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|7387||Ex-Thai PM's Wife Guilty Of Fraud||Andrew Chant||News||Thailand||31 July 2008 11:40 Thu||
The wife of Thailand's former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has been sentenced to three years in jail for tax fraud.
Pojaman Shinawatra, her brother Bannapot Damapong, who was also given three years, and her secretary, who was handed a two-year sentence, were all found guilty of evading a tax of 546m baht ($16.3m) in a 1997 shares transfer in the family telecoms business. The three were released today on bale, pending an appeal.
|7388||International Community Failing Sudan||Andrew Heavens||News||Sudan||31 July 2008 11:41 Thu||
The international community is failing to provide basic equipment vital to the peacekeeping mission in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region, says a report backed by 36 human rights groups and NGOS. The report, written by aviation expert Thomas Withington and published by Save Darfur Coalition, comes on the first anniversary of the decision to deploy a UN-African Union force in Darfur.
It says helicopters are vital to the peacekeeping mission's success, but that no country has offered a single helicopter. Meanwhile, the UN is expected to vote on whether to extend the troops mandate for another year. The decision has become entangled with the controversy surrounding the decision to level war crimes charges against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. So far, only a third of the promised 26,000 peacekeepers have so far been deployed. At least 300,000 people have died and a further 2 million displaced following five years of war in Darfur.
|7389||Karadzic To Appear In Hague||Alix Rijckaert||News||Netherlands, The||31 July 2008 11:43 Thu||
The former Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic, is to appear before the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague today to be formally charged with war crimes.
Mr Karadzic was indicted on 11 counts of crimes against humanity and genocide in connection with the 1990s Bosnian conflict, but the exact charges will only be revealed in court. He will also be asked to enter a plea, but has 30 days to do so.
The former leader does not recognise the court and plans to defend himself. Mr Karadzic was arrested in Belgrade last week after 13 years on the run and was extradited on Wednesday to the Netherlands.
|7421||Ukraine To become A Memeber of The World Trade Organisation||Adam Easton||News||Ukraine||01 August 2008 02:54 Fri||
Ukraine is expected to become a member of the World Trade Organisation.
|7447||Pensioner Faces Jail Over 'Flying Carpets'||Austrian Times||News||Austria||04 August 2008 09:59 Mon||
Pensioner Florina Serban is facing jail after police found her growing cannabis which she pulped up to make carpets. The 71-year-old told cops that her family had used the cannabis plants for years to make hemp, a fibrous material from which she was able to make her carpets.
When police told her she was being arrested for having a marijuana plantation in her back garden in Recea, southern Romania, she told them she thought it was a joke. She said: "I don't know what cannabis is. For me it's just a plant to make carpets of."
Austrian Times correspondents are available in Vienna and GRN correspondents are available in Romania.
|7448||Supporters Rally For ANC Leader||Bill Corcoran||News||South Africa||04 August 2008 10:01 Mon||
Jacob Zuma, the leader of South Africa's governing African National Congress, is going to court in a further bid to have corruption charges against him dropped.
The case is as divisive as ever. The African National Congress president and French arms company Thint lost their appeal last week to stop seized evidence being used them in a corruption trial.
Separately, Zuma is expected to apply to the court today to have the case against him reviewed. Nine of the 10 judges of the Constitutional Court said warrants used in raids on Zuma and his lawyer were valid and the state could use seized documents in its prosecution of Zuma.
|7449||Baghdad Truck Bombing Kills 12||Said Rifai||News||Iraq||04 August 2008 10:03 Mon||
A truck bomb has killed at least 12 people and injured 14 near a passport office in a busy Sunni area of Baghdad. Reports suggest the parked vehicle exploded near al-Maghreb street in the northern district of Adhamiya.
|7450||'Terrorist' Attack in China||Daniel Schearf||News||China||04 August 2008 10:04 Mon||
Chinese state media says 16 policemen have been killed in what they describe as a terrorist attack at a border post in the Muslim region of Xinjiang. Reports suggest two attackers drove up to the post in a rubbish truck and threw two grenades, before getting out and attacking the policemen with knives.
Fourteen policemen died at the scene and two on the way to hospital. Another 16 policemen are believed to have been injured. China is on high alert as the Olympic Games opening ceremony is four days away.
|7451||Solzhenitsyn Dies At 89||Carl Schreck||News||Russia||04 August 2008 10:05 Mon||
Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn, renowned for exposing Stalin's labour camps in his novels has died at the age of 89. He was the author of 'The Gulag Archipelago' and 'One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich' and was imprisoned by Stalin for criticizing him in a letter.
|7452||Strange Creature Washes Up On Hamptons Beach||Julie Walker||News||United States of America||05 August 2008 10:30 Tue||
A strange looking creature has washed up dead on a beach in New York's exclusive Hamptons resort. On Tuesday afternoon a photo was posted on a New York gossip blog, showing the animal, which looks like a bloated, hairless dog, with an eagle-like beak, lying on the beach in Montauk at the far eastern end of Long Island. Speculation immediately arose that it might be an unknown marine mammal, a sea turtle without its shell or even an escaped experiment from the government animal-disease research facility on Plum Island, just offshore from Montauk. To complicate matters, no one seems to know where the strange creature is now.
