Puppet MastersS

Star of David

Israel's President asks Netanyahu to form new coalition

© Agence France-Presse/Jim HollanderIsraeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu (L) is tasked by Israeli President Simon Peres to form the government, February 2, 2013
President Shimon Peres tasked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday with forming a new government after talks with parties elected to Israel's new parliament.

"I have decided to charge Benjamin Netanyahu with forming the government," Peres said at a press conference in Jerusalem, after 82 of the 120 members of the Knesset had declared in favour of the premier.

"I hope that this task will soon be completed," Peres said, as Netanyahu, who has 28 days to put together a coalition, stood beside him.

"Israel is in need of political and economic stability in order to be able to take necessary decisions on the serious subjects that are on the agenda," the president said. "These challenges are numerous, serious and urgent."

Netanyahu reaffirmed what he said after the election -- that his top priority was to "prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear arms."

He also repeated that he would seek to form the "largest government possible," and called on opposition parties to join it.

Formal coalition talks are to begin on Sunday.

Army radio said Netanyahu would meet late morning with Yair Lapid, whose centrist Yesh Atid party came second in the elections and who is expected to hold a key role in the new government.

It said he would then meet Naftali Bennett, whose far-right Jewish Home party is also expected to join the coalition.

Bizarro Earth

Mali hails "savior" Hollande, he says fight not over

© Reuters/Joe PenneyFrance's President Francois Hollande (2nd L) stands with Mali's interim president Dioncounda Traore before placing flowers in homage to deceased Malian soldiers at the Independence Plaza in Bamako, Mali February 2, 2013.
Timbuktu, Maili/Bamako - Cheering, grateful Malians mobbed French President Francois Hollande on Saturday as he visited French troops fighting Islamist jihadist rebels, and he pledged France would finish the job of restoring government control in the Sahel state.

In a one-day trip to Mali accompanied by his ministers for defense, foreign affairs and development, Hollande was hailed as a liberator in the ancient northern city of Timbuktu, which French and Malian forces retook from the rebels six days ago.

He also received a rapturous reception in the capital Bamako, where he said the Islamist fighters allied to al Qaeda had suffered heavy losses in a three-week-old French intervention that he ordered last month at Mali's request.

Although the insurgents have been driven from Mali's main northern towns, Hollande cautioned that the task of France's military operation in Mali, codenamed Serval (Wildcat) and involving 3,500 soldiers on the ground, was not yet over.

"There is still a whole part of the north that remains unconquered ... There are terrorist elements concentrated in some areas of the country, others who are dispersed. There are risks of terrorism. So, we have not yet finished our mission," he told a news conference at the French ambassador's residence.

He added France would withdraw its troops from Mali once the West African country had restored sovereignty over all its national territory and a U.N.-backed African military force, which is being deployed, could take over from the French.


Iran rolls out bold design for homemade fighter jets

Iran has presented its first domestically designed defense fighter-bomber jet with limited stealth capabilities. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stressed that the plane was designed for defense purposes, and will not be used for aggression.

Codenamed Qaher-313 ('Conqueror'), the jet is an advanced single-seat single-engine military plane. It is reportedly capable of engaging targets on the ground, as well as achieving air superiority in dogfights.

According to photos published by Fars news agency, the jet boasts impressive technical specifications, with a 'stealth' design similar to that of the US F-22 and Russian T-50. The large wingspan and inclined outward tail fins resembles the F-35, as well as the unusual-looking wings and modern seamless canopy. The jet may have been constructed using composite materials.

© www.kaskus.co.id

Brick Wall

Lake Erie correctional institution, Ohio private prison, faces concerns about 'unacceptable' conditions

Lake Erie Correctional Institution in Conneaut, Ohio
© AP Photo/Scott R. Galvin, FileIn a June 2005 file photo, razor wire lines the fences and main building of the Lake Erie Correctional Institution in Conneaut, Ohio. State audits have shown a deterioration in the environment inside the prison since Corrections Corporation of American took it over in 2012.
When a private prison corporation paid Ohio $72.7 million in 2011 to purchase one of the state's facilities, the company touted the deal as a "groundbreaking" move that would serve as a model for other states looking to cut costs.

But in the year since Corrections Corporation of America took over the 1,700-bed Lake Erie Correctional Institution, state audits have found patterns of inadequate staffing, delays in medical treatment and "unacceptable living conditions" inside the prison -- including inmates lacking access to running water and toilets. The state docked the company nearly $500,000 in pay because of the violations.

In addition, a major uptick in crime near the private prison has burdened the small town of Conneaut, Ohio, with police there making a series of recent arrests related to attempts to smuggle drugs and alcohol into the facility. Officers responded to 229 calls related to the prison last year, nearly four times as many as the previous five years combined, according to the city's crime data.

"We understand that it's a private entity now, and that it's for-profit, but nothing can come at the expense of the safety and security of our citizens," said Conneaut Councilman Neil LaRusch, who recently sent a letter to Ohio Gov. John Kasich's office requesting assistance with the crime problem. "With the city finances the way they are right now, I can't go put 20 more people on staff at the police department."

