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January 6, 2004

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Picture of the Day

Ice Glyphs Dec 2003
©2004 Pierre-Paul Feyte

Osama is back, with a New Year's resolution to kill all infidels, but which Osama is it this time?

Believing in lies and deceit may maintain your comfort zone for the time being, but at some stage the piper must be paid. Everyone contributes to the drama that is unfolding on the grand stage that is the planet earth, and nobody is a nobody.

Ghadafi didn't say "How high?" when ordered to jump by the US. Bush just renewed US sanctions against Libya for another year in order to "encourage" more concessions. Libya will now permit Libyan Jews to visit Israel.

The Kurdish region in Iraq will remain semi-autonomous. A troop shortage in Iraq has caused the brass to issue an order to keep retiring or leaving soldiers on active duty. Iran says it will launch a satellite within eighteen months, while North Korea and Iran allegedly developed WMD's in Libya.

Canadians in the US on long-term visas will be subject to fingerprinting and photos. Portugal is refusing to put armed guards in its planes, preferring to cancel flights if there is a danger.

The US doesn't torture anyone; they get others to do it for them. More on the story of Maher Arar, the Canadian of Syrian descent, who was shipped off for a year's imprisonment in Syria so the Syrians could find out if he was a threat to the US.

France reports that divers have located the black box from the airliner that crashed in the Red Sea.

Conrad Black misses the first repayment of the money he...er..."borrowed" from Hollinger. A new coronal mass ejection is heading our way, the search is on for meteorite pieces, the space station has sprung a leak, and yet more UFOs.

Fears bin Laden tape 'signal for terror attack'

Gethin Chamberlain
Defence Correspondent

Intelligence analysts believe that the latest taped message from Osama bin Laden is the signal for al-Qaeda operatives to launch a major attack against the United States.

The warning came amid the introduction of further strict security measures in the US, including the fingerprinting and photographing of most visitors entering the country through ports and airports, and the delayed take-off of British Airways’ flight 223 from Heathrow to Washington DC for a third day running due to terrorism fears.

In the latest audio tape, broadcast at the weekend, bin Laden claimed the war in Iraq was the beginning of the occupation of Gulf states and urged Muslims to "continue the jihad [holy war] to check the conspiracies that are hatched against the Islamic nation".

There is more concern about an attack than at any other point in the last two years

Intelligence analysts who have compared the timing of previous taped messages and attacks attributed to al-Qaeda yesterday warned that the message indicated there was a serious threat of a major attack on US territory within the next six weeks.

Ben Venzk, the chief executive of IntelCenter, a private sector intelligence company specialising in terrorism and other national security threats for government agencies and major US companies, said the release of bin Laden’s messages appeared to be a significant indicator of imminent attacks.

He added that the latest tape, combined with other current threat reporting, indicated a significant risk of a major al-Qaeda attack occurring sometime before the middle of February.

"We would say, looking at the release of audio tapes, that if the past is any record of a trend, we would expect a higher likelihood of an attack in the next 43 days," he said.

"Combined with the other threat information, there is an extremely great risk.

"There is more concern about an attack on the US at this time than at any other point in the last two years."

Professor Paul Wilkinson, of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at St Andrews University, said he also believed the messages could be linked to future al-Qaeda attacks.

"I would anticipate an attack in the near future," he said. "I think the US is right to be on a heightened state of alert. Al-Qaeda are desperate to show that they can still attack the US homeland, but they can also attack US targets abroad and that is complicating things." [...]

Comment: There exists much evidence to suggest that many of the previous "Bin Laden" tapes were fabrications, probably produced by the CIA and/or Mossad given that the US and Israel are the main benefactors of the "war on terror". Despite this, American intelligence agencies feel confident that they can continue to pass off more of the same lies and invitations to "be afraid" on the unsuspecting public. It would appear that their confidence is well-founded.

Flashback: Voice Cloning - Software Recreates Voices Of Living & Dead

By Lisa Guernsey
New York Times
8-1-1

AT&T Labs will start selling speech software that it says is so good at reproducing the sounds, inflections and intonations of a human voice that it can re-create voices and even bring the voices of long-dead celebrities back to life.

The software, which turns printed text into synthesized speech, makes it possible for a company to use recordings of a person's voice to utter new things that the person never said. [...]

Comment: The technology exists; does anyone believe that the CIA is NOT using it? Even the BBC questioned the authenticity of the December 2001 "Bin Laden" video tape.

Flashback: Could the Bin Laden video be a fake?

Friday, 14 December, 2001
BBC online

Washington calls it the "smoking gun" that puts Bin Laden's guilt beyond doubt, but many in the Arab world believe the home video of the al-Qaeda chief is a fake. Could it be?
The sound is muffled, the image at times blurred and juddery, but the dialogue - if genuine - is damning.

Osama Bin Laden, or someone who looks a lot like him, talks on camera about his prior knowledge of the 11 September attacks on the World Trade Center.

But while Washington's allies have been quick to judge the tape as evidence of Bin Laden's guilt, many in the Arab world doubt its authenticity.

Comment: Consider the two photos below. On the left, an image from the 2001 "Bin Laden" video where he claimed responsibility for the 9/11 attacks. On the right, a verified authentic image of the real Bin Laden.

That the US government was able to pass off this obvious falsification on the American and world public is in itself depressing enough, being as it is just one more in a long list of government lies that span many decades. However, when we consider the implications of the deception, that its success represented the wholesale whitewashing of the truth about the government's involvement in 9/11, we find ourselves not just deceived, but complicit in the coverup of deaths of almost 3,000 American citizens. Not content with American blood on their hands, the government then sought to use the deception to justify the illegal invasion of Afghanistan and later Iraq and the murder of tens of thousands of innocent Afghan and Iraqi men, women and children, blown to bits in the name of "American freedom".

It could be argued that a person might be excused culpability in the case that they lack the opportunity for independent investigation or discernment and have as such been genuinely deceived. However, as can be seen from the above, through the bungling attempts of US intelligence agencies the American people have had ample opportunity to discern and choose truth over lies, yet most have not done so, choosing instead to buy into the NeoCons simplistic new world doctrine of good vs evil.

The majority of US (and world) citizens have embraced the lies that have facilitated the continued rapacious policies of the US government. Knowledge protects, and it appears that most have not chosen to arm themselves with the knowledge that could protect themselves and future generations. At least for now.

Orange Code Terror Alert based on Fabricated Intelligence

by Michel Chossudovsky
3 January 2004

On December 21st, the country was put on High Terror Alert by the Department of Homeland Security.

Based on "credible" intelligence sources, presumed Al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorists were planning to hijack an Air France plane and "crash it on US soil in a suicide terror strike similar to those carried out on September 11, 2001."

Air France Christmas flights out of Paris were grounded. F-16 fighters were patrolling the skies. [...]