Julie Walker is in The Hamptons following this story.
|7453||AIDS Conference in Mexico||James Blears||News||Mexico||05 August 2008 10:33 Tue||
Former US President Bill Clinton has told a world Aids conference in Mexico that a 50% rise in funding is needed to keep up with expanding drug programmes. Figures released ahead of the conference in Mexico's capital show the number of people with HIV worldwide has decreased slightly. However, infection rates are still rising in some countries including Russia, China, Germany and the UK. The UN General Assembly and the Group of Eight (G8) have set the goal of achieving universal access to treatment and therapy by 2010. Some 33 million people are affected by HIV, two thirds in sub-Saharan Africa. The conference started Sunday and will continue through till Friday. James Blears is reporting from the conference in Mexico City and secured an interview with Eurythmics singer Annie Lennox, a spokeswoman for Oxfam.
|7454||Woman Terror Suspect Extradited to US||Tom Coghlan, Rachel Reed, Jon Boone and Phillip Sherwell||News||Afghanistan||05 August 2008 10:37 Tue||
Afghanistan is extraditing to the US a Pakistani woman suspected of links with al-Qaeda. The woman, Aafia Siddiqui, 36, a former US resident, is to face charges of trying to kill American agents. She was arrested on 17 July in Afghanistan's Ghazi province. When US soldiers came to collect her from the detention centre she allegedly fired two rounds at them. Nobody was hurt but she was shot in the chest by a US officer. Mrs. Siddiqui, a married mother of three and a former student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is scheduled to appear at New York's Southern District court. When arrested Mrs. Siddiqui was carrying instructions how to make explosives with descriptions of major US sites, including some in New York City, says Michael Garcia, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. She is charged with assaulting US officers and attempting to kill one of them. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on each charge. Mrs. Siddiqui's lawyer, Elaine Whitfield Sharp, called the charges "a tall story" and rejected claims by the US that her client had gone underground for several years before her detention. Her family believes that she was held secretly by US agents since her disappearance in Pakistan in 2003, before authorities finally brought charges to justify her detention. "When the truth comes out, people will see she did nothing wrong," said Ms Sharp. Tom Coghlan, Rachel Reed and Jon Boone in Afghanistan and Phillip Sherwell in New York are covering this story.
|7455||Bush Faces Pretestors In South Korea||Anna Fifield||News||Korea||05 August 2008 10:39 Tue||
Thousands of soldiers are in the streets of the South Korean capital getting ready to secure the city for a two-day visit by US President George W Bush. President Bush is to hold talks with President Lee Myung-bak and then continue to Beijing for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. The main concern for the US Presidents security are from angry demonstrators, protesting about a controversial beef import deal. The protests forced Bush to shelve his original plan to visit South Korea in July. At least 20,000 security workers have been deployed to handle protests. The protestors claim that Korea agreed to resume the import of US beef without getting sufficient assurances for adequate protection against BSE, also known as mad cow disease. Anna Fifield in Seoul is following George Bush's visit to South Korea.
|7456||China Says Olympics Will be Safe||Daniel Schearf and Jamila Trindle||News||China||05 August 2008 10:41 Tue||
Three days before the Olympic Games open in Beijing, the Chinese authorities say they are confident that athletes and spectators will be safe. This assurance comes after yesterdays attached that left 16 policemen dead in the western region of Xinjiang. A spokesman for the Beijing Games Organising Committee said they are well prepared to meet any possible threat at Olympic venues. Chinese media blame separatist Muslim militants for the attack. The International Olympic Committee say it is confident China had done everything possible "to ensure the security and safety of everyone at the Games".
|7475||Indian PM Attempts To Calm Kashmir||Sanjay Jha||News||India||06 August 2008 11:23 Wed||
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called an all-party meeting in an attempt to calm the worsening situation in Indian-administered Kashmir.
The meeting comes as protests continue in the Muslim-dominated Kashmir valley and the Hindu-majority Jammu region. Jammu protesters are angry at the state government's decision to repeal a move to allot land for a Hindu shrine in the Kashmir valley. Eight protesters have been killed and many more injured in protests over the last couple of weeks.
According to reports, the prime minister is expected to ask the other parties, in particular the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to help resolve the situation in Kashmir.
Randeep Ramesh and Sanjay Jha in New Delhi are following developments in this story.
|7476||South African Trade Unions Holding One-Day Strike||Bill Corcoran||News||South Africa||06 August 2008 11:25 Wed||
Trade Unions in South Africa are holding a one-day strike in protest against the high cost of living which will hit the education, municipal and mining sectors.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) is mobilising its two-million member to protest against the costs of electricity, petrol and staples such as bread and milk and to express anger at a series of interest rate rises meant to curb inflation.
