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# Title Dateline Author Category Country Posted Transcript Keywords
12447 Deadly mine blast traps dozens in north-eastern China   BBC News China 21 November 2009 01:04 Sat

The BBC: A gas blast at a coal mine in China has killed 42 people and left 66 trapped, state media reports. Xinhua said that 528 workers were in the mine in Heilongjiang province at the time of the blast and that rescuers were searching for those trapped. More than 400 other miners reportedly managed to escape the mine, in the region bordering Russia. China's coal mines are notoriously dangerous despite tighter government regulations aimed at upgrading safety. Last year alone, more than 3,000 people were killed in mining accidents. The latest blast happened at 0230 local time on Saturday (1830 GMT on Friday), said Xinhua. Most of the workers managed to escape the pit, but many were still trapped about a third of a mile (500m) underground, Chinese media report. Most of the workers managed to escape the pit, but many were still trapped about a third of a mile (500m) underground, Chinese media report.

12449 China coal mine blast death toll jumps to 87   AP News China 22 November 2009 11:24 Sun

AP: Rescuers worked in frigid cold to reach 21 miners trapped underground Sunday as the death toll from a huge gas explosion in a northern Chinese mine jumped to 87 — the deadliest blast to hit the beleaguered industry in nearly two years. The pre-dawn blast Saturday at the state-run Xinxing mine in Heilongjiang (pronounced HAY-long-jeeahng) province near the border with Russia was the latest to hit China's mining industry — the world's most dangerous. Authorities say safety is improving, but hundreds still die in major accidents each year. The death toll more than doubled overnight, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. A duty officer at Xinxing's work safety authority and an employee at the company that owns the mine confirmed 87 had died. Ventilation and power were restored in the mine, said the employee, who refused to give his name because he was not authorized to speak to the media. The mine's director, deputy director and chief engineer were fired Saturday, he said.

12450 Four die, hundreds rescued in Indonesia ferry sinking   AFP News Indonesia 22 November 2009 11:29 Sun

AFP: Four people were killed and another 292 were plucked to safety after an overloaded ferry sank in heavy seas off Indonesia's Sumatra island on Sunday, a maritime official said. Sea transport director-general Sunaryo said the numbers were based on reports from senior officials on Karimun island near Singapore, close to where the ferry went down. "From the Karimun mayor, 292 people are reported safe and four are dead," he told reporters in Jakarta, adding however that the final death toll had not been confirmed. "There are two sets of numbers. From the people on the ground there are 209 people who are safe, but the deaths are unknown. I'll go with the 292 people safe because that's from the mayor." The 147-tonne Dumai Express was sailing from Batam island to Pekanbaru when it went down in high seas at around 10:00 am (0300 GMT) off Karimun, police said.

12451 Homes under threat as Australian wildfires blaze   ABC News Australia 22 November 2009 11:37 Sun

AFP: Hundreds of residents in eastern Australia were on alert Sunday as out-of-control wildfires fanned by soaring temperatures and windy conditions threatened properties, officials said. A bushfire emergency warning, the highest level of alert, has been issued for those living in the New South Wales towns of Rylstone, Kandos and Clandulla about 170 kilometres (105 miles) northwest of Sydney. The warning come nine months after a firestorm in southeastern Victoria state in which 173 people were killed as fires razed homes and trapped residents in the country's worst natural disaster of modern times. As temperatures in Sydney reached 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), prompting thousands to flock to Bondi and surrounding beaches, about 1,000 firefighters were battling around 100 blazes across New South Wales state.

12452 Afghan police kill 3 Taliban militants in north   Xinhua News Afghanistan 22 November 2009 11:49 Sun

Three Taliban militants were killed Saturday night as Afghan National Police (ANP) repelled their attack in Imam Sahib district of Kunduz province in northern Afghanistan, an official said on Sunday. "A group of militants attack police checkpoint in Taj Gozar area and police encountered, killing three rebels on the spot, including Taliban outfits' local commanders Mohammad Sarwar and Bay," Muhalim Juma Khan, district chief of Imam Sahib, told Xinhua. In talks with media via cell phone from undisclosed location, Taliban purported spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed that his men killed a dozen of police in the firefight. However, Juma Khan rejected the claim by saying "No ANP forces killed or wounded in the incident." Despite the presence of over 100,000 U.S. and NATO troops in the post-Taliban country, violence has reached its worst level of eight years war while Taliban militants have been attempting to infiltrate in peaceful areas.

12453 Romanians vote in tight presidential election   AFP News Romania 22 November 2009 11:51 Sun

AFP: Romanians voted on Sunday in a tight presidential election seen as a chance to resolve a political crisis that has hindered the recent EU member's bid to recover from a deep recession. Twelve candidates are running, but polls have shown the incumbent centre-right President Traian Basescu and his Social Democrat rival Mircea Geoana are likely to face each other in a run-off set for December 6. The winner will be pressed to name a new prime minister, with the country in the hands of a caretaker government for the last six weeks, putting on hold reforms eagerly awaited by financial institutions. It is the first election of a head of state since Romania entered the European Union in January 2007 and comes after the collapse of prime minister Emil Boc's centre-right government in October. Basescu, a 58-year-old former sea captain who has been in office since 2004, voted in Bucharest accompanied by his wife and two daughters.

12454 China mine blast death toll rises   The Guardian News China 23 November 2009 09:46 Mon

Grieving relatives scuffled with police today as the death toll from China's worst mining disaster for almost two years rose to 104. Authorities said they feared another four workers who were trapped underground after a huge gas explosion at the mine on Saturday were already dead. Hundreds of rescue workers have been at the pit in Heilongjiang province, close to the Russian border, but no survivors have been found since the blast. Chinese state media reported today that safety staff knew gas had reached dangerous levels and were evacuating miners when the explosion – so powerful that it was felt 10km away – happened 500 metres underground. More than 500 miners were below ground at the time, but most escaped. Twenty-nine people who were injured remain in hospital, the Xinhua news agency reported. Around a dozen women who had gathered at the entrance of the mine in Hegang to complain about the lack of information argued with police and security guards. Some were taken inside the compound, while others were driven away in a van... click here for the rest of this article from, The Guardian.