Yet following the French investigation, it turned out that the terror alert was a hoax. The information was not "very very precise" as claimed by Us intelligence.

The six Al Qaeda men turned out to be a five year old boy, whose name had been mistaken for an alleged Tunisian terrorist, an elderly Chinese lady who used to run a restaurant in Paris, a Welsh insurance salesman and three French nationals. (Le Monde and RTBF TV, 2 January 2004)

On January 2nd, the French government confirmed that the intelligence communicated by Washington was erroneous. The French authorities declared there "was not a trace of Al Qaeda among the passengers."

But in fact these "inconsistencies" regarding US intelligence had already been uncovered on the 23d of December by France's antiterrorist services, which had politely refuted the so-called "credible sources" emanating out of the US intelligence apparatus.

France's counter-terrorism experts were extremely "sceptical" of their US counterparts:

"we [French police investigators] showed [on 23 December] that their arguments simply did not make sense, but despite this the flights were cancelled... The main suspect [a Tunisian hijacker] turned out to be a child". (quoted in the Le Monde, 3 January 2003).

We really had the feeling of unfriendly treatment [by US officials] (ils nous appliquent un traitement d'infamie). The information was not transmitted through normal channels. It wasn't the FBI or the CIA which contacted us, everything went through diplomatic channels..." (Ibid)

In the words of another French investigator:

"how is possible that in such sensitive areas of intelligence, the Americans were mistaken in relation to the identity of a relatively large number of names [of passengers] (quoted in Liberation, 3 January 2003) [...]

Despite the fact that the information had been refuted, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge insisted on maintaining the stand-down order. If Air France had not complied, it would have been prevented from using US air space, namely banned from flying to the US.

Needless to say, had the flights not been cancelled, the Administration's justification for Orange Code Alert would no longer hold.

In other words, Homeland Security needed to sustain the lie over the entire Christmas holiday, despite the fact that "its very very precise information" had been refuted by French investigators.

It was only on January 2nd, that the US authorities admitted that they were in error, claiming that it was a unavoidable case of "mistaken identity." While tacitly acknowledging their error, Homeland Security insisted that "the cancellations were based on solid information."

Meanwhile, a routine case of "mistaken identity" had contributed to breaking the Spirit of Christmas, across the Land.

Based on erroneous intelligence, an entire Nation had been brought under Orange Code terror alert.

Was it incompetence or was it deliberate? Either way, a public inquiry into the workings of the Homeland Security Department is long overdue.

Manufacturing disinformation to create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation is not only a criminal act, it is an act of treason because it emanates from the highest levels of the State.

Portugal rejects sky marshal call

Portugal has joined Denmark and Sweden in rejecting US calls to post armed guards on international flights.

The country's civil aviation authority said that putting loaded guns aboard an aircraft could endanger it.

A better course would be to cancel any flight against which there was a credible terrorist threat, it argued.

The decision means that plans to have armed guards, known as sky marshals, on board US-bound planes have now been rejected by three countries.

Comment: It appears the real intent of the US government's intervention in the skies is to render travel to and from the US so difficult that people will give up on it altogether. The Bush Reich is erecting Fortress America to isolate Americans from the rest of this oh-so-dangerous world. Eventually, they will come after the Internet.

New U.S. anti-terrorism system will include Canadians living in America

06:28 AM EST Jan 06
BETH GORHAM

WASHINGTON (CP) - A new American anti-terrorism program that started fingerprinting and photographing arriving foreigners Monday will eventually include all Canadians in the United States on visas.

[...] Most Canadians are not subject to the new program since most aren't required to get visas and machine-readalbe passports that easily identify people are expected this fall.

Going to Disneyland for a week or crossing the border for a good sale will still be easy.

But hundreds of thousands of Canadians who study and work in the U.S. under several kinds of visas must be fingerprinted and photographed when applying for new papers, said a spokesman from the Department of Homeland Security.

"Over the next couple of years, everyone is going to be using this system," said the spokesman, who did not want to be identified.

"It will happen at the consulate office when they are getting their visas. People who already have a visa will do it when they renew it."

The U.S. has been on high alert for terrorism for more than two weeks. Fourteen foreign flights have been cancelled or delayed since New Year's Eve because of security fears.

Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said the program will make borders "open to travellers but closed to terrorists."

Torture by proxy: How immigration threw a traveler to the wolves

Christopher H. Pyle Sunday, January 4, 2004 San Francisco Chronicle

On Sept. 26, 2002, U.S. immigration officials seized a Syrian-born Canadian at Kennedy International Airport, because his name had come up on an international watch list for possible terrorists. What happened next is chilling.

Maher Arar was about to change planes on his way home to Canada after visiting his wife's family in Tunisia when he was pulled aside for questioning. He was not a terrorist. He had no terrorist connections, but his name was on the list, so he was detained for questioning. Not ordinary, polite questioning, but abusive, insulting, degrading questioning by the immigration service, the FBI and the New York City Police Department.

He asked for a lawyer and was told he could not have one. He asked to call his family, but phone calls were not permitted. Instead, he was clapped into shackles and, for several days, made to "disappear." His family was frantic.

Finally, he was allowed to make a call. His government expected that Arar's right of safe passage under its passport would be respected. But it wasn't. Arar denied any connection to terrorists. He was not accused of any crimes, but U.S. agents wanted him questioned further by someone whose methods might be more persuasive than theirs.

So, they put Arar on a private plane and flew him to Washington, D.C. There, a new team, presumably from the CIA, took over and delivered him, by way of Jordan, to Syrian interrogators. This covert operation was legal, our Justice Department later claimed, because Arar is also a citizen of Syria by birth. The fact that he was a Canadian traveling on a Canadian passport, with a wife, two children and job in Canada, and had not lived in Syria for 16 years, was ignored. The Justice Department wanted him to be questioned by Syrian military intelligence, whose interrogation methods our government has repeatedly condemned.

The Syrians locked Arar in an underground cell the size of a grave: 3 feet wide, 6 feet long, 7 feet high. Then they questioned him, under torture, repeatedly, for 10 months. Finally, when it was obvious that their prisoner had no terrorist ties, they let him go, 40 pounds lighter, with a pronounced limp and chronic nightmares.

Why was Arar on our government's watch list? Because "multiple international intelligence agencies" had linked him to terrorist groups. How many agencies? Two. What had they reported? Not much.

The Syrians believed that Arar might be a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Why? Because a cousin of his mother's had been, nine years earlier, long after Arar moved to Canada. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police reported that the lease on Arar's apartment had been witnessed by a Syrian- born Canadian who was believed to know an Egyptian Canadian whose brother was allegedly mentioned in an al Qaeda document.

That's it. That's all they had: guilt by the most remote of computer- generated associations. But, according to Attorney General John Ashcroft, that was more than enough to justify Arar's delivery to Syria's torturers.

