bush's handing of the war in a new advertisement, and that party officials would hold a news conference with mothers of soldiers stationed in Iraq.
A senior Kerry adviser said the speech would address "what needs to be done" but would not present a point-by-point exit plan.
The advertisement, to be shown in unspecified battleground states, features the candidate saying: "Two hundred billion dollars. That is what we are spending in Iraq because George Bush chose to go it alone. Now the president tells us we don't have the resources to take care of health care and education here at home. That's wrong. As president, I'll stop at nothing to get the terrorists before they get us. But I'll also fight to build a stronger middle class. That's the difference in this election. I believe the next president must do both: defend America and fight for the middle class.''
Mr. Edwards, at a rally in the Philadelphia suburb of Phoenixville, condemned a remark by Representative H. Dennis Hastert of Illinois, the speaker of the House, who suggested Saturday that Al Qaeda might find it easier to strike if Mr. Kerry were in office.
Mr. Edwards said the remark was part of a pattern of Republican "fear mongering."
"Let me just say this in the simplest possible terms," Mr. Edwards said. "When John Kerry is president of the United States, we will find Al Qaeda where they are and crush them before they can do damage to the American people."
Later, at a boisterous rally here, Mr. Edwards accused the administration of concealing plans for a large call-up of National Guard and Reserve troops after the election. Mr. Kerry had made the same charge on Friday.
Bush administration officials called the suggestion patently false, but Representative John P. Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat who is a ranking member of the House defense appropriations subcommittee, has said Pentagon sources told him it was so. Mr. Edwards campaigned with Mr. Murtha here on Sunday afternoon.
Both Mr. Edwards and Mr. Kerry have said that extended deployments of Reservists and National Guard troops in Iraq beyond their normal tours of duty amount to a form of conscription and are taking a large toll on their families.
"Let me tell you, I want you to tell all your friends here in Pennsylvania, when John Kerry is president of the United States, we're going to get rid of this backdoor draft," Mr. Edwards said. "We're not going to continue to have people coming in the back door."
In recent days Mr. Edwards has sought to critique the Bush administration more aggressively and answer its attacks. The shift came after some Democrats questioned whether the ticket was hitting back hard enough on Republican charges and whether Mr. Edwards's national profile was high enough. Mr. Edwards made three stops in Pennsylvania, a state Al Gore won in 2000, but where polls suggest the race is tight. Mr. Bush plans to visit the state on Wednesday and Vice President Dick Cheney on Monday.
Both parties see places like Phoenixville, a former steel town in the southeastern corner of the state, and Johnstown, an industrial center in the southwest where Mr. Edwards also spoke, as prime targets because voters there have not hewed strongly to party lines recently.
Earlier, at a predominantly black church in Philadelphia, Mr. Edwards cautioned that the next president would probably make appointments to the Supreme Court and said such appointments would be pivotal to protecting affirmative action.
"We don't want the cause of justice to be hanging by a thread, do we?" he asked.
Jodi Wilgoren contributed reporting from Boston for this article.

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New York Times > Hu Takes Full Power in China as He Gains Control of Military