12455 Romanian election requires run-off to choose next president   Telegraph News Romania 23 November 2009 09:48 Mon

Romania faces a run-off vote after no clear winner emerged in a presidential election overshadowed by a political crisis that has threatened to derail emergency international funding for the country's recession-ravaged economy.Exit polls taken on Sunday evening showed that the centre-Right Traian Basescu, the incumbent president, scored a narrow victory over his main rival and Left-wing candidate Mircea Geoana.But with President Basecu, who is aiming for a second five-year term, taking about 33 per cent of the vote in comparison to Mr Geoana's 31 per cent the country must vote again on December 5 as the two men go head to head.Both the two front-runners have called the vote the most important since the overthrow of communism in Romania a decade ago.With the president appointing the prime minister the victor in December's vote could play a key role in returning political stability to a country that has been in crisis since October when the governing coalition collapsed.The turmoil has heaped more woe on the Balkan country that has struggled to cope with the ravages of the global recession.Unhappy with the political deadlock in Bucharest the IMF has delayed further payments of a massive bail-out loan, desperately needed in country which has an economy predicted to shrink by 8.5 per cent this year.But some experts have suggested that Romania's relations with the IMF could come under further strain if Mr Geoana wins.The 51-year-old former foreign minister might try and use his influence to reject the stringent, and unpopular, lending requirements demanded by the financial institution.Romanians also voted in a referendum on Sunday on whether to reduce the number of MPs and abolish one of the country's parliamentary chambers. Click here for more information on this story.

12457 Iran prez seeks new legitimacy in visit to Brazil   The AP News Brazil 23 November 2009 09:50 Mon

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is seeking a new source of legitimacy while making his first visit to Brazil, a nation that maintains close ties to the U.S., Israel and other countries trying to halt Iran's nuclear push. The Iranian leader is set to meet privately Monday with Brazil President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who called it an honor to receive Ahmadinejad and defended Iran's right to develop nuclear energy. It's a much-craved pat on the back from a moderate nation as Ahmadinejad faces intense internal and external political pressure. "With Brazil he gets more bang for his buck in the sense you're getting legitimacy from a more mainstream player," said Daniel Brumberg, an Iran expert at the Washington-based United States Institute of Peace. "One would hope Brazil's diplomacy would be skillful enough to get certain types of messages across to the Iranians and not just give Ahmadinejad the red-carpet treatment." Ahmadinejad said Sunday that the two countries may discuss cooperation in the nuclear field, where Iran is under intense international pressure to stop uranium enrichment for fear that it is developing atomic weapons... click here for the rest of this article from, The AP.

12458 Leading reformer who called election a 'swindle' jailed for six years   The Times News Iran 23 November 2009 09:54 Mon

A former Iranian Vice-President and leading reformist has been sentenced to six years in prison for fomenting unrest after President Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election in June. Mohammad Ali Abtahi, who “confessed” to his alleged crimes at a trial widely denounced as a charade, is the most senior of hundreds of dissidents who have been locked up over the past five months. Less than 48 hours before Mr Abtahi’s sentence was announced, the UN’s Human Rights Committee had condemned Iran for “serious, ongoing and recurring” abuses, including the harassment and persecution of opposition lawyers, journalists, academics, clerics and students. The Committee said there had been deaths and injuries among those detained, as well as “forced confessions and abuse, including rape and torture”. Five detainees have been sentenced to death and 81 have received prison terms of up to 15 years. Mr Abtahi, 51, who was released on bail pending his appeal, served as a minister and Vice-President during the reformist administration of President Khatami from 1997 to 2005. He was the first Iranian minister to keep a blog and appeared on the comedian Jon Stewart’s Daily Show in the US... click here for the rest of this article from, The Times.

12459 Gaza groups deny rocket ceasefire   AlJazeera News Israel 23 November 2009 09:55 Mon

Several Palestinian armed groups in the Gaza Strip have denied Hamas claims that an agreement has been brokered among them to stop firing rockets across the border into Israel.The al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, was the latest group to disavow the claim."We are categorically denying that we have released a statement on reaching agreement with Palestinian factions over suspending rocket firing at the Zionist enemy", Abu Obeida, a spokesman for al-Qassam Brigades, said."We are amazed that such an issue be circulated in the name of Izzad Din al-Qassam Brigades without their knowledge."Earlier, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) both denied they were party to a ceasefire.Khalid al-Batch, a leading figure in the Islamic Jihad movement, said that no agreement had been reached and warned of an Israeli military escalation.A statement from the PFLP armed wing, the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, said: "We affirm that we were not part of any agreement on stopping the firing of rockets at Israel or to neutralise any form of legitimate resistance as granted by all international codes and conventions."The denials are a blow to Hamas, which had announced the ceasefire on Saturday, saying the move was aimed at preventing retaliatory attacks by Israel and to allow Gazans to rebuild their homes, destroyed during Israel's three-week war on Gaza launched at the end of last year.The Hamas statement had noted that Palestinian groups would respond to attacks by Israel.The statement came just hours after three Israeli air raids wounded eight Palestinians.The raids came after a rocket was fired into Israel from Gaza. The rocket landed without causing casualties. Click here for more information on this story.


12461 Rogue kangaroo tries to drown dog   AFP News Australia 23 November 2009 09:59 Mon

A rogue kangaroo tried to drown a dog and then viciously attacked its owner when he launched a rescue bid, paramedics said on Monday.The kangaroo held the dog under water at a dam near Melbourne and left deep lacerations across the 49-year-old owner's face and body when he dived in to save his pet."The 49-year-old dived into the dam and managed to free his dog but he was injured in the process," paramedic Michael Vosbergen said."He suffered a deep cut across his abdomen, a deep cut across his face and eye and a number of scratches to his chest, face and arms."The man was treated at a nearby hospital after the incident on Sunday.Last month, a motorcyclist crashed into a kangaroo and died while riding his Harley-Davidson in Canberra. Click here for more information on this story.

12462 Philippine gunmen 'kill 21 politicians and journalists'   BBC News Philippines 23 November 2009 10:02 Mon

Twenty-one politicians and journalists abducted in the southern Philippines have been found dead, the army says. The group was seized on the southern island of Mindanao early on Monday. The military said they were taken by armed men as they tried to file a nomination for a candidate for forthcoming elections. The Philippines is to hold national elections in May 2010. Registration for local and national positions began earlier this month. According to local reports, those killed were on their way to an election office in Maguindanao to file papers on behalf of a candidate in the gubernatorial race... click here for the rest of this article from, BBC News.