Besides, Ashcroft added, the torturers had expressly promised that they would not torture him.

Our intelligence agencies have a name for this torture-by-proxy. They call it "extraordinary rendition." As one intelligence official explained: "We don't kick the s -- out of them. We send them to other countries so they can kick the s -- out of them."

This secret program for torturing suspects has been authorized, if that is the right word for it, by a secret presidential finding. Where the president gets the authority to have anyone tortured has never been explained.

It is time someone asked. What our government did to Maher Arar is worse than anything the British did to our Colonial forefathers. It was worse than anything J. Edgar Hoover did to alleged Communists, civil rights workers and anti-war activists during his long program of dirty tricks.

According to the Bush administration, we are at "war" with al Qaeda. If so, then delivering a suspect to torturers is a war crime and should be prosecuted as such. But first, we need to know who was responsible, and that will not be easy -- unless there is a firestorm of protest.

Isn't it time to condemn torture by proxy and demand prosecution of the persons responsible? Isn't it time to question how these watch lists are assembled and used, before more of us fall victim to secret detentions and brutal interrogations based on guilt by computerized associations?

The Blair Virus

Abdulwahab Badrakhan Al-Hayat 2004/01/5

The world's security, as seen by the British Prime Minister, is only threatened by the Islamic fundamentalism virus and the barbaric suppressive states that develop weapons of mass destructions. This is a viewpoint of the current situation with no regard to what preceded it and what would follow, with great persistence to escape responsibility. It is as if the fundamentalism virus was created from vacuum, and did not originate from "moderation" swamps - in their American-British structure with its chronic diseases.

Despite the fact that talk of weapons of mass destruction, in Basra, in occupied Iraq, is no longer convincing, and following a war that advertised a "moral" objective, Tony Blair insists on not developing his speech. Thus, there are two possibilities: either the soldiers whom the Prime Minister addressed do not know that the weapons were not found, or Blair thinks that his soldiers believe only what he tells them. In both cases, there is insistence on enriching the lies, because depending on facts delays, if not hinders, achieving the goals.

Arab interior ministers: Attacks against foreign occupation - not ''terrorism''

05-01-2004

Resisting foreign occupation can not be considered "terrorism," Arab interior ministers declared Monday, ending a security conference in Tunisia.

In a final declaration, the group of 19 ministers from the Arab League said they strongly condemned "terrorism" in any form. However, they stressed "the need to make a distinction between terrorism and peoples' right to fight occupation and foreign aggression."

The statement also said officials "categorically refused any attempt to place the blame for terrorism on Arabs and Muslims."

Unknown group claims ''attack'' on Egyptian charter plane, vows to strike Air France

05-01-2004,15 :45

A man claiming to represent an Islamic group in Yemen said on Monday the Egyptian charter plane that crashed Saturday was brought down in an "attack" by the group's members, in a telephone call to AFP.

The man, who said he was an Egyptian calling from Cairo, said he spoke on behalf of a group dubbed Ansar el-Haq (the Apostles of Truth), which he said carried out an attack that brought down the plane.

Ansar el-Haq is based in Yemen, he said.

A Boeing 737 operated by a Cairo-based charter firm, Flash Airways, plunged into the Red Sea on Saturday shortly after taking off from the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, killing all 148 people aboard, mainly French tourists.

Egypt has ruled out terrorism as a cause of the crash and pointed to an unspecified technical fault. French officials said it appeared to have been a classic accident on take-off.

The caller also warned that his group would launch an attack "soon" against Air France "if France does not go back on its decision to prohibit the Islamic headscarf" in state schools.

Comment: Gee, sometimes the coincidences are so startling you might think the universe is trying to tell us something. Last week the PR started for the new book by neocons Richard Perle and David Frum, An End to Evil, in which the authors call on the Bush Reich to view the French as an "adversary," if not an outright enemy. So what happens a few short days later? Over 100 French citizens are killed in the crash of an Egyptian charter.

The "excuse" is the French determination to protect the secular character of state institutions by prohibiting the headscarf in schools. However, the French also banned any ostentatious display of Christian and Jewish symbols. The fundamentalist Christians in the US are very upset with this.

There is obviously more to this crash than the usual spin the media gives us. Official spokespersons were very quick to tell us that it was not a "terrorist" attack. As quick as the US authorities were to tell us the crash of Paul Wellstone's plane was "just an accident." As quick as the US authorities were to tell us that 9/11 was the work of "al Qaeda."

But in the global scale of things, how do headscarves weigh, in compared to the French firmness in the face of Bush expansionism? Does it make sense for Islamists to attack the French and risk pushing them into the Bush "Coalition of the Willing"?

We think this has the earmarks of "official" terrorism, the kind perpetrated by the CIA or other state terrorist organisations. When we ask who benefits from this attack, it is not the Arabs, it is the forces united against the Arabs.

French Divers Find Egypt Crash Flight Recorder, Agency Says

January 6, 2003

CAIRO (Reuters) - French divers have located a flight recorder and the exact position of the plane which crashed into the Red Sea killing all 148 people on board, Egypt's official Middle East News Agency said Tuesday, quoting French sources. [...]

US renews sanctions against Libya

Tuesday 06 January 2004, 13:22 Makka Time, 10:22 GMT

The United States has renewed its sanctions on Libya, insisting Tripoli must follow new policies on unconventional weapons with ''concrete steps''.

President George Bush said in a statement on Monday the "crisis" between the two countries which led to the declaration of a national emergency on 7 January 1986 had not been fully resolved.

The statement did not specify the duration of the renewal, but such sanctions - which include a freeze on assets in the United States - have been renewed annually since they were first imposed in 1986.

[...] "Libya's agreement marks the beginning of a process of rejoining the community of nations, but its declaration... must be followed by verification of concrete steps.

"As Libya takes tangible steps to address those concerns, the United States will in turn take reciprocal tangible steps to recognize Libya's progress," [Bush] said.

The US leader also acknowledged lingering US concerns about its "role with respect to terrorism", as well as its "poor human rights record".

Comment: Yeah, right George. What about US support for Pinochet, for the Argentinian generals, for the overthrow of countries all over the globe, the current invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention the support for the genocide of the Palestinians, all with the active involvement of the world's leading terrorist organisation, the CIA?

Kadhafi expresses readiness to compensate Libyan Jews, enable travel abroad - also to Israel

06-01-2004,09 :46

In comments published on Tuesday, Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi is quoted as saying he is ready to compensate Libyan Jews whose properties were confiscated. He also said he is prepared to allow Libyans to travel to Israel, according to Arab press reports.

We won't scrap WMD stockpile unless Israel does, says Assad

The Syrian president talks exclusively to Benedict Brogan in Damascus

06/01/2004
The Telegraph

Syria is entitled to defend itself by acquiring its own chemical and biological deterrent, President Bashar Assad said last night as he rejected American and British demands for concessions on weapons of mass destruction. [...]