Organisers hope this will be the largest strike in the post-Apartheid era, with Unionists mobilising in all of South Africa's nine provinces.
Bill Corcoran and Sebastien Berger in Johannesburg are covering this story.
|7477||Soviet Dissident's Funeral Underway||Kevin O'Flynn||News||Russia||06 August 2008 11:26 Wed||
The funeral for the Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn is being held today at Moscow's Donskoi monastery following an all-night vigil.
President Dmitry Medvedev joined mourners at the monastery's cathedral, which is the final resting place of many Russian poets, philosophers and historians. Solzhenitsyn's work - the Gulag Archipelago and One Day In The Life of Ivan Denisovich - exposed Stalin's prison system and resulted in 20 years in exile from the former Soviet Union. Russian Premier Vladimir Putin, who was an officer in the KGB secret police during the Soviet era, was among the thousands of mourners paying their respects as the Nobel laureate's body lay in state on Tuesday.
Solzhenitsyn returned to Russian from exile in 1994. He died of heart failure at his home near Moscow.
Kevin O'Flynn, Carl Schreck and LA Times correspondent Megan Stack in Moscow are available for 2-ways.
|7478||Bush Critical of China's Olympic Crackdown||Anna Fifield||News||Korea||06 August 2008 11:28 Wed||
US President George Bush has criticised China's pre-Olympics crackdown on dissent and urged officials to allow more freedom of expression and worship. Speaking in South Korea before heading to Thailand, Mr Bush said that China's clampdown in the run-up to the Olympics was "a mistake".
He also held a press conference with South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak in which they spoke about strengthening their military alliance and welcomed progress in efforts to disarm North Korea.
Mr Bush will next head to Bangkok, where he is expected to address Burma, before attending the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games on Friday.
Anna Fifield and Jason Strother in Seoul are across this event.
|7479||Protesters Arrested As Olympic Torch Paraded Through Beijing||Daniel Schearf||News||China||06 August 2008 11:29 Wed||
The Olympic torch has been paraded through China's capital on the final leg of its global relay, accompanied by cheering, flag-waving crowds.
Over three days more than 800 torch bearers will carry the flame to Beijing's landmarks, ahead of the start of Friday's Games. The flame's arrival was also marked by a protest by four Free Tibet activists from the UK and the US who unfurled banners close to the Olympic stadium.
On Tuesday, the flame passed through Sichuan province, which was devastated by an earthquake in May. A minute's silence was held in Guang'an city, honouring almost 70,000 people who were killed in the quake.
Athletes' health remains a concern as a haze settled over Beijing on Wednesday, although Beijing officials said air quality remained "fairly good".
Daniel Schearf and Jamila Trindle in Beijing are following the run-up to the Olympics.
|7481||Impeachment Proceedings Begin Against Musharraf||Saeed Shah||News||Pakistan||07 August 2008 10:41 Thu||
Pakistan's ruling coalition has agreed to begin impeachment proceedings against President Pervez Musharraf following three days of talks.
The ruling alliance, made up of the Pakistan People's Party and PML-N, has been divided over whether to impeach Mr Musharraf, but a senior official told the Reuters news agency that leaders of the coalition are to announce the decision at a news conference this evening.
The President was due to leave for China where he is to attend the Beijing Olympics on Wednesday, but at the last minute the trip was delayed with no reason given.
The two ruling parties formed an alliance in March, but have been in deadlock over issues of presidential impeachment and the reinstatement of the sacked judges.
Saeed Shar in Islamabad is following developments in this story.
|7482||Deadly Clashes In Pakistan's Tribal Area||Shaheen Buneri||News||Pakistan||07 August 2008 10:43 Thu||
Deadly clashes between Pakistani forces and pro-Taliban militants in the tribal area along the Afghan border have killed up to 25 people.
There is no independent verification of figures, but a Taliban spokesman, Maulvi Omar, said that 15 soldiers had been killed in the fighting. He did not have details of militant casualties.
Clashes began late on Wednesday in the Loi Sum area in Bajaur, part of Federally Administered Area (Fata), when militants intercepted a security vehicle. Fighting continued overnight with army helicopters striking militant hideouts in the mountainous region, according to reports.
There are regular clashes between government troops and pro-Taliban militants in the lawless tribal region bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Shaheen Buneri in Peshawar is covering this event.
|7483||Malaysian Opposition Leader Charged With Sodomy||Steven Gan||News||Malaysia||07 August 2008 10:45 Thu||
The Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has been formally charged with sodomy against a former male aide.
Mr Anwar, appearing in court today, pleaded not guilty and said the allegations were politically motivated. He has now been released on bail.
Mr Anwar led the new opposition coalition which achieved strong gains in a general election earlier this year. He says the accusation is aimed at derailing his political revival. The 60-year-old was jailed after facing similar accusations 10 years ago.