12463 Copenhagen climate conference: celebrity supporters   Telegraph News Denmark 23 November 2009 10:11 Mon

The campaign to stop global warming now has an A-list of supporters from the world of showbiz.The Prius-driving Hollywood star is the leading climate change celebrity.DiCaprio has received praise from environmental groups for opting to fly on commercial flights instead of chartering private jets.His actions have inspired other celebrities, such as Orlando Bloom and Penelope Cruz. Co-wrote, co-produced and narrated the film 11th Hour and cites global warming as "the number one environmental challenge."Thom Yorke Lead singer of critically acclaimed rock outfit Radiohead, is outspoken on various contemporary political and social issues.Yorke made headlines for refusing former prime minister Tony Blair's request to meet him to discuss climate change, declaring Blair had "no environmental credentials."Yorke has subsequently been critical of his own energy use. He has said the music industry's use of air transport is dangerous and unsustainable, and that he would consider not touring if new carbon emissions standards do not force the situation to improve.Radiohead commissioned a study by the group Best Foot Forward which the band claims helped them choose venues and transport methods that will greatly reduce the carbon expended on their 2008 tour. The band also made use of a new low-energy LED lighting system and encouraged festivals to offer reusable plastics.Cate BlanchettAustralian actress Blanchett has been involved in promoting tough environmental policies down under in Australia for many years now, through lobby group whoonearthcares.Most recently, the actress appeared in Copenhagen in May of this year at the World Business Summit on Climate Change. The actress addressed business leaders, urging them to decrease their carbon emissions and increase sustainable practices.“Political failure at Copenhagen in December is quite simply unacceptable and this powerful room must play a major role in preventing this failure,” she said. Click here for more information on this story.


12464 Pricing an Afghanistan troop buildup is no simple calculation   Los Angeles Times News United States of America 23 November 2009 10:20 Mon

As President Obama measures the potential burden of a new war strategy in Afghanistan, his administration is struggling to come up with even the most dispassionate of predictions: the actual price tag for the anticipated buildup of troops.The calculations so far have produced a sweeping range. The Pentagon publicly estimates it will cost $500,000 a year for every additional service member sent to the war zone. Obama's budget experts size it up at twice that much.In coming up with such numbers, the White House and the military have different priorities as well as different methods.The president's advisors don't want to underestimate the cost and then lose the public's faith. The Pentagon worries about sticker shock as commanders push for an increase of as many as 40,000 troops.Both sides emphasize that their figures are estimates and could change -- in fact, a Pentagon comptroller assessment this month put the number closer to that of Obama's Office of Management and Budget.Still, budgeting and politics are entwined, and numbers can always support more than one point of view.The Bush White House minimized costs as it moved toward war. Obama is weighing skeptically an escalation of a war he didn't launch. In his campaign, Obama promised not to tuck war costs away, off federal budget books."Our resources in manpower, our resources in human lives and our resources in money are not infinite," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in an interview. "The notion that we wouldn't take each of those things into account does not make a lot of sense to this commander in chief."All of those elements are under consideration as Obama wraps up a review of war strategy. He is expected any week now to respond to requests from his commander in the region for a strategy change and for additional forces. The White House could announce an increase of 20,000 to 40,000 troops shortly after Thanksgiving. Click here for more information on this story.


12470 Police arresting people "just for the DNA"   Reuters News United Kingdom 24 November 2009 09:25 Tue

Britain has built the world's biggest DNA database without proper political debate and police routinely arrest people just to get their DNA profiles onto the system, the genetics watchdog said in a report on Tuesday. The Human Genetics Commission, which advises the government on the social, legal and ethical aspects of genetics, called for a review of the database and said new laws must be passed to govern its use. In a damning report, the commission said "function creep" had transformed the system from a DNA store for offenders into a database of suspects. More than three-quarters of young black men aged between 18 and 35 are on the system, the report said. Set up in 1995, the database contains the DNA profiles of five million citizens, eight percent of the population, making it the world's biggest in proportion to population size... click here for the rest of this article from, Reuters.

12471 State of emergency in Philippines after killings   BBC News Philippines 24 November 2009 09:30 Tue

The Philippine government has placed two southern provinces under a state of emergency, after gunmen killed at least 35 people on Monday. President Gloria Arroyo said the new powers would allow police and soldiers to set up checkpoints and conduct random searches to find the gunmen. The victims were killed as they were travelling to file nomination papers for elections next May. The attack is one of worst incidents of pre-poll violence in the Philippines. There are conflicting reports about whether anyone survived. On Monday it was announced that 21 bodies had been found. This number has now increased to 35 and the death toll from the incident may rise still further... click here for the rest of this article from, BBC News.

12472 Iran does not oppose uranium going abroad: spokesman   AFP News Iran 24 November 2009 09:32 Tue

Iran does not oppose sending its controversial low-enriched uranium abroad as long as there is a simultaneous exchange inside the country of nuclear fuel processed by world powers, a senior official said on Tuesday. Foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said simultaneous exchange inside Iran of its 3.5 percent low-enriched uranium with 20 percent pure uranium processed abroad would act as the guarantee required by Tehran. "Iran is not opposed to sending uranium abroad, but is considering how to do that," Mehmanparast told a news conference. He said Tehran wanted a "100 percent guarantee" that it would receive the fuel required for its research reactor and "one of the guarantees is a simultaneous exchange of fuel inside the country." Iran and world powers have been at loggerheads for weeks, failing to reach a nuclear fuel deal aimed at allaying Western concerns over Tehran's nuclear programme... click here for the rest of this article from, AFP.

12473 Barack Obama ‘to announce 30,000 Afghan troop increase next week’   The Telegraph News United States of America 24 November 2009 09:36 Tue

President Barack Obama has convened his “war council” for the ninth and possibly final time before his expected announcement next week to send more than 30,000 troops to Afghanistan after more than 80 days of deliberations. White House sources indicated that Mr Obama is preparing to address Americans in a live prime-time broadcast next Monday followed by testimony before Congress by senior figures such as his Pentagon chief Bob Gates. The same sources said Mr Obama was close to deciding on an increase of between 30,000 and 35,000 more American troops in addition to the 68,000 currently in Afghanistan. Gen Stanley McChrystal, commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan, who requested some 44,000 troops in an August 31st document that was subsequently leaked, is expected to travel to Washington to tell Congress of his plans for the troops. Mr Obama convened a group of senior officials, including Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Mr Gates, at 8:13 pm. EST in the White House Situation Room... click here for the rest of this article from, The Telegraph.

12475 Two Are Executed for Roles in China Milk Scandal   New York Times News China 24 November 2009 09:40 Tue

China executed two men on Tuesday for their involvement in the contamination of milk products that killed at least six Chinese infants and sickened about 300,000 other children. The municipal court in Shijiazhuang, in a statement cited by the state news agency Xinhua, said Zhang Yujun was executed for producing and selling hundreds of tons of toxic protein powder, and Geng Jinping was put to death for selling more than 900 tons of contaminated milk. Dairy producers and middlemen laced milk, milk powders and infant formula with an industrial chemical, melamine, normally used in making plastics, fertilizer and pesticides. The melamine was added to fool inspectors into thinking the milk was high in protein. But the chemical caused kidney stones, kidney failure and other health problems. Children were the most seriously affected. Mr. Geng sold his milk to the Sanlu Group, the dairy conglomerate at the center of the scandal and the largest of 22 companies that were eventually implicated in the poisonings. News of the scandal broke in September of last year. For New York Times full article, click here.