Asked about American and British claims that Syria had a WMD capability, he stopped short of the categorical denial that has been his government's stock response until now.

Instead, he pointed to the Israelis' recent attack on alleged Palestinian bases in Syria and the occupation of the Golan Heights as evidence that Syria needed a deterrent. "We are a country which is [partly] occupied and from time to time we are exposed to Israeli aggression," he said. "It is natural for us to look for means to defend ourselves. It is not difficult to get most of these weapons anywhere in the world and they can be obtained at any time." [...]

Despite his passionate advocacy of the Palestinian cause and his use in the past of inflammatory language about Israel and Jews, he denied hating them. "If you hate, you cannot talk about peace," he said. [...]

Muzzling a Whistle-Blower

Mordechai Vanunu is scheduled to be freed soon. But will he be?

By Dan Ephron
Newsweek International
Jan. 12 issue

Sometime last year Mordechai Vanunu received a visitor at his prison cell in the southern Israeli town of Ashkelon. The guest was an Israeli security official, and the proposal he was carrying would have made Vanunu—a former nuclear technician jailed since 1986 for revealing Israel's atomic secrets—a free man.

But not entirely. Vanunu, who had another year left on his sentence, would have had to sign a pledge to never again talk publicly about Israeli nukes or about Dimona, the nuclear plant where he worked and where Israel is said to have built at least 200 atomic bombs.

Though Vanunu had suffered from dreadful prison conditions since his arrest the offer held little appeal. "He said he won't do it," recounts Mary Eoloff, a retired American schoolteacher who, along with her husband, legally adopted Vanunu a few years ago, in a failed attempt to win him U.S. citizenship. "He believes in freedom of speech."

Vanunu, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, is due to exit Ashkelon prison on April 21 and wants to emigrate immediately to the United States. But in the waning months of his 18-year sentence, Israeli officials are quietly considering meting out more punishment for the whistle-blower. [...]

Comment: The whole world knows that Israel has nuclear weapons, so just what does Vanunu know that Israel does not want the world to know? Ethnic Specific Weapons perhaps, or has the world just underestimated how much fire power Israel really has?

DPRK offers to stop nuclear activities: KCNA

www.chinaview.cn 2004-01-06 15:36:55

PYONGYANG, Jan. 6 (Xinhuanet) -- The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) said Tuesday it will neither test nor produce nuclear weapons and will freeze nuclear facilities even for peaceful use in "a bold concession" to the United States.

"The DPRK is set to refrain from test and production of nuclear weapons and stop even operating nuclear power industry for a peaceful purpose as first-phase measures of the package solution," South Korea's Yonhap News Agency quoted the DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) as reporting.

"This can not but be one more bold concession," the KCNA said.

In an article by the KCNA, the DPRK said the progress in the second round of talks on its nuclear weapons program depends on whether the United States will accept its demands for simultaneous action in which the two sides address each other's concerns.

The DPRK's demands include Pyongyang's removal from Washington's list of nations allegedly sponsoring terrorism, the lifting of sanctions and the provision of energy aid, the KCNA said.

However, the US has refused to meet the DPRK's demands unless the latter first agrees to a complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantling of its nuclear weapons program.

North Korea, Iran developed WMD in Libya

Tue Jan 6, 1:11 AM ET

TOKYO (AFP) - North Korea and Iran were involved in the development of weapons of mass destruction in Libya, a Japanese news report said.

Many North Korean engineers had stayed in Libya for years to develop missiles, the conservative Sankei Shimbun reported, citing an unnamed source close to the matter, adding that Iran also had about 100 military-related contracts with the country.

The newspaper said Libya had signed an agreement under which it would pay for North Korean and Iranian engineers to provide technical assistance to develop weapons of mass destruction. [...]

Iran to launch satellite with own rocket within 18 months

TEHRAN (AFP) Jan 05, 2004

Iran's defence minister said Monday that the Islamic republic would put its own satellite into orbit with an Iranian-made launch system within 18 months, the official news agency IRNA reported. [...]

The minister did not say what type of satellite would be launched. [...]

Israel lists 28 outposts for removal

www.chinaview.cn 2004-01-06 19:17:36

JERUSALEM, Jan. 6 (Xinhuanet) -- The Israeli government has drawn up a list of 28 unauthorized West Bank outposts it plans to remove as part of Israel's commitment to a US-backed peace plan, security officials said Tuesday.

Under pressure from the United States to remove outposts as part of an initial phase of the roadmap peace plan, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has signed orders in recent days to evacuate six of the outposts.

The 28 outposts on the list include 18 occupied outposts housing some 400 settlers. The 10 remaining outposts consist of unoccupied structures.

Palestinian minister calls Sharon's unilateral plan "failure"

www.chinaview.cn 2004-01-06 18:28:41

GAZA, Jan. 6 (Xinhuanet) -- Palestinian Labor Minister Ghassan Al-Khatib on Tuesday described Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's unilateral plan as a "failure" and an attempt to reinstate Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Al-Khatib made the remarks in response to Sharon's speech late on Monday that he is determined to implement his unilateral steps of "disengagement" with Palestinians.

"Sharon's plan is a failure because unilateral steps against Palestinians could never achieve security or stability in Israel but only serve the occupation, which is the source of all conflicts and insecurity between Israel and the Palestinians," Al-Khatib said.

He noted that Sharon's plan is based on the continuation of construction of a separation wall and the expansion of Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories.

Asked about Sharon's announced intention to evacuate settlements and allow Palestinians to establish a state, the Palestinian minister said Sharon made such statements to mislead international public opinions and cover up the "continuous Israeli massacres" carried out in the Palestinian territories.

China, The United Nations And Palestine

Helena Cobban Al-Hayat 2004/01/5

China is the home of one in every five of the people alive in the world today. What role will this massive, rapidly industrializing country play in the conduct of world affairs in the century ahead?

This was the big question on my mind when I set out for my first visit ever to this country. I was coming in order to take part in one of the UN's regular "Meetings on the Question of Palestine." I was interested to see how the Palestinian-Israeli issue would look from this far eastern end of the Asian landmass-but also, to see how world affairs in general would look from the viewpoint of the world's biggest potential challenger to the arbitrariness of U.S. power.

[...] Certainly, from my own perspective, living and working as I do mainly inside the United States, it is often easy to feel almost overwhelmed at the huge weight of pro-Israeli opinion (whether pro-Likud or pro-Labor) inside the U.S. So it is useful to go outside the country and get back in touch with officials, specialists, and ordinary people from other countries-especially those that, like China, have a weighty role inside the United Nations.

[...] From China, one gets a particular and significant view of the role of the U.S. in today's world affairs. It is interesting to watch the Chinese as they are almost visibly preparing themselves to assume an increasingly strong role in global leadership.