Steven Gan in Kuala Lumpur is across this story.
|7484||Bush Attacks China's Human Rights Record||Andrew Chant||News||Thailand||07 August 2008 10:46 Thu||
US President George W Bush has expressed his "deep concerns" over China's human rights record as he prepares to travel to Beijing to attend the Olympic Games.
Speaking in Thailand's capital, Bangkok on Thursday, the US President said the "..the US believes the people of China deserve the fundamental liberty that is the natural right of all human beings." However, he said he was optimistic about China's future and said change would arrive on "its own terms". The speech also included criticism of Burma.
China promised to make reforms in human rights, media freedoms and the provision of heath and education when it was awarded the games in 2001. However, human rights campaigners, such as Amnesty International, say China has not lived up to these promises.
Andrew Chant and Andrew Drummond in Bangkok are available for 2-ways. GRN's Daniel Schearf is in Beijing covering the final preparations for the Games.
|7506||Georgia's Troops Surround South Ossetia Capital||Giorgi Lomsadze||News||Georgia||08 August 2008 03:46 Fri||
Georgian troops are surrounding the capital of the breakaway region of South Ossetia following heavy shelling and air strikes on rebel positions.
At least 15 people are reported to have been killed in fighting around Tskhinvali that resumed hours after both sides had agreed to a ceasefire and Russian-mediated talks. Three Russian peacekeepers are among the wounded. Both sides blame the other for breaking the ceasefire.
Georgia's Prime Minister told reporters today that operations would continue until there was a "durable peace". The country's ambassador repeated claims that Russia is aiding the South Ossetian forces and interfering in the conflict. The Russian envoy to the UN, Vitaliy Churkin, described George's actions as "treacherous".
The South Ossetian authorities have been trying to break away since the civil war in the 1990s. Moscow denies arming the rebels.
Diana Petriashvili, Giorgi Lomsadze in Tbilisi and LA Times correspondent Megan Stack in Moscow are available for 2-ways.
|7507||2008 Olympic Games Opens In Beijing||Daniel Schearf||News||China||08 August 2008 03:47 Fri||
The 2008 Olympic Games is to open today in China's capital Beijing amid pollution concerns. The lavish ceremony at the city's national stadium - known as the Bird's Nest - will involve around 10,000 performers and will be watched on TV by an estimated global audience of 4 million.
Visibility is very poor today and there has been an official warning that the cloud could interfere with the ceremony.
The run-up to the elections has been dogged by issues such as China's human rights record, internet access and pollution. President Hu Jintao hit back at criticisms over its rights record calling criticisms made by President George W Bush yesterday as "interference" in its internal affairs and insisting it put its people first.
Daniel Schearf and Peter Foster will be reporting from the "Bird's Nest."
|7508||Security Tight In Burma On Uprising Anniversary||Andrew Chant||News||Thailand||08 August 2008 03:49 Fri||
Burma's military authorities have imposed tight security on the main city, Rangoon, on the 20th anniversary of a major uprising today. The
Until the 8/8/88 protests, Aung San Suu Kyi was only known as the daughter of liberation hero Aung San, but her speech to the assembled protesters during the rallies propelled her to the centre of the pro-democracy movement.
The anniversary is being marked outside Burma with demonstrations outside Burmese embassies. In Bangkok protests also took place outside the Chinese embassy. "We are here because China is the main supporter of the military regime," Kyaw Lin Oo, a Burmese activist, told reporters.
Andrew Chant in Bangkok was at the protest and is available for 2-ways.
|7509||Make Or Break Talks Anticipated In Zimbabwe This Weekend||Bill Corcoran||News||South Africa||08 August 2008 03:51 Fri||
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai are to hold make-or-break talks in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, on Sunday aimed at finalising a power-sharing deal, a South African newspaper reported today.
Business Day said that it was understood the two were coming closer to an agreement, though central issues remain unresolved.
Mugabe's ZANU-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change began talking over two weeks ago to resolve a crisis that came to a head after the 84-year-old Mugabe was re-elected in a widely condemned June poll boycotted by the opposition. ZANU-PF and MDC officials were not immediately available for comment on the report.
Bill Corcoran and Sebastien Berger in Johannesburg are across this story.
|7541||Zimbabwe Power Sharing Talks Continue||Sebastien Berger||News||South Africa||12 August 2008 12:10 Tue||
Power sharing talks are due to continue today between Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, having run into disagreements on Monday.
Mr Mugabe earlier said he felt sure differences could be overcome. The discussions in the capita, Harare, appear to have stalled over the make-up of the new coalition government and how much power President Mugabe is prepared to relinquish. The agreement being discussed would see Mr Tsvangirai become prime minister, with Mr Mugabe remaining president, in a largely ceremonial role.