September 20, 2004
By JOSEPH KAHN
BEIJING, Sept. 19 - China's president, Hu Jintao, replaced Jiang Zemin as the country's military chief and de facto top leader on Sunday, state media announced, completing the first orderly transfer of power in the history of China's Communist Party.
Mr. Hu, who became Communist Party chief in 2002 and president in 2003, now commands the state, the military and the ruling party. He will set both foreign and domestic policy in the world's most populous country, which now has the world's seventh-largest economy and is rapidly emerging as a great power.
The transition is a significant victory for Mr. Hu, a relatively unknown product of the Communist Party machine. He has solidified control of China's most powerful posts at a younger age - he is 61 - than any Chinese leader since Mao Zedong, and is now likely to be able govern relatively unimpeded by powerful elders.
Mr. Jiang's resignation, which surprised many party officials who expected the tenacious elder leader to cling to power for several more years, came after tensions between Mr. Jiang and Mr. Hu began to affect policy making in the one-party state, some officials and political analysts said.
Mr. Jiang, 78, may be suffering from health problems, several people informed about leadership debates said. But he appeared robust in recent public appearances and was widely described as determined to keep his job - and even expand his authority - until he submitted a letter of resignation this month.
The leadership transition was announced Sunday in a terse dispatch by the New China News Agency, followed by a 45-minute broadcast on China Central Television. Mr. Jiang and Mr. Hu appeared side by side, smiling, shaking hands and praising each other profusely in front of applauding members of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, which formally accepted Mr. Jiang's resignation and Mr. Hu's promotion at the conclusion of its four-day annual session.
Mr. Jiang's offer to retire, which was first reported by The New York Times earlier this month, was given no advance publicity in state media. China Central Television read the text of Mr. Jiang's resignation letter on its evening broadcast, emphasizing that his resignation was voluntary. The letter was dated Sept. 1.
"In consideration of the long-term development of the party's and people's collective endeavors, I have always looked forward to fully retiring from all leadership posts," Mr. Jiang wrote, according to an official transcript of his letter. He said Mr. Hu "is fully qualified to take up this position."
Even by the strict standards of secrecy within the party, the decision about Mr. Jiang's fate was closely held. For a vast majority of the 70 million party members, not to mention the general public, there had been no indication that he was planning to retire, and his abrupt departure seems likely to increase the sense that the most important personnel decisions are made without broad consultation. Since the Communists defeated the Nationalists in a civil war and took control of China in 1949, the party has repeatedly failed to execute orderly successions. All three of the men chosen by Mao Zedong to succeed him were purged before they could consolidate power, two of them by Mao himself and the third by Deng Xiaoping after Mao's death in 1976.
Deng also anointed and then cashiered two successors. In the aftermath of the bloody crackdown on dissent in 1989, he elevated Mr. Jiang from the middling rank of Shanghai party chief to China's highest posts.
The most recent transition looked similarly compromised when Mr. Jiang maneuvered to keep control of the military in 2002. Party officials said Mr. Hu had been slated to inherit full power at that time and that his failure to control the military forced him to operate in Mr. Jiang's shadow.
But Mr. Jiang's retirement suggests that the party now operates more according to the consensus of its elite members rather than the whims of its most senior leader.
Moreover, Mr. Jiang did not appear to have extracted any special concessions as the price of his retirement. Notably, he failed to arrange for Vice President Zeng Qinghong to be elevated to the Central Military Commission. Party officials had said they expected Mr. Zeng, a longtime protégé and ally of Mr. Jiang's, to become either a regular member or a vice chairman of the commission.
On Sunday, Xu Caihou, a military officer in charge of propaganda work, was promoted to replace Mr. Hu as a vice chairman of the commission. He will serve with Cao Gangchuan, the defense minister, and Gen. Guo Boxiong.
The number of regular members of the commission was expanded to seven from four, adding representatives from the navy, air force and the unit in charge of China's nuclear arsenal.
Mr. Hu, a poker-faced bureaucrat who served most of his career in inland provinces and rarely if ever traveled outside China before he rose to the most senior ranks in the late 1990's, has sent mixed signals about how he intends to rule. He deftly handled the first big crisis of his leadership in the spring of 2003, when China faced the SARS epidemic that top health officials had initially covered up. Mr. Hu sacked two senior officials and ordered a broad mobilization to combat the disease, which was controlled within weeks.