U.S. Holds Key to Relations

TEHRAN (Mehr News Agency) -- Hasan Rowhani, the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), said on Monday that relations between Iran and the United States are complicated, adding that the key to resolving this issue is in the hands of the U.S. government. Speaking with a CNN reporter in the quake-stricken city of Bam, Rowhani said that when a nation is faced with a tragedy, other nations rise to their support and show solidarity, noting, “We cannot but expect this.”

He said that alongside the field hospital built by the U.S. for the quake-stricken people of Bam, Ukraine has also built a very large hospital while the Red Cross is building another. Rowhani stressed that U.S. officials themselves have declared that the action is not political but humanitarian, adding that high-ranking Iranian officials and the Iranian nation expressed sympathy at the time of the September 11 attacks on the U.S.

[...] “However, the political problems between Iran and the U.S. are very complicated and intricate. We believe the key to these issues is in the hands of the United States. The U.S. can resolve the issues and take practical and positive steps in this regard,” the secretary said.

He pointed to the continued presence of members of the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) in U.S.-occupied Iraq as one matter the United States could resolve.

Rowhani said that the MKO members are criminals and murderers, adding that the U.S. is aware that the members of the group are terrorists. He stressed that handing over MKO members to the government of Iran, which is their country of origin, would be a positive move on the part of the U.S.

Iran, Egypt Looking to the Future

– Iran and Egypt formally cut off diplomatic relations two decades ago. However, Tehran-Cairo ties have recently entered a new phase.

The remarks of Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Maher in interviews with the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) and Iran’s Central News Bureau on Sunday, January 4 are clear proof of this.

US military releases three Reuters staff in Iraq

Tue Jan 6, 1:49 AM ET

BAGHDAD (AFP) - The US military has released three Iraqis working for Reuters and one employed by the US network NBC after detaining them last week following the downing of a US helicopter in Fallujah.

Reuters described its team -- Baghdad-based cameraman Salem Uraiby and a Fallujah-based freelance cameraman and driver -- as shaken and exhausted after their three-day detention which ended Monday.

The news agency confirmed an NBC employee had been released alongside its staff.

An OH-58 Delta Kiowa reconnaissance aircraft was brought down by rebels on the outskirts of the restive western town Friday afternoon as it assisted a US military raid on the outskirts of the volatile town.

Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, the coalition's deputy director of operations, told reporters Friday five people wearing black vests marked "press" pulled up at the scene of the crash and began firing rocket-propelled grenades, adding that they were chased by US troops, who captured four of them.

Reuters later said three of its employees had been detained by US troops at the crash site and had earlier been shot at by US soldiers.

U.S. Talks Iraq Guerrilla Tactics With AP

By JIM KRANE, Associated Press Writer
Mon Jan 5, 3:26 PM ET

CAMP ANACONDA, Iraq - Iraqi guerrillas blasting U.S. military convoys with improvised bombs hidden at roadsides may have learned tactics by talking to Chechen rebels and Taliban and al-Qaida fighters in Afghanistan, a U.S. Army intelligence officer told The Associated Press.

Iraqi rebels have been communicating with such outsiders through e-mail, telephone and personal visits, said Maj. Thomas Sirois, chief intelligence officer of the Army's 3rd Corps Support Command, which occupies this sprawling base north of Baghdad. He declined to identify the types of communication American intelligence officers have intercepted. [...]

Army psych unit tries to persuade Iraqi insurgents fight is over

JASON KEYSER, Associated Press Writer
Associated Press
Monday, January 5, 2004

TIKRIT, Iraq (AP) -- At an open-air market in Saddam Hussein's hometown, an American soldier wades into a mistrustful crowd and hands out flyers seeking information on the fallen dictator's fugitive deputy - a display meant to demoralize insurgents. One man tears it up with a menacing smile.

At the same time, soldiers from the U.S. Army's Psychological Operations unit are trying with limited success to get fellow soldiers to erase threatening messages painted on battle gear and ease their treatment of Iraqi residents during nighttime raids. [...]

"In the worst case scenario we want Iraqis to see us as a necessary evil. In the best case, we are a solution," said Sgt. Ervin Willis, from the Army's 362nd Psychological Operations Company, which supports the 4th Infantry Division in Tikrit.

Willis, a 35-year-old Arabic speaker, is one of dozens of "psyop" soldiers trying to bolster America's image across Iraq, partly by talking with commanders about how soldiers can minimize the anger left in the wake of raids.

One lesson Willis has taken back to soldiers heading out on nighttime operations is to show more respect for cultural values while searching homes for weapons and suspects, in particular, to respect women's privacy by allowing them to gather in a separate room.

"Women have begged soldiers not to come into their rooms," Willis said. "And the soldiers think, 'Oh, they're hiding something.' No man, they're just in their night clothes."

The unit has also used loudspeakers to broadcast warnings that soldiers were entering homes.

"It worked. They didn't have to knock down doors," said Willis' partner, Sgt. Antonio Carrizales, 39. [...]

They've also explained to soldiers during interrogations of residents that when people praise Saddam, often that's just an expression of anger toward U.S. forces or nostalgia for a past when they had working electricity and jobs. [...]

Comment: If US forces were indeed helping Iraqis, there would be no need for a "psyop" unit to try and change the average Iraqi's perception of American soldiers. It is rather depressing that a special team is required to explain to the rest of the American soldiers how to treat Iraqis with dignity and respect. It should be quite obvious by now that there were no "surgical strikes" that minimized "collateral damage". When US forces invaded Iraq, they unleashed a bloody hell upon the Iraqi people. What are residents to think when a foreign military enters their country, kills entire families, orphans and children, maims thousands, arrests and detains innocent people, destroys the electrical grid, razes farmland, invades private residences in the middle of the night, and then repeatedly announces to the world that the country has been "liberated"?!

Army Trying to Keep Troops From Leaving

By ROBERT BURNS
The Associated Press
Monday, January 5, 2004; 9:21 PM

WASHINGTON - About 7,000 U.S. soldiers in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan who were planning to retire or otherwise leave the service in the next few months are getting new marching orders: Stay put.

The Army is expanding what it calls a "stop loss" order to keep soldiers in uniform - even those who have met their contractual service obligation or are scheduled to retire - during a rotation of tens of thousands of troops that begins this month and is scheduled to finish in May.

Col. Elton Manske, chief of the Army's enlisted division, said Monday that the move was deemed necessary to maintain the cohesion and combat effectiveness of units now operating in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He did not explain why the Army cannot manage the readiness of its forces in Iraq and Afghanistan without forcing soldiers to stay in the service beyond their scheduled retirement or enlistment period. Critics say it is because the Army has too few soldiers and too many overseas commitments. [...]

Comment: Despite Rumsfeld's comments about a leaner and meaner military, it seems the draft will have to be reinstituted if the imperialist US is to continue its quest for total domination of the world - or even just the Middle East.