The opposition, Movement for Democratic Change, says if Mr Mugabe was to retain significant powers it would reward him and his party, Zanu-PF, for their systematic campaign of violence since the elections in March. Having won March's parliamentary elections, the MDC wants an allocation of ministries which closely mirrors that result. The US, EU and UK have all said that a $1.9billion financial aid package, designed to stabilise Zimbabwe's economy and combat hyperinflation, is dependent on Mr Mugabe relinquishing control.
Bill Corcoran and Sebastien Berger in Johannesburg are following developments in Zimbabwe.
|7542||Beijing Hires Olympic "Cheerleaders"||Daniel Schearf||News||China||12 August 2008 12:12 Tue||
Chinese officials have admitted to hiring "cheerleaders" to fill empty venues and improve the atmosphere at some Olympic events.
Wang Wei, a senior official with the Beijing organising committee (Bocog), said local authorities have hired volunteers, dressed in yellow shirts, to fill empty seats. He said that other Olympics had experienced similar problems.
The comments come after spectators and journalists noted that certain venues were far from full, despite all events being sold out. Mr Wang attributed this to a number of factors including the hot and humid weather in Beijing and said that some spectators were turning up only for specific events, even though they had tickets for a whole session.
Daniel Schearf, Jamila Trindle and Peter Foster in Beijing are reporting from the Olympics.
|7543||Attack On Pakistani Military Bus||Shaheen Buneri||News||Pakistan||12 August 2008 12:14 Tue||
At least 13 people have been killed and 10 wounded in a bomb attack on a Pakistani air force bus near the north-western city of Peshawar, say police.
The bomb detonated as the bus drove over a bridge near Badaber, an air force base on the outskirts of the city, completely destroying the bus. Civilians are reported to be among the passengers.
This if the first direct attack on security forces in weeks and follows a threat by the Taliban that they would retaliate against government forces in reaction to military operations against insurgents in the Bajaur tribal region near the Afghan border.
Shaheen Buneri in Peshawar and Saeed Shah in Islamabad are across this event.
|7544||Georgia Facing Assault On Two Fronts||Giorgi Lomsadze||News||Georgia||12 August 2008 12:16 Tue||
Georgia now appears to be facing military assaults on two fronts as Russian- backed rebels in Abkhazia say they have launched an offensive against Georgian forces.
The rebels, who began their attack at 0600 local time (0200GMT), say they are trying to push Georgian troops from a strategic gorge in the west of the breakaway province. Elsewhere, Georgian troops have withdrawn to defend the capital against a Russian assault. Some reports say that Russian troops now control many key bridges and roads across Georgia, leaving the capital isolated.
French President Nicholas Sarkozy, whose country currently chairs the EU, is visiting Russian and Georgia today where he will hold talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Georgia's President Mikhail Saakashvili. The visit comes as Russia's envoy to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, dismissed a three-point French peace plan put to the Security Council, saying "I cannot see us accepting this French draft".
Moscow has called for an emergency meeting of NATO to discuss the conflict, which erupted when Georgia launched a surprise offensive on Thursday night to retake South Ossetia, prompting Russian retaliation.
Please note Georgia is now classified as a conflict zone. Hazardous environment rates will now apply to all bookings.
|7545||Harry Potter in Arabic Banned From Israel||Annette Young, Sami Sockol and Arnon Regular||News||Israel||15 August 2008 11:07 Fri||
The Israeli finance ministry is banning the distribution of children's books in Arabic. Among the books are the translated versions of classics like Pinocchio and the whole Harry Potter series. Books for adults have also been blocked for distribution, including Paolo Coalo's bestseller The Alchemist and books by Syrian and Lebanese authors. The books have been imported to Israel from Lebanon, by Palestinian-Israeli publishers. The pretext for the ban is a regulation from British Mandate days in 1938, which forbids trade with "hostile countries". In 2006 Israel destroyed 4,000 books at the border-control point from Jordan, among them many children books. Annette Young, Arnon Regular and Sami Sockol in Jerusalem are available for 2-ways.
|7546||Massive UK Withdrawal from Iraq May be "Imminent"||Said Rifai and Tina Susman||News||Iraq||15 August 2008 11:12 Fri||
The outgoing commander of British forces in Iraq indicates that a massive withdrawal of UK forces in the country may be imminent. Major General Barney White-Spunner says the Iraqi-led attack on Shia militia groups in Basra had improved security, and that the militias would not be able to regain control over the city. There is obvious "scope" for the government to review troop numbers, he added. Previously, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the mission is to change in 2009, but the Ministry of Defence insists it is too early to be specific. Major General White-Spunner, who has just completed a six-months duty as the British commander in Iraq, described Basra as a "happier and more secure" city, with property prices doubling, due to interest by foreign investors. Said Rifai, Tina Susman and Nathaniel Parker in Baghdad, and Christopher Walker in London are covering this story.