He has sought to draw a contrast with Mr. Jiang's aristocratic image, making trips to China's poorest areas and shunning some conspicuous perks. He pledged to raise the incomes of workers and peasants and redirect more state spending to areas left behind in China's long economic boom.
"Use power for the people, show concern for the people and seek benefit for the people," Mr. Hu said in remarks early in his term as party chief. He has allowed state media to refer to him as a populist, though his rise through the ranks has not depended on popular support.
Little is known about Mr. Hu personally beyond a few random facts offered by the propaganda machine, including his enthusiasm for Ping-Pong and what is described as a photographic memory. In official settings, he is a much less colorful figure than Mr. Jiang, who crooned "Love Me Tender" at an Asian diplomatic gathering and was fond of quoting Jefferson and reciting the Gettysburg Address to visiting Americans.
It seems highly unlikely that Mr. Hu is a closet liberal. Editors and other journalists say he has tightened media controls. He has presided over a crackdown on online discussion by jailing people who express antigovernment views on the Internet.
"My general impression is that Hu is a Communist of the old mode," said Alfred Chan, professor of politics at Huron College in Canada, who is conducting a study of the new leadership. "His career has been totally shaped by the Communist system. I think many expectations of him are exaggerated because he works under the constraints of party discipline."
In a speech delivered last week, he referred to Western-style democracy as a "blind alley" for China. He has a plan for political change, but it mostly involves injecting some transparency and competitiveness within the single-party system to make officials police themselves better.
In foreign affairs, Mr. Hu deferred largely to Mr. Jiang. Mr. Jiang relished his role as a statesman and was proud of having built a nonconfrontational, sometimes even cordial relationship with the United States.
Mr. Hu is not expected to alter course substantially. But party officials say that he has tended to emphasize relations with China's neighbors and with Europe over ties with the United States and Japan.
He faces two major foreign policy tests that Mr. Jiang leaves unresolved. One involves North Korea, China's longtime ally, which American officials say is on the verge of becoming a full-scale nuclear power. Chinese officials worry that if Pyongyang formally goes nuclear, other Asian countries, notably Japan, could follow.
China is also deeply worried about how to deal with Taiwan under President Chen Shui-bian, who many here believe intends to move the island, which China claims as its sovereign territory, toward independence.
Mr. Jiang steered China toward a tougher rhetorical and military posture toward Taiwan, even as the Bush administration expanded military aid to the island. Mr. Hu has not shown any signs of changing course, but some analysts say he may experiment with a more flexible approach if he does not have to worry about having his nationalist credentials second-guessed by Mr. Jiang.
Mr. Hu and Mr. Jiang did not publicly spar. But there were signs that their relationship had become strained. Mr. Jiang rejected a framework for China's emergence as a great power that Mr. Hu supported. The policy framework, known by the slogan "peaceful rise," was dismissed by Mr. Jiang as too soft when China was threatening Taiwan with military force.
Mr. Hu and his prime minister, Wen Jiabao, have also had to battle internally to curtail wasteful state spending and cool the overheated economy. Some regional leaders are thought to have looked to Mr. Jiang as a counterweight to Mr. Hu because they see the elder leader as a champion of fast economic growth supported by heavy state investment.
"It may be that Hu will no longer have to worry that Jiang will contest his decisions, and that could make decision-making smoother," said Frederick Teiwes, an expert on elite politics at the University of Sydney.
Some people who have visited Mr. Jiang or spoken with his relatives say he has suffered health problems lately, offering one possible explanation for his unexpected retirement.
But Mr. Jiang is also thought to have come under heavy pressure within the party, and even within the military, to follow the example of Deng and withdraw from public life before health problems force him to do so. Mr. Hu also made a veiled call for Mr. Jiang to step aside when he lavished praise on Mr. Deng's decision to retire early during ceremonies to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the late leader's birth in August.
Chris Buckley contributed reporting for this article.
From: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/20/international/asia/20china.html?ei=5090&en=8285850bd113847b&ex=1253419200&partner=rssuserland&pagewanted=print&position=