Injured soldier sobered in combat

By Hoa Nguyen
Greenwich Time Staff Writer
January 3, 2004

Somewhere between parachuting into Iraq during a hailstorm, surviving night ambushes, losing a best friend to such an attack and injuring himself in a motor vehicle accident, Peter May had enough of war.

"Forget this gung-ho stuff, let's just get out of here," the 22-year-old Greenwich resident said, recounting a conversation he and fellow soldiers had while stationed in Iraq.

"I'm out of there and I'm in one piece, so I guess I did that," May said yesterday from his Greenwich home, where he is recuperating from the Humvee accident, which broke his right foot, gouged him in several places and damaged nerve endings in both feet.

The injuries took him out of the combat he said he once craved.

"I thought it'd be kind of enjoyable," May said. "War, Iraq -- this is going to be awesome. Not really." [...]

Kurdish Region in Northern Iraq Will Get to Keep Special Status

By STEVEN R. WEISMAN
New York Times

WASHINGTON, Jan. 4 - The Bush administration has decided to let the Kurdish region remain semi-autonomous as part of a newly sovereign Iraq despite warnings from Iraq's neighbors and many Iraqis not to divide the country into ethnic states, American and Iraqi officials say. [...]

The issue of whether Iraq is to be divided into ethnic states in a federation-style government is of great significance both inside the country and throughout the Middle East, where fears are widespread that dividing Iraq along ethnic or sectarian lines could eventually break the country up and spread turmoil in the region. [...]

EU Force to Investigate Letter Bombs

EU anti-terrorism officials plan to set up a joint force to investigate a series of letter bomb attacks on senior politicians. On Monday, two bombs exploded at offices in Belgium and the UK, though no one was hurt.

Italy to head anarchism task force

Italy's interior ministry has announced the creation of a European task force to combat what it called "anarchist insurrection". The announcement comes as security concerns mount over a letter bomb campaign against EU leaders, apparently launched from Italy. On Monday, two letters sent to European parliamentarians exploded without causing injury, one in Brussels, one in Manchester, England. A third package was intercepted, also in Brussels. More packages sent to the European parliament are under investigation. All the packages were apparently sent from the Italian city of Bologna. A series of letters bombs sent late last month to European officials, including European Commission President Romano Prodi, also apparently came from Bologna. Links between the attacks and Italian anarchist groups are being investigated.

Phony bombs keep Montreal police hopping

Globe and Mail Update

Montreal — Hundreds of people were evacuated from east-end homes, businesses and community centres on Monday after six suspicious packages were found near condominium construction sites.

[...] A group identifying itself as the Comité antigentrification sent an e-mail to several media outlets claiming responsibility.

False Alarm Shuts Down Concourses at Airport

Monday, January 05, 2004

PORTLAND, Ore.  — Airport X-ray screeners mistook a metal cylinder in a man's luggage for a pipe bomb, prompting a shutdown Monday of three concourses at Portland International Airport, officials said. [...]

Gold in Euros and Yen 2

Adam Hamilton
December 26, 2003

The awesome gold rally of 2003 doesn't quite look the same when viewed through the lenses of other major currencies. Americans need to realize this.

[...] Now European investors, when they aren’t writing me charming e-mails, are seeing a vastly different gold picture. The blue euro-gold line above and its white 200dma betray a fact that is startling to most American investors. There is no gold bull in Europe! Gold was trading between E325 and E350 two years ago and it is trading in this exact same tired range today! What gold bull indeed!

Why does euro gold look like this? Because of the plunging US dollar. The international gold market is largely denominated in dollars, although that will almost certainly change if dollar weakness persists for more than a few more years. But today, gold is effectively priced first in US dollars and then the USD/local-currency exchange rate is applied to compute the prevailing local-currency gold price.

Hollinger feud grows as Black skips payment

By PAUL WALDIE and RICHARD BLACKWELL
From Tuesday's Globe and Mail

A bitter feud between Hollinger International Inc. and Conrad Black escalated after Lord Black skipped the first instalment of $7.2-million (U.S.) he has agreed to repay the company, prompting a demand that the payment be made within two weeks.

He was to start repaying what the company said were unauthorized fees as part of a deal he reached with Hollinger International in November when he stepped down as chief executive officer.

However, he skipped the initial $850,000 instalment due on Dec. 31. Lord Black said through a spokesman that he has not finished his own inquiry into the fees and whether the company's directors authorized them. He is "working with the company's special committee to answer that question," his spokesman said on the weekend.

Yesterday, Richard Breeden, a former chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission who is advising the special committee, rejected that suggestion and said Lord Black must repay the money. The repayment agreement is "fully binding and enforceable," Mr. Breeden said.

He added that "there is not any doubt whatsoever" that the fees were not authorized "and the issue is not the subject of further review, inquiry or negotiation."

Sudanese govt., rebels agree on wealth sharing

www.chinaview.cn 2004-01-06 05:36:40

NAIROBI, Jan. 5 (Xinhuanet) -- The Sudanese government and southern rebels on Monday agreed on details of wealth sharing when the 20-year civil war ends, officials at the peace talks between the two sides said.

'Twelve die' in Afghanistan blast

[...] Many of the victims were Afghan women and children, an army spokesman in Kandahar, General Abdul Wasi, told Reuters news agency. [...]

CIA-paid spies arrested in Iran: report

TEHRAN, Jan 6 (AFP) - A number of Iranians accused of spying for the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and sending information over the Internet have been arrested, a top justice official was quoted as saying Tuesday. [...]

Waihopai Spybase Protest

The public face of New Zealand’s role as an American ally is the NZ military presence in both Iraq and Afghanistan. But New Zealand’s most significant contribution to those wars, and any other American wars, is the Waihopai spybase.

Waihopai is controlled by the US, with New Zealand (including Parliament) having little or no idea what goes on there (let alone any control). [...]

Whopper: Laura Bush

The first lady lies in order to make the president look ... stupid?

Immigration changes on horizon

Bush expected to seek guest-worker program

By Michael Riley
Denver Post Staff Writer

President Bush is expected to propose this week a major re-engineering of the country's immigration laws, laying out the welcome mat for potentially hundreds of thousands of low-skilled workers who, though they already play a major role in the economy, now find no legal home in the United States.

Many details of the proposal are still unknown, but the announcement could set the stage for a bitter and protracted political and social battle and incense conservative elements of the Republican Party in an election year. [...]

Comment: We are not anti-immigration, but with Bush pushing this plan now, when so many US citizens are already unemployed, it is an obvious sign that he plans on completely wrecking the economy. The "bomb" just may be set to go off after the "election".

Bush-Hitler ads draw fire

From correspondents in Washington
January 06, 2004

TWO political advertisements comparing US President George W. Bush to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler have drawn outrage from Bush's Republican Party and anger from prominent Jewish groups.