12476 Long prison sentence call for Khmer Rouge jailer Duch   The Times News Cambodia 24 November 2009 09:42 Tue

Cambodian prosecutors have called for the former prison chief in charge of the Khmer Rouge's main torture centre to receive a long jail term for his role in the torture and murder of thousands of Cambodians during Pol Pot's genocidal regime. Kaing Guek Eav, known as Comrade Duch, has admitted responsibility and apologised for the atrocities committed at Tuol Sleng or S-21, the regime's most notorious prison, when he was director there between 1977 - 1979. Under Duch, the prison was less a jail than an ante-room to death. Of the 15,000 men, women and children who were sent to S-21, only 15 emerged alive. Prisoner were tortured into confessing imaginary crimes against the State and then were bludgeoned to death, had their throats and stomachs slit open, or were literally bled to death... click here for the rest of this article from, The Times.

12477 Former Thai PM Samak dies at 74: officials   AFP News Thailand 24 November 2009 09:44 Tue

AFP: Former Thai prime minister Samak Sundaravej, who was forced from office in 2008 for starring in television cooking shows, died of liver cancer Tuesday at the age of 74, associates said. A close ally of ousted ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, Samak led the People Power Party (PPP) to victory in elections in December 2007 -- the first polls since a military coup that ousted Thaksin a year earlier. The fiery-tongued right-winger spent nine months as prime minister, beset by mass street campaigns against his government, before a court ruling on his TV appearances brought about his downfall. Samak had been battling liver cancer for more than a year. "His condition worsened to critical on Monday evening and he was taken to intensive care, where he died this morning," his former secretary Teeraphon Noprampa told reporters. Samak's body would be moved to the Bangkok's Marble Temple and on Wednesday would receive a Royal Bath -- a Buddhist funeral ceremony and honour bestowed on some high-ranking Thai citizens, Teeraphon said.

12478 Romania's President Wins First Round Of Controversial Election   VOA News Romania 24 November 2009 09:47 Tue

Shouting his name, supporters have been celebrating the victory of Romanian President Traian Basescu in the first round of presidential elections that focused attention on ways to overcome a political and economic crisis. Latest official results show that Romanian President Traian Basescu has won the first round of Sunday's presidential ballot with about 32.5 percent of the vote. His main rival Mircea Geoana received about 30.8 percent. However, the poll has been overshadowed by reported election fraud and a political and economic crisis in the country. Romania's Central Electoral Bureau said the 58-year-old Mr. Basescu  received about one third of the vote. That was slightly more than his main rival Mircea Geoana, a 51-year-old  former foreign minister, who now leads the left-leaning Social Democrats.

Conservative opposition leader Crin Antonescu came in a distant third with about 20 percent. For Voice Of America full article, click here.

12479 Man believed to have been in coma since 1983 conscious all the time   The Belfast Telegraph News Belgium 24 November 2009 09:48 Tue

A man presumed to have been in a coma for 23 years has spoken of his “second birth” after doctors realised that he had been fully conscious all along but unable to communicate. Rom Houben (46) was paralysed in a car accident that left him in what doctors thought was a persistent vegetative state. In fact he remained aware of his surroundings and could hear medical staff gradually giving up hope. Researchers using new scanning techniques discovered that his brain was still active and trained him to use his right forefinger to express himself on a specially adapted keyboard. His case is being highlighted in his native Belgium by doctors who are pioneering new ways of understanding coma victims, hundreds of whom could be conscious but locked in paralysis and, unlike a true coma patient, able to feel pain. “I shall never forget the day when they discovered what was truly wrong with me, it was my second birth,” Mr Houben tapped out on his custom-built keyboard at the nursing home east of Brussels where he is given care... click here for the rest of this article from, The Belfast Telegraph.

12480 New Pakistan tribal offensive kills 18   AFP News Pakistan 24 November 2009 09:54 Tue

AFP: Pakistani troops launched a new operation against militants in its lawless tribal belt on the Afghan border on Tuesday, saying they killed at least 18 rebels and arrested another six. Pakistani paramilitary and army soldiers are pressing a major six-week offensive against the Taliban in South Waziristan but Al-Qaeda-linked and Taliban militants pose a major threat to large parts of the tribal belt. The United States welcomes military action in a region it has branded a safe haven for Al-Qaeda, but has increased pressure on Pakistan to also counter militants who pose a threat to NATO and US troops in Afghanistan. The paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) said the target of the latest offensive was Lashkar-e-Islam (Army of Islam), a criminal homegrown Islamist group with ties to the Taliban that is stirring up trouble in the Khyber tribal district. "Eighteen militants were killed and six others apprehended during the operation," said the FC in a statement. The operation was launched on intelligence information about Lashkar hideouts in Gurguri village, 12 kilometres (seven miles) northwest of Bara, the main town of Khyber which sits on the main NATO supply route into Afghanistan.

# Title Dateline Author Category Country Posted Transcript Keywords
12481 Philippine massacre probe focuses on Arroyo ally   AP News Philippines 25 November 2009 09:19 Wed

Philippine authorities, under intense public pressure to make arrests in the country's worst election massacre, said Wednesday they are investigating a member of a powerful clan allied with the government along with four police commanders. Officials recovered six more bodies Wednesday, bringing the death toll in Monday's attack on an election caravan to 52, including 18 journalists. No suspects have been formally named in the killings, which provoked outrage beyond the Philippines, with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and media and human rights watchdogs calling on President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to swiftly punish the attackers. Arroyo vowed justice for the victims and declared a national day of mourning for them. "This is a supreme act of inhumanity that is a blight on our nation," she said in a statement. "The perpetrators will not escape justice. The law will haunt them until they are caught." The bodies were found sprawled a few miles (kilometers) off the main highway in southern Maguindanao province on a remote hilltop, and in two nearby mass graves. Two entire vehicles — a sedan and a van — were also buried in one of the graves, regional police Commander Josefino Cataluna said. The vehicles were crushed by a large backhoe that ran over and buried them, crime investigator Jose Garcia said... click here for the rest of this article from, The AP.

12482 40 year sentence demanded for Khmer Rouge torturer in chief   The Times News Cambodia 25 November 2009 09:25 Wed

Cambodian prosecutors in the war crimes trial of the Khmer Rouge's former prison chief have demanded a 40 year jail sentence for the part he played in murdering thousands of Cambodians and spreading terror across Cambodia. Kaing Guek Eav, known as Comrade Duch, was the director of the infamous Tuol Sleng prison, where thousands of Cambodians were sent to be tortured and killed at the height of Pol Pot's genocidal regime. Notoriously brutal, Duch encouraged the jail's interrogation teams to apply ever harsher torture techniques to their victims, including cutting off their fingers and toes, forcing them to eat their own excrement and literally bleeding them to death. The jail's chief executioner Him Huy told The Times that his boss used to like to watch the executioners at work Cheong Ek, known as the Killing Fields, where prisoners were bludgeoned to death... click here for the rest of this article from, The Times.