Yahoo News > A P > Candidates Play on Fears of Attacks, Wars

Sun Sep 19, 6:11 PM ET
By PAULINE JELINEK, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - Playing on the fear factor, Vice President Dick Cheney (news - web sites) suggested in a campaign speech there might be another terrorist attack on the United States if John Kerry (news - web sites) were in the White House. President Bush (news - web sites)'s opponents' are raising their own worst fears, including the potential for more wars during a second Bush term.
From: http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20040919/ap_on_el_pr/more_war_4


CNN> McCain: Bush not straight enough on Iraq Senators of both parties criticize his picture of conditions there

Sunday, September 19, 2004 Posted: 6:46 PM EDT (2246 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Several Republicans and Democrats took President Bush to task on Sunday's talk shows over his repeated assertions that all is well in Iraq.
Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona said Bush was not being "as straight as maybe we'd like to see" with the American people about Iraq.
McCain, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said on "Fox News Sunday" that it was "a serious mistake" not to have had enough troops in place "after the initial successes" and that the mistake had led to "very, very significant" difficulties.
"I think every day that goes by that we don't remove these sanctuaries in Falluja and other places in the Sunni Triangle, the more expensive it's going to be at the time we take this out," McCain said.
He said he "would never have allowed the sanctuaries to start with."
"In the Falluja issue, our general in Baghdad said we were going to go in and capture or kill those who were responsible for the deaths of Americans," McCain said.
"And we went in, and then we pulled out. As Napoleon said, if you say you're going to take Vienna, you take Vienna."
McCain, who has campaigned for Bush's re-election, acknowledged that the incumbent's rosy view of Iraq as "on the path of stability and democracy" may not be accurate, "although I've been with him when he has told audiences that this is a very tough struggle that we're in."
Bush said in an interview Saturday that Iraq is "defying the dire predictions of a lot of people by moving toward democracy." (Full story)
McCain, who spent five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam after his Navy plane was shot down, hinted that Bush might be avoiding the specter of putting more American lives at risk.
"Airstrikes don't do it; artillery doesn't do it," he said. "Boots on the ground do it. That's one of the fundamentals of warfare."
"You've got to send our troops in there on the ground," he said. "And that, of course, means the most difficult kind of fighting.
"I think the president is being clear. I would like to see him more clear, because I believe the American people, the majority of them, know what's at stake and will support this effort."
McCain called for an increase in the Army of about 70,000 soldiers and for 20,000 to 25,000 more Marines.
"The reality," he said, "[is] that we're going to be there for a long time -- which, by the way, is not terrible if you keep the casualties down."
Democratic Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan said on CNN's "Late Edition" that he doubted the administration would make any of the tough decisions until after the November election.
"And it's too bad, because it's most important that this administration listen to some of even its Republican critics, which is that we've got a significantly worsening situation in Iraq," said Levin, the ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee.
Speaking on CBS's "Face the Nation," Jon Kyl, Arizona's junior senator -- also a Republican -- said "hand-wringing" about the situation in Iraq would not win the war.
"War is tough, and there are casualties. And just before victory, sometimes, it gets most violent," said Kyl, chairman of the subcommittee on terrorism, technology and homeland security of the Judiciary Committee.
Appearing on the same program, Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, a fellow Republican, disagreed with Kyl that the United States was anywhere near victory.
"I don't think we're winning. In all due respect to my friend Jon Kyl, the term 'hand-wringing' is a little misplaced here," Hagel said.
"The fact is, a crisp, sharp analysis of our policies are required. We didn't do that in Vietnam, and we saw 11 years of casualties mount to the point where we finally lost.
"The fact is, we're in trouble. We're in deep trouble in Iraq," said Hagel, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Intelligence committees.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who has traveled to Iraq twice and is a member of the Armed Services Committee, said he doesn't "buy that" when told enough troops are in Iraq to do the job.
"There's a rhyme or reason to what's happening here," he said on CNN's "Late Edition." "They're attacking police stations. They're attacking people who want to join the army. They're trying to kill people who want to be part of a democratic government."
On ABC's "This Week," Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana and Democratic Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware both had critical words for the administration's handling of Iraq.
"No. 1, on the police training, we've wasted 17 months," Biden said. "We should be using some imagination. Pick out the 500 most likely leaders in the police force, put them on a 747, fly them to Bonn, Germany, or to Berlin, and tell them to train them and train them as leaders, so they're paramilitary police.
"The president's going to the United Nations [Tuesday]," he said. "You know what we list as our priorities for the United Nations General Assembly? Dealing with sex trade, which is important. Dealing with cloning. Dealing with spread of democracy.
"Not one word of Korea. Not one word with regard to Iraq. Not one word with regard to Iran. It's like Wonderland," said Biden, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Lugar, who is chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said "the incompetence in the administration" led to only $1 billion spent out of $18 billion appropriated last year for reconstruction efforts.
From: http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/09/19/iraq.senators/index.html