The two ads were among 1500 entries in a contest affiliated with the left-of-centre, Internet-based advocacy group MoveOn.org, with the winner to be announced on January 12, but they are not among the 15 finalists. [...]

U.S. offers tips on avoiding overtime pay

WASHINGTON - The Labor Department is giving employers tips on how to avoid paying overtime to some of the 1.3 million low-income workers who would become eligible under new rules expected to be finalized early this year. [...]

Another January, another Congressional pay raise

A happy new year?  For US senators and representatives, it certainly is: As of Jan. 1, their salary is $158,100 -- the highest ever and an increase of $3,400 over the amount they collected last year. [...]

National Archives and Records Administration Plans New Restrictions on Information

DIANA'S LETTER: IT WAS CHARLES

By Jane Kerr, Royal Reporter
EXCLUSIVE
Jan 6 2004

PRINCE Charles is the person Princess Diana claimed in a letter wanted to kill her, the Mirror sensationally reveals today.

Before she died in a car crash, Diana wrote: "My husband is planning 'an accident' in my car, brake failure and serious head injury...to make the path clear for him to marry."

She gave the note to butler Paul Burrell who revealed its existence in the Mirror last year. Charles's name was blanked out. Burrell has been asked to hand the document to the coroner who today opens the inquest into Diana's death.

Burrell said: "It has fulfilled its purpose. I wanted to give force to the argument that an inquest must be held."

HERE COMES THE SUN

A solar coronal mass ejection (CME) is en route to Earth today. It was hurled into space by an M7-class explosion near sunspot 536 on January 5th at 0345 UT. Sky watchers should be alert for possible auroras on January 6th or 7th when the CME sweeps past our planet.

Police hunt meteorite fragments

From correspondents in Madrid
The Australian
January 06, 2004

SPANISH police were combing parts of the country today after thousands of people reported seeing a "ball of fire" in the sky, prompting astronomers to speculate fragments had broken off a large meteorite.

Residents from areas as far apart as the northwestern coast and the south east Mediterranean coast had telephoned police to report seeing "a big ball of fire" roaring across the skies yesterday evening.

Experts believe the meteorite discharged some fragments into the atmosphere as it hurtled through space.

Police were concentrating their search for the fragments around Leon and Palencia in central Spain, the area above which the meteorite is believed to have disintegrated falling over as many as seven regions in an arc running from the northwest to the south east of central Spain.

Jose Angel Docobo, director of Spain's astronomy observatory in the western city of Santiago de Compostela, said the debris could have come from a meteorite weighing from 50 to 100 tonnes before disintegration. His observatory carried out a study eight years ago on a similar incident when a meteorite weighing an estimated 10 tonnes dropped debris over Spain.

Docobo believes the largest of the fragments, thought to be strewn over a radius of 100km, fell near the town of Molina de Aragon, near Guadalajara, 54km north of Madrid.

Space Station Experiencing Drop In Air Pressure

NASA Probing Possible Causes Of Leak

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- The International Space Station is experiencing a slow, steady drop in air pressure, and American and Russian flight controllers are investigating possible causes of the leak. [...]

Huge star, black hole dance in space

Associated Press

Atlanta — Gas from a massive star is being stripped by a black hole and turned into high-speed jets that streak into space slightly less than the speed of light, according to a new study of a bizarre double-star object.

Astronomers have been fascinated and puzzled by the object, called SS 433, for 26 years because it is expelling streams of particles at more than 772,000 kilometres a second — a quarter of the speed of light. That's far faster than any velocities seen near other objects in the Milky Way.

SS 433 is a pair of stars which orbit a bright disk 16,000 light years away in the constellation Aquila. Light from the central disc is dimmed every 13 days, suggesting a star was orbiting the disc and briefly blocking the light. Glare from the central disc prevented astronomers from analyzing the eclipsing star.

[...] Douglas Gies of Georgia State said the eclipsing star is a supergiant that may be 11 times more massive than the sun. He said the star is whipping around a black hole in the center of the disc and the gravitational force from the black hole is stripping gas away from the start at a rate that would consume the entire sun in just 10,000 years.

"The black hole is unable to digest all of the gas and it is then ejected at incredible speeds into these jets," Dr. Gies said.

Scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology analyzed the jets using an X-ray telescope. They found gas was expelled from the disc around the black hole at a temperature of more than 100 million degrees.

Strong earthquake jolts Japan

A RELATIVELY strong earthquake measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale struck southwestern Japan Tuesday, the meteorological agency said.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries. [...]

Manitoba shivers under extreme chill

Last Updated Mon, 05 Jan 2004 21:44:42

WINNIPEG - Manitobans came close to setting a new provincial record for energy consumption on Monday as they try to ward off the extreme cold that has descended on the province.

Joe Judge keeps an eye out for his bus from a Winnipeg bus shelter (CP PHOTO)

Environment Canada issued a wind chill warning for most of the province after frigid arctic air moved in, accompanied by winds of 15 to 20 km/h. That will produce wind chills of –40 to –45 for much of Monday.

For sale: prehistoric French cave, one million euros

PERIGUEUX, France (AFP) - Looking to buy in southwest France? A retired farmer in the Dordogne region is selling his prehistoric cave adorned with drawings for just one million euros (1.3 million dollars). [...]

TRIO OF UFOS SPEND XMAS IN CUMBRIA

Published in The News and Star on 05/01/2004
By Emma McGordon and Fiona MacRae

THREE UFOs have been spotted over West Cumbria during the festive season.

Revellers in Workington and Whitehaven have reported seeing shining balls and spooky triangles in the night sky.

Daley Rogers, of Hensingham, was left spellbound by a red object hovering overhead as he returned from Workington last week.

He said: "We were coming home and we could see something in the sky. It just seemed to stay there and when we got to the Hill Crest area there was a group of kids watching it. It seemed to drop something that was white and bright and exploded. Then, it took off. I don’t know where it went."

Daley, 23, admits that although he wasn’t frightened by the ball-shaped object, he’s found it hard to get it out of his mind. "I have been thinking about it a lot," he said.

The 23-year-old is in good company, with at least six other people witnessing strange goings-on in the West Cumbrian skies over Christmas.

UFO expert Sharon Larkin, of Broughton Cross, near Cockermouth, said: "We have had sightings of a triangular-shaped craft and an orange ball over the Workington area.

"The triangle was going over the Stainburn bypass at around 10.30pm on a Sunday at the end of December. Before that it was sitting over Clifton. Then it headed off towards the Lake District.

"The orange ball was spotted over Broughton Moor last week."

Sharon, who logs UFO sightings in Cumbria and South West Scotland, says the area has a higher than average number of unexplained sightings. These include a "flying light" over Whitehaven Golf Club in September.