|7547||South Africa is Closing Race-Riots Refugee Camps||Gretchen Wilson||News||South Africa||15 August 2008 11:18 Fri||
South Africa is closing six camps housing thousands of people who displaced by a wave of violence against foreigners in May. Sixty people were killed in riots in May and thousands were forced to leave their homes. The camps closure may be delayed, however, by a last minute challenge by a group of human rights organisations. The South African Constitutional Court is due to rule on an appeal to keep the camps open. Earlier this week, a high court judge rejected a submission by human rights groups which argued the closure would violate the rights of the displaced. The provincial government in Gauteng says it is now safe for the foreigners to return to their homes. Gretchen Wilson, Bill Corcoran and Sebastian Berger in Johannesburg are following this story.
|7548||US and Poland Sign Missile-Hosting Deal||Adam Easton||News||Poland||15 August 2008 11:20 Fri||
Poland and the US have signed a preliminary agreement for hosting part of the US missile defence shield. According to the agreement, the US will install 10 interceptor missiles at a base on the Baltic coast. In return, Poland will receive help in strengthening its air defences. The US says the system will protect itself and Europe against long range missile attacks by "rogue states". The deal may heighten tension between the US and Russia, already stressed over Georgia. Moscow has already warned that it will be forced to redirect its missiles at Poland, as the new missiles "will upset the military balance in Europe". Adam Easton in Warsaw, James Gerstenzang in Washington and Kevin O'Flynn in Moscow are available for two-ways
|7549||Condoleezza Rice in Georgia||Giorgi Lomsadze, Margot Dunne and Megan Stack||News||Georgia||15 August 2008 11:23 Fri||
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is visiting Tbilisi, in an attempt to push forward resolution to the conflict between Russia and Georgia. Ms Rice intends to present Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili with the formal ceasefire agreement. She is expected to demonstrate strong support for Georgia following Russia's military advance into the country Earlier, the US said Russia's "aggressive" behaviour could harm its relations with America. Defence Secretary Robert Gates told reporters in Washington that Moscow's actions had profound security implications. He stressed, however, that he did not see a need for US military intervention. Diana Petriashvili, Giorgi Lomsadze, Margot Dunne and LA Times correspondent Megan Stack in Tbilisi and Kevin O'Flynn in Moscow are available for 2-ways.
|7550||Musharraf Might Resign Before Impeachment Vote||Graham Walsh and Saeed Shah||News||Pakistan||15 August 2008 12:02 Fri||
Pakistan is facing a political crisis, when for the first time in it's history an Impeachment process is set to take place. All the collation parties have united in an attempt to get rid of the President, Pervez Musharraf. They have prepared a charge sheet against him which will be presented in the National Assembly on Friday. A Senior Pakistani government official says a deal has been brokered with President Pervez Musharraf for his resignation, according to a number of local sources. Washington still treats the reports of Musharraf's intended resignation as part of the "rumour mill", says White House spokeswoman Dana Perino. Ms Perino added the United States considered the leadership of Pakistan to be "an issue for Pakistanis". Mr. Musharraf seized power in a 1999 coup but has been isolated since his allies lost a February election. Musharraf's chief spokesman, retired Major-General Rashid Qureshi, says he does not know of any plan by Musharraf to step down or indeed that any negotiations on his resignation are taking place. However, Tariq Azeem Khan, a politician close to Musharraf and a former deputy government minister, confirms talks were under way. "Well-wishers are trying to ensure that matters are settled amicably through discussions rather than going through a long, protracted impeachment process," he said. In his Independence Day address on Thursday Musharraf called for reconciliation in order to tackle economic and security problems. His appeal was rejected with coalition officials saying steps to impeach the president are on track.
Graham Walsh and Saeed Shah in Islamabad are following Musharraf's impeachment crisis.
|7551||Hurricane Prompts Florida Keys Evacuation||Jacqui Goddard, Richard Luscombe, Carole Williams||News||United States of America||18 August 2008 01:53 Mon||
Tropical storm Fay has built to hurricane strength and looks set to hit Florida. Charlie Grist, Florida's governor, has called a state of emergency and ordered the evacuations of tourists in the Florida Keys. The deadly storm claimed at least 4 lives in the Caribbean over the weekend. Its winds are anticipated to hit speeds of over 75mph and create a tidal surge of over 2 metres as it crosses the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico towards Florida.
The Florida Keys are particularly vulnerable because their islands lie at sea level. Business owners and residents in the area have started boarding up windows and laying sandbags in preparation for the storm, due to hit the Florida coastline later today.
Jacqui Goddard, Richard Luscombe and LA Times correspondent Carole Williams are covering this story.
|7552||Pressure Mounts On Russia For Georgia Pullout||Megan Stack, Margot Dunne, Giogi Lomzadze, Diana Petriashvili, Kevin O||News||Russia||18 August 2008 02:03 Mon||
Russia is to begin withdrawing troops from Georgia, following a pledge by President Dmitry Medvedev. Mr Medvedev promised to abide by the terms of a ceasefire brokered to end a week of fighting in Georgia and its breakaway province of South Ossetia. However, Moscow says it has the right to keep some troops as peacekeepers in a buffer zone around South Ossetia.