BBC > Iran rejects UN nuclear demands

Iran has defiantly rejected calls from the UN nuclear watchdog to suspend all its uranium enrichment activities.
Tehran also vowed to block snap inspections of its nuclear sites if the issue is sent to the Security Council.
"Iran will not accept any obligation regarding the suspension of uranium enrichment," chief nuclear negotiator Hassan Rohani said.
Enriched uranium can be used to make nuclear weapons, but Iran insists its programme is for peaceful purposes.
"If they want to send Iran to the Security Council, it is not wise, and we will stop implementing the Additional Protocol," Mr Rohani told a news conference in Tehran after the decision by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
This demand is illegal and does not put any obligation on Iran - the IAEA board of governors has no right to make such a suspension obligatory for any country
Hassan Rohani
Iran chief nuclear negotiator
The Additional Protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty allows snap nuclear checks.
"We are committed to the suspension of actual enrichment, but we have no decision to expand the suspension," Mr Rohani said.
"This demand is illegal and does not put any obligation on Iran. The IAEA board of governors has no right to make such a suspension obligatory for any country."
He said European countries were wrong in thinking Iran was only one step away from full enrichment; Iran was already at that point and could complete the nuclear fuel cycle "today" if it wanted.
And he added that, if Iran was referred to the UN Security Council for punitive action, it would consider pulling out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty altogether.
Iran suspended enrichment a year ago as a confidence-building measure, but has continued activities such as building the centrifuges that refine the uranium.
Suspicions
The US has strong suspicions that Iran is using its nuclear programme to make weapons in secret.
Along with Israel, it is pushing the IAEA to refer Iran to the Security Council if it does not comply with the agency's demands. The Security Council could then impose sanctions.
NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY (NPT)
Aims to prevent spread of nuclear weapons and develop peaceful use of nuclear power
Ratified in 1970 by the US, UK and Russia (then Soviet Union)
China and France sign up in 1992
Some 190 "non-nuclear" countries - including Iran - have ratified the pact
They agree not to develop or acquire such weapons
Non-signatories India, Pakistan and Israel are known or believed to have nuclear arms
"With every passing week, Iran moves that much closer to reaching the point where neither we, nor any other international body, will be able to prevent it from achieving nuclear weapons capacity," said chief US delegate Jackie Sanders on Saturday.
Nuclear experts have said the Parchin military complex, south-east of Tehran, may be a site for the research, testing and production of nuclear arms.
Iran says it has a right to enrich uranium as part of its peaceful nuclear programme, including power generation.
European rift
Iran also accused Britain, France and Germany of breaking an accord reached last year on Iran's co-operation with the IAEA.
The Board of Governors considers it necessary, to promote confidence, that Iran immediately suspend all enrichment-related activities

"The three Europeans have violated the terms of the accord regarding enrichment because the suspension of enrichment was voluntary," Mr Rohani said.
In its resolution, the IAEA said its board of governors had judged that an Iranian promise made to the three European nations last year to suspend uranium enrichment activities had fallen short of expectations.
The resolution called on Iran to suspend all uranium enrichment activities and asked Iran to grant access to its inspectors.
The IAEA board of governors is next set to meet on 25 November to review Iran's alleged nuclear weapons programme.
Iran has until then to answer all outstanding questions about its nuclear programme.
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go /pr/fr/-/2/hi/middle _east/3670018.stm