12483 Bob Ainsworth criticises Barack Obama over Afghanistan   Telegraph News United States of America 25 November 2009 09:28 Wed

Bob Ainsworth, the Defence Secretary, has blamed Barack Obama and the United States for the decline in British public support for the war in Afghanistan.He took the unprecedented step of publicly criticising the US President and his delays in sending more troops to bolster the mission against the Taliban.A “period of hiatus” in Washington - and a lack of clear direction - had made it harder for ministers to persuade the British public to go on backing the Afghan mission in the face of a rising death toll, he said. Senior British Government sources have become increasingly frustrated with Mr Obama’s “dithering” on Afghanistan.However, Mr Ainsworth is the first minister to express in public what amounts to personal criticism of the President’s leadership.Ministers say the mission is vital to stopterrorists using Afghanistan as a base, but polls show most voters now want an early withdrawal from teh conflict, which has so far cost 235 British lives.Gordon Brown has promised an “exit strategy” that could start next year.Mr Obama has been considering advice from General Stanley McChrystal, the US commander in Afghanistan, to send more than 40,000 extra troops to the country.Next week, after more than three months of deliberation, the President is expected to announce that he will send around 34,000.Speaking to MPs at the defence committe in the House of Commons, Mr Ainsworth welcomed that decision, but lamented the time taken to reach it.He said that the delays in Washington, the rising British death toll and the corruption of the Afghan government had all hampered efforts to retain public backing for the deployment.“We have suffered a lot of losses," he said. "We have had a period of hiatus while McChrystal's plan and his requested uplift has been looked at in the detail to which it has been looked at over a period of some months, and we have had the Afghan elections, which have been far from perfect. Click here for more information on this story.


12484 Thousands take part in world's largest ritual animal slaughter   The Times News Nepal 25 November 2009 09:30 Wed

Hundreds of thousands of religious devotees have converged on a tiny Nepalese village for what is thought to be the world’s largest ritual animal slaughter. As many as 500,000 animals – including about 25,000 buffaloes – will be offered to Gadhimai, a Hindu goddess, by devotees hopeful that in return she will answer their prayers, according to the organizers of the 300-year-old ceremony. "The goddess needs blood," said Chandan Dev Chaudhury, a priest at the Gadhimai temple in the centre of the festival site. "If anyone has a problem, then I will cut the throat of an animal in the temple and that person's problem will be solved." The two-day festival, which is held every five years the tiny village of Bariyapur near Nepal's southern border with India, has grown in size after animal sacrifices were banned in several Indian states. Those who offer animals believe their prayers will be answered. "I am here with my mother who had promised the goddess she would sacrifice a goat. It was her wish and promise and I am glad we were able to fulfill it," said Pramod Das, a farmer from the nearby village of Sarlahi... click here for the rest of this article from, The Times.

12485 Japanese exports fall at slowest rate in a year   BBC News Japan 25 November 2009 09:36 Wed

Japan's exports fell at their slowest annual rate in a year in October, providing further evidence of the country's emergence from recession. Exports from the world's second largest economy totalled 5.3tn yen ($60bn; $36bn), a fall of 23.2% from the same month a year earlier. The main reason for the improvement was higher demand in Asia, analysts said. Last week, Japan posted figures showing it had grown between July and September for the second straight quarter. "Japan is clearly participating in the global rebound, and its Asian neighbours in particular are lending a helping hand," said Adrian Foster at Rabobank. But while demand for Japanese products overseas improved, domestic demand for goods made outside Japan remained weak, falling by 35.6% in October... click here for the rest of this article from, BBC News.

12486 Madeleine businessman arrested at hotel   The Independent News United Kingdom 25 November 2009 09:41 Wed

A businessman once hired to help look for Madeleine McCann who is wanted by US authorities over an alleged fraud was arrested at a hotel, according to sources. Kevin Halligen, 48, was arrested yesterday afternoon at the Old Bank Hotel in Oxford, following a discrepancy over his hotel bill and is currently in custody in the county, it is understood. The US Department of Justice issued an indictment for the Briton two weeks ago alleging he tried to defraud a London law firm of more than two million dollars (£1.2m). His firm, Oakley International, was used by Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry for around six months last year to look for their missing daughter. Thames Valley Police said in a statement: "We arrested a 48-year-old man yesterday morning at the Old Bank Hotel in Oxford. It was a discrepancy over his hotel bill." He is being held in custody in the city, and it is understood a court hearing relating to an extradition matter could take place later today. Earlier this month the US Department of Justice issued an indictment for Halligen, who is from Surrey, alleging he conned a London-based law firm out of 2.1m dollars. It is alleged he claimed the money was to help secure the release of two business executives from the Dutch company Trafigura, who were arrested in the Ivory Coast. Halligen is accused of using the funds for his own benefit including buying a mansion in Virginia. Washington-based Oakley International was paid around £300,000 by backers of Madeleine McCann's parents to help look for the child after she went missing from an Algarve resort in May 2007... click here for the rest of this article from, The Independent.

12487 Congolese 'warlords' deny slaughtering entire villages   The Independent News Netherlands, The 25 November 2009 09:47 Wed

The attack came at first light. The village of Bogoro was turned into a slaughterhouse where "some were shot dead in their sleep, some cut up by machetes to save bullets", the International Criminal Court (ICC) was told yesterday. "Others were burned alive after their houses were set on fire by the attackers," the prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, recounted. Scores of women were raped, children were killed and young girls marched away to become sex slaves. When it was all over, one of the two suspects, Germain Katanga, was allegedly heard to boast: "Nothing was spared. Absolutely nothing. Chickens, goats, everything... was wiped out." Mr Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui were in the dock yesterday in The Hague – in only the second trial to get under way at the permanent ICC (as distinct from the temporary courts judging war crimes in the Balkans and Liberia) – as prosecutors described the horrors of civil war in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo... click here for the rest of this article from, The Independent.