Sharon believes that around 20 per cent of the reported sightings are the real deal, with the rest being aircraft, satellites, cloud formations or hoaxes. Extra-terrestrial visitors are attracted to Cumbria because of the volume of water the county’s lakes, the peace and tranquility of the area and the nuclear activity at Sellafield, she says.

"Different areas in the country have different numbers of sightings," she said. "The night sky in Cumbria is particularly alive.

"You do get some sightings in the summer but from September onwards, the skies are full of lights. With it getting darker earlier, people are more aware of what is going on over their heads."

Today in Palestine! ~ Headlines Jan 05, 2004

Jewish Settlers Kill a Palestinian, Wound Two as IOF Continues Rampaging Through West Bank

A Jewish settler ‘s car ran over three Palestinian citizens today near a checkpoint in Ramallah, killing one and wounding the other two, as IOF invaded the city of Tulkarem and wounded 13 Palestinian citizens in Hebron and Budrus Village.

IOF Kills Palestinian Boy, Wounds and Arrests Several Others in West Bank

The Israeli occupying forces, as part of its major military offensive on the West Bank cities, particularly the city of Nablus, shot and killed a Palestinian child and wounded several other citizens, in addition to wounding and arresting others in separate incidents...

Curfew still imposed on Nablus

Nablus - Zionist army command was still imposing a tight curfew on the West Bank city of Nablus for the 11th day running and re-imposed it on the nearby Balata refugee camp after less than 24 hours of lifting it.

Palestinians refuse aid because of anti-terrorism pledge

Scores of Palestinian aid groups have refused to accept money from the U.S. government to protest a requirement that they sign a pledge guaranteeing the money would not be used for terrorism, activists said Monday.

Arab ministers: Fighting occupation isn't terror

In a final declaration, the group of 19 ministers from the Arab League said they strongly condemned terrorism in any form. However, they stressed "the need to make a distinction between terrorism and peoples' right to fight occupation and foreign aggression."

Israel to reject the Hague court's authority on fence

Israel will inform the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague that it rejects its authority to deliberate on the building of the separation fence, senior political sources in Jerusalem said Sunday.

Violence ruining prospects of summit with Sharon: Palestinian PM

"The raids, the aggressions and the incursions continue, and I do not think that in such a context the meeting (with Sharon) will bring the results that we hope for," Qorei said after a meeting of his cabinet in Gaza City.

Shaath calls on EU to launch dual initiative for Mideast peace

Palestinian foreign minister Nabil Shaath called on the European Union to spearhead "two initiatives" to help bring peace to the Middle East, after meeting his French counterpart Dominique de Villepin.

Father of protester wounded by IDF fire says troops lied

Members of Anarchists Against the Fence, the group that organized the protest, presented testimonies and evidence at a press conference Monday that appear to contradict some of the IDF findings released in recent days.

Israel's Sharon faces uproar in Likud party

His initiative to dismantle some isolated Jewish enclaves while retaining larger settlement blocs behind a controversial West Bank barrier has split the Likud, whose members range from the moderate to ultra right.

Jordan says will not be 'substitute homeland' for Palestinians

Jordan on Monday rejected calls by some hard-line Israeli politicians to make the kingdom a homeland for West Bank Palestinians. Prime Minister Faisal al-Fayez told two visiting Members of Knesset that Jordan "rejects any Israeli schemes which seek to expel Palestinians...

Extremists dedicate Kahane seminary in illegal outpost

Right-wing extremists on Sunday held a gala ceremony at an illegal outpost, underlining conflicting pressures on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon - his obligation to remove the tiny settlements despite stiff opposition from his own supporters.

Israel warned of apartheid boycott

The barrier deviates from the West Bank boundary and in places cuts deep into occupied land to enclose Jewish settlements. "There is a danger that we will be exposed to an international boycott as was the case before the fall of the regime in South Africa," Mr Lapid told colleagues at a cabinet meeting...

Israeli colonel resigns over army's 'immoral' actions

"A country in which the army disperses demonstrations of its citizens with live gunfire is not a democratic country," Lt-Col Ronel wrote. "An army that educates its soldiers that such a crime is conceivable has lost all its borders."

Palestinian Victim Sues Israeli Government for Mistakenly Bombing His Car While Inside

Aymen Shamia, a civil engineer, filed a suit against the Israeli government, due to injuries his wife sustained during the botched assassination attempt on the life of a commander of the military wing of Hamas last Tuesday where a missile strayed the targeted car and hit his car instead.

Settlers to be notified 15 days before outpost removal

Settlers will be notified 15 days before the scheduled removal of illegal outposts so they can petition the authorities against the evacuations, according to an agreement reached at a High Court of Justice hearing on Monday.

Zionist forces fail in arresting wanted activists

Inhabitants said that the Aqsa Martyrs commandos managed to retreat from the area without any casualty suffered. Tens of armored vehicles rumbled into the city firing in all directions to cover up for the withdrawal of the Zionist death squads.

Support for Sharon falls

The separation fence may be the factor preserving Sharon's support in the political center. The public wants the separation fence, and is prepared to give Sharon a base to stay in office and build it. 60% of respondents support building the fence along its current route, 23% want the fence to be built along a different route, and only 9% want it demolished.

Palestinians can barely move inside Gaza

Conflicts with Israeli settlers and troops is making travel within the Gaza Strip nearly impossible for Palestinians, residents say. While Palestinians have long considered traveling outside Gaza nearly impossible, just moving around inside the densely populated area has recently become nearly as tedious.

Israeli army to become 'less lethal'

The changes are to include a move to rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas, and the army is also weighing up the introduction of a new technology that disperses demonstrators by producing "noise waves" of such intensity protesters cannot remain in place.

PALESTINIANS DEMAND U.S. RELEASE OF ABU ABBAS

Palestinian sources said several insurgency leaders have called on the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to demand the release of Mohammed Abbas, known as Abu Abbas. Abu Abbas, head of the Palestinian Liberation Front, was captured by U.S. forces in Iraq in mid-2003.

Pressure grows on Sharon from his own party

Although the Palestinians would end up with far less territory under Mr Sharon's plan than the road map, the concept is still anathema to many rightwing activists and settler leaders. Some Likud members have gone so far as to propose expelling any of the party's members of parliament who vote for a Palestinian state.

Breeding grounds for hatred

We came across a convoy of 10 trucks driven by Israeli Arabs, who were bringing food to Nablus. A few kilometers before Nablus they were suddenly stopped, and told that entry into the city was forbidden. From the opposite direction came 10 trucks from Nablus in order to receive the food. They were stopped about 200 meters from the convoy coming from Israel. The local commander prohibited the transfer of the food.

Egypt's Maher tells Iran that Camp David issue "in the past"

The two countries severed diplomatic ties in 1980, a year after Cairo gave asylum to the deposed shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and signed peace with Israel. Relations were particularly bad while Egypt supported Iraq during its 1980-1988 war with Iran. However, trade and other ties have been improving since the 1990s.


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