BBC > Europe win Ryder Cup

Europe clinched the 35th Ryder Cup by an historic 18½-9½ margin after fending off a formidable American charge in the singles at Oakland Hills on Sunday.
Bernhard Langer's side began the day leading 11-5 and needed three-and-a-half points to win outright.
Though they were hit by an early USA onslaught, Europe responded superbly to eventually win the singles 7½-4½.
Sergio Garcia, Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood paved the way for Colin Montgomerie to hole the winning putt.
Europe have now won four of the last five of the biennial matches against the United States and handed the USA their heaviest defeat in the competition's 77-year history.
The previous biggest margin for Europe was 16½-11 in 1985, though America hold the outright Ryder Cup record with a 23½-8½ victory over Great Britain and Ireland in 1967.
We are one of the closest-knit teams in international sport
Colin Montgomerie
Victorious European captain Bernhard Langer said their triumph at Oakland Hills capped "a tremendous week".
"We had so much fun as a team," he said. "I'm so proud of the guys. We were down early and came back strong. They have a lot of heart."
His counterpart Hal Sutton admitted his USA team had lost to the better side.
"The Europeans are great, they came in here and played ferociously, and they holed the putts when they needed to. We just got outplayed."
The stage was set for the 41-year-old Montgomerie after Spain's Garcia beat world number four Phil Mickelson 3&2, Northern Ireland's Clarke secured a half against Davis Love and England's Westwood beat Kenny Perry by one hole.
Montgomerie, a seven-time Cup veteran, has struggled since winning the last of his seven European titles in 1999, and has suffered the breakdown of his marriage in the last few years.
But the Scot, who needed a wildcard to make the team, continued his imperious Cup form from The Belfry in 2002.
And he stretched his singles record to seven wins out of seven with victory by one hole over former USPGA champion David Toms.
"It's been a fantastic week," said Montgomerie.
"Bernhard Langer has been a wonderful captain, but he had great troops playing for him. Personally it means nothing. It's all about a team event.
"We are one of the closest-knit teams in international sport. It's amazing how we play for each other."
The margin of victory, though, belied the effort needed from the whole 12-man team on the final day.
I made mistakes, and I take full responsibility
Hal Sutton
US captain Hal Sutton sent out his side in the order they had qualified and America's number one Tiger Woods set the balling rolling, never trailing to English rookie Paul Casey before winning 3&2.
Former US Open champion Jim Furyk then humbled England's David Howell 6&4 as the scoreboard took on a distinctly red hue, indicating the number of matches America were up in.
But gradually Europe fought back, inspired by the talismanic Garcia in match two.
After the Cup had been won, rookies Ian Poulter, of England, and Frenchman Thomas Levet picked up their first points against Chris Riley and Fred Funk.
Irishman Paul McGinley, who holed the winning putt for Europe two years ago, then beat Stewart Cink 3&2 and countryman Padraig Harrington edged out Jay Haas in the final game.
Story from BBC SPORT:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go /pr/fr/-/sport2/hi/golf /3671406.stm

Published: 2004/09/19 21:59:54 GMT




BBC > Indonesia presidential poll

Indonesians are voting in the second and final round of the country's first ever direct presidential elections.
Current President Megawati Sukarnoputri is facing a stiff challenge from former army general Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
"I do believe, God willing, that I can win this election," he said, as he cast in his vote in his home village near the capital, Jakarta.
Preliminary results are expected late on Monday, but the final tally won't be announced until early October.
Polling stations in the eastern province of Papua were the first of 500,000 polling stations across the vast nation to open.
On the eve of the poll, Ms Megawati urged Indonesians to "show the world that we are a nation that can hold an election in a democratic, secure, orderly and peaceful manner".
The chairman of the General Elections Commission, Nazaruddin Sjamsuddin, also expressed hope that Monday's polls would be "secure and smooth".
There are 500 international monitors in the country to observe the voting.
Security fears have increased in the wake of a bomb attack on the Australian embassy in Jakarta on 9 September, which killed nine people.
According to the BBC's Rachel Harvey in Jakarta, security measures have now been tightened ahead of the poll.
Democratic step forward
Monday's elections are the final stage of a democratic process that began with a parliamentary poll in April, and continued with the first round of the presidential contest in July.
INDONESIA'S HISTORIC POLL
Mr Yudhoyono won first round
150 million registered voters on 14,000 islands
Previous leaders chosen by the legislature
Winner must tackle regional conflicts and terrorist threat
The July poll narrowed down thefield from five candidates to two - Ms Megawati and her former security minister, Mr Yudhoyono.
Mr Yudhoyono won the first round, with 33.5% of the vote compared with Ms Megawati's 26.6%, and since then he has consistently led opinion polls.
Whoever wins Monday's election, Indonesia's next president will for the first time have a direct public mandate.
For that reason if for no other, this election marks a significant moment in Indonesia's transition to full democracy, our correspondent says.
Personality contest
There appears to be little difference between the two candidates in terms of policy.
Both are promising to boost Indonesia's under-performing economy and root out endemic corruption.
They also agree on taking a tough line towards separatist movements in Aceh and Papua.
Both say they will do all they can to hunt down the militant network which has carried out a series of major bomb attacks in the past two years - in a Bali nightspot, Jakarta's Marriott Hotel and most recently at the Australian embassy.
This contest has been as much about personality as anything else, our correspondent says.
Ms Megawati, often seen as aloof by her critics, has been spending time meeting the public and giving media interviews in an effort to gain ground on her opponent.
Mr Yudhoyono, meanwhile, has promised "effective leadership".
He has drawn strength from his image as a man of integrity, as well as a determined leader in times of crisis.
As security minister, he led the hunt for the perpetrators of the Bali and Jakarta hotel bombings.
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go /pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia -pacific/3670804.stm