12488 Aiding North Korea defectors: A high-stakes spy mission   LA Times News Korea 25 November 2009 09:47 Wed

A recent operation offers a peek inside the 'underground railroad,' a network of safe houses and secret border crossings that assists in the escape of North Korean refugees.As he cased the security at the foreign embassies in Hanoi, the 78-year-old retiree was seized with sudden self-doubt. He was certainly no John le Carre. Who was he to play spy?But this wasn't a game. Waiting in nearby safe houses were nine North Korean defectors whom Kim Sang-hun had helped spirit into Vietnam from China -- among them a young doctor and his wife, a mother and daughter, and a woman who'd been sold as a sex slave in Beijing."I thought, 'What am I doing here? I'm not a spy. Espionage takes resources and support,' " recalled the activist, who has devoted his retirement to helping refugees escape the repressive Stalinist regime. " 'I have no training. Is the mere will to succeed enough?' "Days earlier, Kim had received devastating news. Five other defectors, including a woman and her 6-year-old son, had been captured at the Chinese border en route to joining the other nine in Hanoi."They were almost there, and now they were gone, being sent back to North Korea to prison and perhaps death," he said. "I remember saying to someone, 'I wish I was dead.' "He thought about the defectors under his care: For months, they had lived under the constant threat of being caught by Chinese officials and returned to North Korea. Now in Hanoi, the activists' goal was to find the right embassy -- one away from a busy street and out of the steely gaze of Vietnamese secret police -- and then shepherd the defectors inside.Once within the embassy compound, the refugees could request sanctuary, taking another step toward freedom in South Korea. Click here for more information on this story.


12489 Iraq parliamentary election 'not possible in January'   BBC News Iraq 25 November 2009 09:53 Wed

Iraq will not be able to hold parliamentary elections before the end of January as required by the country's constitution, electoral officials say. The head of the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq, Faraj al-Haidari, said the possibility was now "over". Iraq's Sunni Arab vice-president had vetoed a draft of the electoral bill passed by parliament this month. Tariq al-Hashemi has now indicated he will also oppose an amended version agreed on Monday. The latest version would see more seats allocated to Kurds and fewer to Sunnis. The vote is seen as a prerequisite to the US meeting its goal of pulling out combat troops by August next year, and withdrawing fully by 2011... click here for the rest of this article from, BBC News.

12492 CZECH ROMA WOMEN GET APOLOGY FOR FORCED STERILIZATION Prague Tom Clifford News Czech Republic 25 November 2009 01:58 Wed

The Czech government apologized to Roma women who were sterilized without their consent but admitted it may still be going on. 

Minister for Human Rights and Minorities Michael Kocáb, said that the decision to address the issue had the complete backing of the cabinet but it was just a small step on the way to ensuring full human rights for all citizens.

“The situation will not change tomorrow or the day after but this is a step, a small step, in helping all minorities in the Czech Republic,” he said.

“This government saw something wrong and tried to change it. It may be a caretaker government but we knew we could act on this issue.”

As Prime Minister Jan Fischer issued the apology at Government House just after 3.30 pm on Tuesday, Nov. 23, Roma women who had traveled from Ostrava for the occasion burst into applause. They arrived in Prague at 11.30 am for a series of meetings with Fischer, Kocáb and other government ministers. Because of the intensity of the meetings, lunch which had been prepared was put aside, as the enormity of what was about to happen, a state public apology for abuse they had suffered at the hands of medical staff, became apparent. 

Fischer spoke the words that the women, their families, supporters as well as many other Czech citizens had been longing to hear: “We would like to express regret for what happened – it was a huge failure.” 

After Fischer spoke, Kocáb took to the podium. “The government had been silent on this issue for too long, now the Fischer government has finally addressed it.”

Kocáb was adamant that this was nothing less than a full apology, saying it was a fulfillment of a dream. 

“I had this dream that one day people would know about what was happening and our goal to make a public apology would be realized. It happened today. I have heard rumors that sterilization is still being carried out on women without their full consent and knowledge. We will change legislation so that any patient who is offered a paper to sign has to know and understand what kind of procedure is involved.”

The sterilization not only damaged the women physically and emotionally, it tore families asunder. 

“At last, an apology,” said Nataša Bartošová. “I already had four kids, but after the procedure took place, my husband left me. It completely destroyed my life. It happened in 1991. After giving birth I woke up and there was a whole in my belly and the explanation I got from my gynecologist shocked me – a sterilization took place together with giving birth while I was in a coma. The government’s apology is a major victory.”

In 2005 the women who were subjected to the procedure decided to “stop being afraid” and organized themselves, Chairwoman of the Sterilized Women's League, Elena Goralová, said. “The ombudsman made a list of all the cases (80 proved, at least 20 more waiting for final confirmation) and started to work on it.”

Ombudsman Otakar Motejl also insisted that the apology was not the end of the journey.

“I endorse the government's decision, however the apology is only a first step,” he said. 

“No medical procedure can be done without the patient's consent. It is necessary for the public to realize that to ensure that the patient is treated with dignity and their opinion is taken into consideration. Our health care system has been slow to realize the importance of informing the patient about procedures to be done.”



Czech, Roma, women, Fischer, sterilization
12494 Iraq inquiry to focus on Bush-Blair relationship   BBC News News United Kingdom 26 November 2009 09:18 Thu

UK-US relations in the run-up to the Iraq war are to come under scrutiny as ex-US Ambassador Sir Christopher Meyer gives evidence to the war inquiry. His evidence is expected to touch on the personal relationship between Tony Blair and former President Bush and the extent to which this influenced policy. The inquiry was told on Wednesday of reports days before the war that Iraq had dismantled its chemical weapons. But Foreign Office officials insisted the war was still justified. The inquiry is looking into UK involvement in Iraq between 2001 and 2009, with the first few weeks focusing on policy in the build-up to the 2003 US-led invasion... click here for the rest of this article from, BBC News.

12495 Mumbai commemorates anniversary of attacks   The AP News India 26 November 2009 09:21 Thu

Black-clad commandos rappelled down a building and Mumbai's police showed off their new gear Thursday in what was intended as a reassuring display of force a year after a terror attack across the city killed 166 people. Activists fear the security upgrades are not enough to prevent a repeat of the attack that laid siege to luxury hotels, turned a train station into a scene of carnage and paralyzed India's commercial heart for 60 hours. The anniversary of the attack was commemorated across India with somber ceremonies, candlelight vigils and remembrances for those killed. Ten Pakistan-based gunmen arrived by boat Nov. 26, 2008 and hit targets across the city as India's police and military struggled for nearly three days to regain control. Seven men were charged in Pakistan on Wednesday with links to the assault. On Thursday, about 100 beds were set up at the Chatrapati Shivaji train terminal, where 58 died and 104 were injured, for a blood donation drive organized by railway authorities and private groups... click here for the rest of this article from, AP.