European leaders warned Russia on Sunday to withdraw its forces from Georgia or face unspecified consequences. Russian troops still remain in large tracts of the country well beyond the two separatist enclaves of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The French President Nicholas Sarkozy told Russia yesterday that more delays would have 'serious consequences on relations between Russia and the European Union'.
NATO ministers are expected to gather this week to discuss the crisis. The US is backing efforts by both Georgia and Ukraine to join the alliance, and on Sunday Mrs Merkel offered her support to Tbilisi's bid.
LA Times correspondent Megan Stack in Tbilisi, Margot Dunne, Giorgi Lomsadze and Diana Petriashvili and Kevin O'Flynn in Moscow are available for 2-ways.
|7553||Separatist Rebels Launch Attacks In Phillipines||John McLean, Dean Bernado||News||Philippines||18 August 2008 02:10 Mon||
Separatist rebels have launched a series of attacks on towns in the Southern Philippines, amid ongoing unrest about an autonomy deal. Guerrillas from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) raided several towns in Lanao del Norte province, burning houses and shops, after the Supreme Court suspended a deal to expand the Muslim autonomous zone on Mindanao island.
The government had agreed to extend the area in an attempt to end years of separatist fighting, but the court blocked the deal earlier this month after
John McLean and Dean Bernado in Manila are covering this event.
|7554||Nine Dead In Afghanistan Suicide Bomb Blast||Jerome Starkey, Jon Boone, Rachel Reid||News||Afghanistan||18 August 2008 02:16 Mon||
At least nine people have been killed when a suicide bomber drove a car into the gate of a US base in eastern Khost province of Afghanistan, officials say. The dead were all Afghan civilians. The attack comes as Afghanistan celebrates its independence from Britain 89 years ago; amid warnings that militants are planning attacks to coincide with the festivities.
Thousands of soldiers have been deployed in the capital, Kabul, and police check points set up at nearly every intersection in the city and the main entry points into the capital. A planned address by President Hamid Karzai has been called off and UN staff told to work from home. Violence has escalated in Afghanistan this year. The UN now classifies almost half the country as "extremely risky" for their staff - a classification that did not even appear three years ago.
|7555||Pakistan President Resigns||Saeed Shah, Nadeem Ahmad Sarwar||News||Pakistan||18 August 2008 02:20 Mon||
President Pervez Musharraf announced his resignation today on live TV in an address to the Pakistan nation. The president told the Pakistani public he would be stepping down, claiming 'false allegations were made against me,' but that this was not the time for more confrontation.
His resignation comes ahead of parliament's plan to impeach him in the next few days. The impeachment charges are expected to include violation of the
It is still unclear where the former president will live
Saeed Shah and Nadeem Ahmad Sarwar in Islamabad are following Musharraf's resignation announcement.
|7574||Florida Braced For Storm Fay||Jacqui Goddard||News||United States of America||19 August 2008 10:35 Tue||
The US state of Florida is preparing for the onslaught of Tropical Storm Fay, which is thought to have claimed dozens of lives as it travelled through the Caribbean.
Forecasters are warning Fay could reach hurricane force, with the potential to top sustained winds of 74mph by the time it his the west coast of Florida early on Tuesday.
Florida's Governor Charlie Crist warned that Fay threatened a "major disaster", but insisted the state was prepared. At least 22 school districts, a number of colleges and a university have cancelled classes and residents of Miami have been stocking up on bottled water, fuel and other vital supplies.
Jacqui Goddard, Richard Luscombe and LA Times correspondent Carole Williams in Miami are following this story.
|7575||Glitter Released From Jail In Vietnam||Andrew Chant||News||Vietnam||19 August 2008 10:37 Tue||
Former Glam rock star Gary Glitter has been released from a prison in Vietnam, authorities have confirmed.
Glitter, whose real name is Paul Francis Gadd, had served most of a three-year sentence for molesting two girls aged 11 and 12. His lawyer, Le Thanh Kinh, said that the ex-pop star had been released at around 1130 local time (0530BST) and transported to Ho Chi Minh City airport.
Although, he is believed to have a ticket to London, he has the option of buying another ticket when he changes planes. His lawyer said "He does not have a sentence to serve in London. If he wants to stop wherever he wants he can do that." If he does fly back to the UK, Glitter will be met at the airport by police and required to sign the sex offenders register.
Andrew Chant and Andrew Drummond are reporting from Hanoi, having earlier been at the prison where Glitter was released.
|7576||Militant Attacks In Pakistan||Shaheen Buneri||News||Pakistan||19 August 2008 10:39 Tue||
At least 15 people have been killed in a bomb attack on a hospital in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province, officials say. There has also been fighting between militants and soldiers in the Bajaur district on the Afghan border.