Published: 2004/09/20 02:54:40 GMT


Hindu Times > Silent push to Taiwan ties Saurabh Shukla

New Delhi, September 20
While endorsing a one-China policy, New Delhi has been quietly promoting scientific and economic cooperation with Taiwan, a country with which it hasn't ever had relations with beyond the trade and cultural offices in both capitals.
But over the last six months, including the twilight phase of the NDA regime, a hush-hush policy has been pursued to foster bilateral contact with Taiwan. In fact, two senior secretaries of the Indian government have travelled to Taiwan in recent months for detailed discussions on future cooperation.
The two sides are also believed to be working on a MoU on scientific cooperation. But sources said that the document will not be inked by the two governments but by the Taiwan Academy of Sciences and Indian National Science Academy.
A senior official told HT that in April an Indian delegation of scientists, headed by science and technology secretary V.S. Ramamurthy, was in Taipei. They visited several institutions engaged in research on nanotechnology and biotechnology.
From: http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_1014978,00080001.htm



Sunday, September 19, 2004

Xinhuanet > Jiang retires, proposes Hu to succeed

www.chinaview.cn 2004-09-19 20:37:11
BEIJING, Sept. 19 (Xinhuanet) -- China Sunday published Jiang Zemin's letter resigning from his position as chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
In the letter to the Political Bureau of the Party's Central Committee, dated Sept. 1, Jiang offered to retire from the post and proposed that Hu Jintao succeed him as CMC chairman.
"Comrade Hu Jintao would be completely qualified for the post, and (the proposed appointment) is also good for the adherence to the fundamental principle and system of the absolute leadership ofthe Party over the armed forces," Jiang said in the letter.
The Fourth Plenum of the 16th CPC Central Committee, which concluded here Sunday, approved Hu's succession after accepting Jiang's resignation.
Hu, 61, is the president of China and also general secretary ofthe CPC Central Committee. He was vice-chairman of the CMC prior to his new appointment.
In his letter, Jiang said he informed the central committee before the 16th CPC National Congress that he desired to retire.
"The central committee accepted my request at that time, while,from the overall point of view, making a decision that I retained the chairmanship of the Central Military Commission of the Party and the State due to the consideration of the complex and changinginternational situation and heavy tasks of the building of national defense and the armed forces," he wrote.
Jiang retired from the Party's top post and bowed out of the Party Central Committee at the 16th CPC National Congress in November 2002. He stepped down from the state presidency one year later. Hu took over both positions.
"Afterwards, I carry out my duty as commissioned by the centralcommittee whole-heartedly, and has always respected and supported the work of the collective central leadership," Jiang wrote." (But)from the long-term development of the undertaking of the Party andthe people, I has been expecting complete retirement from leadership position."
The Party's 16th Congress with Hu as general secretary has mademany great achievements in both the Party and China, winning support and trust of the cadres and the people, said Jiang.
The leaders elected by the 16th Party congress and the First Plenary Session of the Party's 16th Central Committee have made great strides, which will be capable of withstanding the country'srapid development as it opens up to the outside world, according to the letter.
"After careful consideration, I intend to resign from my current post, which is good for the development of the undertakings of the Party, the State and the armed forces," wrote Jiang. "It is my sincere hope that the central committee would accept my request, and I would offer to the National People's Congress to resign as chairman of the CMC of the People's Republicof China."
In his letter, Jiang said he greatly cherished the Party and the Chinese people, because their undertakings have been his life for the past six decades.
"I will be loyal to the undertaking of the Party and the State forever, and will always be a loyal member of the Communist Party of China," he wrote. Enditem
From:http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2004-09/19/content_1995759.htm


japantoday > asia China's Jiang quits as military  chief

Saturday, September 18, 2004 at 15:03 JST
HONG KONG — Former Chinese President Jiang Zemin will quit as the nation's military chief on Sunday, handing over full power to his successor Hu Jintao, the South China Morning Post reported Saturday.
Jiang, 78, tendered his resignation at a plenum of the Chinese Communist Party's elite Central Committee on Thursday, the English-language daily said, citing unidentified party sources. (Kyodo News)
From: http://www.japantoday.com/e/?content=news&cat=7&id=312626