12496 Main suspect in Philippine massacre surrenders   Reuters News Philippines 26 November 2009 09:24 Thu

The main suspect in the massacre of 57 people in an election-related feud in the southern Philippines surrendered on Thursday as authorities moved to dismantle his clan's control over the region. Andal Ampatuan Jr, a local mayor in Maguindanao province, was flown out by an army helicopter from the provincial capital, where he was handed over by his brother to a senior government official and the top military general in the region. "The charges are baseless," Ampatuan later told reporters at an airport in General Santos City. "They are not true. My conscience is clear." On Monday, about 100 armed men attacked a convoy carrying members of the rival Mangudadatu clan, who were on their way to file the candidacy of one of their family for the provincial governor's post in elections next year. The attackers herded the victims to a remote hillside and attacked them with M-16 rifles and machetes. At least 10 of those killed were motorists who were passing by on the highway and had apparently witnessed the abduction. Not all the victims have been identified but 22 of them were believed to be journalists accompanying the family, making Monday's attack in the troubled south the deadliest ever on the media anywhere in the world... click here for the rest of this article from, Reuters.

12497 White House state dinner gate-crashed by reality TV wannabes   The Times News United States of America 26 November 2009 09:31 Thu

For sheer brazen chutzpah it will take some beating. When a stunning blonde dressed in a red and gold sari and accompanied by her tux-wearing husband arrived at the White House on Tuesday night, announcing that they were guests at the state dinner honouring the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, no questions were asked. A Marine announced their names and within minutes the pair were mingling with 300 other elite guests for cocktails in the East Room before heading for the dinner tent on the South Lawn. On the way they stopped on the red carpet for photographs, posing alongside — among others — Vice President Joe Biden, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty. The only trouble with the glittering scenes was that the couple, Michaele and Tareq Salahi, had never been invited to the high-security dinner. The two polo-playing aspiring reality TV stars from Virginia were high-society gate crashers — and the first the White House security detail knew of their blunder in allowing them into Tuesday's event was when the couple posted photographs from the dinner on their Facebook page... click here for the rest of this article from, The Times.

12498 Iraq to counter "lies", show successes via YouTube   Reuters News Iraq 26 November 2009 09:35 Thu

Iraq's government launched its first channel on Google Inc's video website YouTube on Wednesday, which the prime minister said would allow the country to counter media "lies" and showcase its successes. Nuri al-Maliki, whose Shi'ite Muslim-led government is seeking re-election in national polls in early 2010, said the YouTube channel would help dispel the "lies and misleading information in the news" which did not reflect Iraq's progress. The new channel does not allow viewers to leave comments. Iraq's boisterous media has had unprecedented freedom since the 2003 U.S. invasion ousted Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein. But a recent spate of lawsuits against foreign and local media outlets critical of Maliki, his office or his government, new regulations for broadcasters and moves to censor books and the Internet have raised fears of a crackdown... click here for the rest of this article from, Reuters.

12499 Kidnapped foreign journalists freed in Somalia   The Guardian News Somalia 26 November 2009 09:39 Thu

Two foreign journalists freed after more than a year in captivity in Somalia flew out to neighbouring Kenya today. Canadian Amanda Lindhout and Nigel Brennan, an Australian, flew out of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, in a chartered plane, said Mohamed Abdullahi, Somalia's national security minister. Journalists waiting at Mogadishu airport were unable to speak to the duo because they were in a convoy full of soldiers and African Union peacekeepers. Lindhout and Brennan were released on Wednesday. Police spokesman Colonel Abdullahi Hassan Barise declined to say if a ransom had been paid for their release. A police officer and an MP said last night that a $700,000 (£423,000) ransom was paid. It was not possible to independently verify their claim... click here for the rest of this article from, The Guardian.

12500 Bailed Polanski to stay under house arrest for £2.7m   The Independent News Switzerland 26 November 2009 09:49 Thu

Roman Polanski was granted $4.5m (£2.7m) bail yesterday, clearing the way for the film director to move within days from a Swiss jail to house arrest and electronic monitoring at his chalet in an Alpine resort. The Swiss Justice Minister said she would not appeal against the surprise decision by the Swiss Criminal Court. Mr Polanski would have to stay in Switzerland while authorities assess whether to extradite him to the US for having sex in Los Angeles in 1977 with a 13-year-old girl. "The 76-year-old appellant is married and the father of two minors," the court said as it considered Mr Polanski's offer of a cash bail secured by his apartment in Paris... click here for the rest of this article from, The Independent.

12501 Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iranian President, gets hero's welcome in Venezuela   The Times News Venezuela 26 November 2009 09:53 Thu

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian President, received a hero’s welcome yesterday as he visited his key Latin American ally on a regional tour designed to shore up support for Tehran in its confrontation with Western powers. Shouting “Viva Ahmadinejad!” Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez pledged his full backing for Iran against “the threat of the empire”. “In all the continent the people are rising for President Ahmadinejad,” the socialist leader declared. Iran is trying to deepen its strategic inroads on the Latin American continent, where it has found new allies in a host of anti-American leftist leaders led by Mr Chavez. Mr Ahmadinejad recently boasted that, while the West had been trying to isolate Iran, it had entrenched itself in America’s “backyard”. Tehran has opened five new diplomatic missions and signed hundreds of cooperation deals in the region, including some 200 with Venezuela in the areas of trade, energy and defence... click here for the rest of this article from, The Times.

12502 Vladimir Putin's endangered tiger is missing, despite satellite collar   The Times News Russia 26 November 2009 09:55 Thu

Vladimir Putin’s tigress is missing. The rare Siberian tiger that Russia’s Prime Minister shot with a tranquiliser dart and fitted with a satellite-tracking collar has disappeared, according to environmentalists. Its movements were being tracked on Mr Putin’s official website to highlight threats to the survival of the animal, also called the Amur tiger.The female tiger’s last location was recorded two months ago and nothing has been heard from her since. Vladimir Krever, of the World Wildlife Fund in Russia, said that she could have fallen victim to poachers or the tracking collar could simply have failed or broken off. Mr Putin embellished his action-man image when he shot the five-year-old tiger in Russia’s Far East in August last year. He allegedly saved a Russian television crew from attack after the animal escaped from a trap as he was arriving... click here for the rest of this article from, The Times.

12503 Primary Suspect in Philippines Massacre Detained in Manila   Dean Bernardo News Philippines 26 November 2009 12:38 Thu

The alleged mastermind in the savage killing of 57 civilians including 17 journalists in Maguindanao province in the Philippines was airlifted into Manila and is now under the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation. The mayor of Datu Uswan town, Andal Ampatuan, Jr. was heavily escorted by national authorities into a detention cell in the Philippines capital after being presented to an inquest for allegedly ordering the massacre early this week of a convoy of women candidates from a rival family. Heavily armed men from the government escorted Ampatuan from his heavily fortified town and was brought to a nearby airport where he faced the husband of one of the women killed last Monday. Ampatuan, wearing thick aviator glasses and covered his face with a hijab or Muslim head dress faced his accusers and displayed no emotion. Four members of media who were lucky to have escaped the massacre asked direct questions but got no response. Pressured to answer by a mob of journalists, Ampatuan declared that he had nothing to do with the incident and that he will clear his name in time. Government authorities led by Presidential Adviser on Mindanao Affairs Jesus Diureza reported before members of media that while they were on-air aboard Huey helicopters, unknown individuals fired at that air force choppers carrying Ampatuan and the arresting team. Meanwhile, government enforces entered towns in Maguindanao province that are strongholds of the Ampatuans and has confiscated heavy fire arms of a local civilian paramilitary group loyal to the Ampatuan clan. The warlord has arrived and was brought into Manila, amidst heavy evening traffic, a long heavily armed convoy sneaked Ampatuan into a detention cell managed by the NBI...