This comes in the wake of the resignation of President Pervez Musharraf on Monday. One of the main challenges of the ruling coalition, who are meeting in Islamabad today to discuss who will succeed the former president, is to improve security. Leaders of the coalition - consisting of the parties of the late Benazir Bhutto and ex-Prime Minister Muhammad Sumroo - held a first round of inconclusive talks on Monday. Sources say that talks are focused on who will succeed Mr Musharraf and the restoration of the deposed judges.
Caretaker President Muhammad Sumroo will lead the country until a new election is held by parliament. It is not clear whether Mr Musharraf will face prosecution now he is out of power.
Shaheen Buneri in Peshawar, Saeed Shah and Nadeem Ahmad Sarwar in Islamabad are covering these stories. GRN can also provide footage of the scene of the hospital bombing.
|7577||NATO Discusses Georgia Crisis||Patricia Kelly||News||Belgium||19 August 2008 10:46 Tue||
NATO foreign ministers are meeting in Brussels today to address how the alliance should respond to Russian military action in Georgia.
Tbilisi claims that Russia is still not pulling out of Georgia - a charge Moscow denies. Our correspondent on the ground in Gori says Russian troop presence remains strong, despite Moscow's pledge to begin withdrawing troops on Monday following the signing of a ceasefire at the weekend.
NATO opinion is split into two camps with Britain, Canada, the US and most Eastern European member states seeking a tough stance on Russia and the other camp, led by France and Germany, expressing caution at harming ties with Moscow. The alliance is also expected to repeat its backing of Georgia's eventual NATO membership, without setting any dates. It is also expected to offer more humanitarian aid and proposals on how to rebuild Georgian infrastructure damaged in the conflict.
Patricia Kelly, Stephen Castle in Brussels, Margot Dunne in Gori, Giorgi Lomsadze and Diana Petriashvili and Kevin O'Flynn in Moscow are available for 2-ways.
|7579||Fire At The Egyptian Parliament||Reem Nada||News||Egypt||20 August 2008 10:45 Wed||
A massive fire broke out at Egypt's upper house of parliament on Tuesday night, injuring six people. Police and officials say the injuries were a result of smoke inhalation and minor burns. Flames and clouds of smoke were visibly billowing from the three floors building in central Cairo. State television said the cause of the blaze is believed to be a short circuit. Witnesses said helicopters hovered over the river Nile to scoop water up into containers suspended beneath them before flying to parliament and dumping the water over the burning building. The flames caused the parts of the ceiling on the top floor to collapse. The army had been called in to help fight the fire. Police forces sealed off the area around the building.
|7580||Russia Rejects UN Draft Resolution on Georgia||Kevin O'Flynn and Cark Schreck||News||Russia||20 August 2008 10:47 Wed||
Russia is rejecting the draft UN Security Council resolution on Georgia, arguing that it contradicted the terms of last week's ceasefire deal. The draft text called on Russia to withdraw its forces to the positions they held before the current conflict. However, Russia argues the truce allowed its troops to stay in a buffer zone on the Georgia side of South Ossetia's border. Moscow dismissed earlier a warning by NATO that it was impossible to retain normal relations as long as Russian solders remained in Georgia. The war broke out on 7 August when Georgia launched an assault to wrest back control of the Moscow-backed breakaway region of South Ossetia. The assault triggered a counter-offensive by Russian troops who advanced beyond South Ossetia into Georgia's heartland. Georgia said its action was in response to continuous provocation.
|7581||US-Poland Sign Controversial Missile Deal||Adam Easton||News||Poland||20 August 2008 10:51 Wed||
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has arrived in Warsaw for the singing of a deal to locate part of the US's controversial missile defence system on Polish soil. The singing ceremony will to take place today at 09:30 (GMT) following 18 months of negotiation. Ms Rice and Poland's Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski are to sign the agreement. Russia is angered by the deal, and has warned the base could become a target for a nuclear strike. Washington claims the system is designated protect the US and most of Europe against missile attacks by "rogue elements" in the Middle East or from Iran. The agreement involves both US missiles and servicemen stationed on Polish soil.
|7582||Car Bombs in Algeirs Kill 11||Haitham Rabani||News||Algeria||20 August 2008 10:53 Wed||
A twin car bomb in Algeria has killed eleven people and wounded a further 31 at a bombing in a hotel and a barracks in Bouira, south east of the Algerian capital. The attacks came one day after 43 people were killed by a car bomb at a police college near Boumerdes, east of Algiers. Algeria has been suffering frequent bomb attacks blamed on Islamist insurgents linked to al-Qaeda. Many of the attacks took place in areas east and south of Algiers. Today's bombs went off in front of the Hotel Sofi and the military headquarters in Bouira, about 120km from Algiers, state media reported. Witnesses said the blasts could be heard in a radius of several hundred meters, and that One of the bombs ripped off the front of the military headquarters. Haitham Rabani in Algiers is covering the aftermath of the bombings.
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