12506 China vows to dramatically slow emissions growth   The AP News China 27 November 2009 09:15 Fri

China promised to slow its carbon emissions, saying it would nearly halve the ratio of pollution to GDP over the next decade — a major move by the world's largest emitter, whose cooperation is crucial to any deal as a global climate summit approaches. Beijing's voluntary pledge Thursday came a day after President Barack Obama promised the U.S. would lay out plans at the summit to substantially cut its own greenhouse gas emissions. Together, the announcements are building momentum for next month's meeting in Copenhagen. "Governments from all over the world are delivering before the climate conference," Denmark's Climate Minister Connie Hedegaard said. "U.S. and China have come forward. All across the globe, things are moving. This is good news." But environmental experts warned that China's plan does not commit it to reducing emissions — and that they will in fact continue to increase, though at a slower rate... click here for the rest of this article from, The AP.

12507 Husband of Philippine massacre victim files candidacy   Reuters News Philippines 27 November 2009 09:21 Fri

A politician whose wife, sisters and relatives were among 57 people killed in the southern Philippines because he wanted to contest elections next year, registered his candidacy on Friday. Esmael "Toto" Mangudadatu said the massacre had not altered his plans to run for the post of governor of Maguindanao province in the May 2010 polls."Only death can stop me from running for governor," he told reporters after submitting nomination papers at a local election commission office. Mangudadatu's 50-vehicle convoy to the office was escorted by soldiers and combat-trained police units, passing along the same highway where his wife's caravan, which included dozens of journalists, was stopped by about 100 armed men on Monday. They were on the way to the election office to file Mangudadatu's candidacy papers. Fifty seven were shot and hacked to death and most of them buried in three shallow graves on a hillside off the highway. The victims included 27 journalists and seven people who were not part of the convoy. Those seven were killed because they witnessed the crime. Andal Ampatuan Jr, a local mayor in Maguindanao and the main suspect in the murders, was arrested after he voluntarily submitted himself for investigation on Thursday. He has denied any role in the murders but has been imprisoned in Manila. "Only death can stop me from running for governor," he told reporters after submitting nomination papers at a local election commission office. Mangudadatu's 50-vehicle convoy to the office was escorted by soldiers and combat-trained police units, passing along the same highway where his wife's caravan, which included dozens of journalists, was stopped by about 100 armed men on Monday. They were on the way to the election office to file Mangudadatu's candidacy papers. Fifty seven were shot and hacked to death and most of them buried in three shallow graves on a hillside off the highway. The victims included 27 journalists and seven people who were not part of the convoy. Those seven were killed because they witnessed the crime. Andal Ampatuan Jr, a local mayor in Maguindanao and the main suspect in the murders, was arrested after he voluntarily submitted himself for investigation on Thursday. He has denied any role in the murders but has been imprisoned in Manila... click here for the rest of this article from, Reuters.

12509 Merkel under fire as general resigns over Kunduz massacre   The Independent News Germany 27 November 2009 09:28 Fri

The head of Germany's armed forces has resigned over allegations of a military cover-up following a Nato air strike in Afghanistan that killed dozens of civilians. General Wolfgang Schneiderhan's resignation caps a deeply embarrassing episode for Chancellor Angela Merkel and her government over the country's policy in Afghanistan. The 4 September bombing of two oil tankers in the northern Afghan town of Kunduz caused carnage, and was the deadliest incident involving German troops since the Second World War. At first the German Nato forces, which had ordered the attack, claimed that all those killed in the incident were insurgents, although later the government in Berlin expressed regrets if innocent people had been among the victims. Yesterday General Schneiderhan, the highest ranking official in the Germany armed forces, asked to be relieved of his duties for failing to pass on crucial information to ministers. Peter Wichert, a deputy defence minister who was in office at the time of the attack also stepped down. The resignations came after Bild newspaper published photographs from a secret army video indicating that civilian deaths were known about even as the then defence minister, Franz Josef Jung, was insisting that there was no evidence to show anyone but Taliban fighters had died... click here for the rest of this article from, The Independent.

12510 World powers seek Iran nuclear censure   AFP News Iran 27 November 2009 09:32 Fri

World powers united on Friday to seek a new UN censure of Iran's nuclear programme and demand that it halt construction of uranium enrichment site kept secret until recently. Britain, France, Germany, the United States, Russia and China sponsored the new resolution against Iran to be voted by the International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-member board of governors, diplomats said. Diplomats predicted it would be approved with a substantial majority. Western powers suspect Iran is trying to build a nuclear bomb. Iran insists its atomic drive is peaceful. It would be the first time in nearly four years that the UN nuclear watchdog has passed a resolution against Iran. The vote also comes a day after the outgoing IAEA chief said that efforts to determine whether Iran's programme was peaceful had reached a "dead end". In February 2006 the IAEA referred Tehran to the UN Security Council over its refusal to suspend enrichment and agree to full and complete inspections by the agency. The support from Moscow and Beijing was seen as significant since they have been reluctant in the past to back tougher action against Iran... click here for more on this story from, AFP.

12511 Silvio Berlusconi's wife 'demands £3m a month'   The Telegraph News Italy 27 November 2009 09:37 Fri

Silvio Berlusconi's estranged wife is demanding £3 million a month maintenance, it has been claimed, in what is likely to rank as one of the biggest divorce settlements in history. Veronica Lario, 53, who announced in April that she wanted a divorce after nearly 20 years of marriage, reportedly wants to be paid £39 million a year – a staggering sum even by the standards of Mr Berlusconi's stratospheric wealth. But that is more than ten times what Italy's 73-year-old prime minister is said to be willing to give her. It is thought he wants to give more in the region of £250,000 a month. He is, however, prepared to give his wife Villa Belvedere, the sumptuous house near Milan in which she has for years led a largely separate life. Miss Lario's demand appears to spell doom for Mr Berlusconi's hopes to come to a discreet, out-of-court divorce settlement. It suggests that there is deep acrimony between her and the 73-year-old Mr Berlusconi, who she accused in April of being "unwell" and wrecking their marriage by "consorting with minors", including an 18-year-old lingerie model... click here for the rest of this article from, The Telegraph.

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