Star of David

Palestinians evicted from West Bank protest camp

© AFP Photo
Palestinians and activists were on Saturday forcefully removed from a new camp near a West Bank village, after a third attempt at the novel form of protest against Jewish settlement.

An AFP correspondent said the army used tear gas and violence to remove hundreds of people who had set up four temporary huts and three tents near Burin, south of Nablus in the northern West Bank.

The correspondent added that journalists were also forcefully removed from the site. He said the army made arrests, but was not aware of injuries.

A spokesman for the army was unaware of the eviction, but said there was "a violent and illegal riot taking place near Burin. Approximately 150 Palestinians were gathering and hurling rocks at IDF (Israel Defence Forces) soldiers, who are responding with riot dispersal means."


Retired Cardinal Roger Mahony claims he didn't know how to deal with sex abuse claims

© AFP PhotoCardinal Roger Mahony
A US Catholic cardinal stripped of his duties said Friday he didn't know how to handle sex abuse claims, as he had not learned about it at college - drawing withering criticism from victims.

Retired Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony wrote on his blog that he was not taught about child sexual abuse, a day after was relieved of all administrative and public duties" by the current archbishop of LA.

On Thursday the LA archdiocese also released files on more than 100 clerics, as required under a 2007 lawsuit deal over alleged sex abuse.

"Nothing in my own background or education equipped me to deal with this grave problem," Mahony wrote, in an open letter to LA Archbishop Jose Gomez, who succeeded Mahony in 2011.

Bizarro Earth

Defense Secretary Panetta: U.S. needs to keep up drone war to prevent terrorist attack

© AFP Photo
The United States will have to keep up an open-ended drone war against Al-Qaeda militants in Pakistan and elsewhere to prevent another terror attack on America, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said.

The assassination of Al-Qaeda figures in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia with unmanned, robotic aircraft has provoked widespread criticism from human rights groups and some US allies, but Panetta said the US campaign has been effective.

Asked if the CIA "targeted killings" should be curtailed in coming years, Panetta told AFP in an interview that there was still a need to continue the drone strikes more than a decade since the attacks of September 11, 2001.

"I think it depends on the nature of the threat that we're confronting. We are in a war. We're in a war on terrorism and we've been in that war since 9/11.


Ireland's bloody Sunday: A warning for Mali

French forces in Mali (file photo)
This week sees the anniversary of one of the worst massacres in modern Irish history, when British paratroopers murdered 14 unarmed civilians in cold blood.

On 30 January 1972, the British troops opened fire on a civil rights march in Derry City, Northern Ireland's second city after Belfast, in full glare of the international news media.

Half of the victims that day were teenagers, shot in the head or in the back by British snipers. Some of the fatally wounded were shot multiple times as they tried to crawl to safety. Others were cut down in a hail of bullets as they tended to those lying wounded, bleeding on the ground.

One iconic image from that horrific day shows a Catholic priest, Fr Edward Daly, holding up a bloodstained white cloth, pleading with the British soldiers to cease-fire as he helped carry a dying youth.


The Sandy Hook Tragedy: An Inquisitive Visit to Newtown, Connecticut

© Scott DeLarm
My partner and I became fed up with the mainstream media's depiction of what took place in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012.

So on January 20 we traveled there from our home in Ottawa, Canada in an effort to visit the sites and respectfully approach the locals.

Before we even got off the highway there was a display of dozens of American flags on the shoulder. There is a large tented memorial located just off the freeway. The tent had a sign on the outside, "Sandy Hook Memorial Never Forgotten."

© Scott DeLarm


"Suicide bomber" kills guard at U.S. Embassy in Turkey

© The Associated PressAn embassy security guard arrives at the Gate 2 of the US embassy just minutes after a suicide bomber had detonated an explosive device at the entrance of the U.S. Embassy in the Turkish capital, Ankara, Turkey, Friday, Feb. 1, 2013.
Ankara, Turkey - In the second deadly assault on a U.S. diplomatic post in five months, a suicide bomber struck the American Embassy in Ankara on Friday, killing a Turkish security guard in what the White House described as a terrorist attack.

Washington immediately warned Americans to stay away from all U.S. diplomatic facilities in Turkey and to be wary in large crowds.

Turkish officials said the bombing was linked to leftist domestic militants.

The attack drew condemnation from Turkey, the U.S., Britain and other nations and officials from both Turkey and the U.S. pledged to work together to fight terrorism.

"We strongly condemn what was a suicide attack against our embassy in Ankara, which took place at the embassy's outer security perimeter," said White House spokesman Jay Carney.

"A suicide bombing on the perimeter of an embassy is by definition an act of terror," he said. "It is a terrorist attack."

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said police believe the bomber was connected to a domestic leftist militant group. Carney, however, said the motive for the attack and who was behind it was not known.

A Turkish TV journalist was seriously wounded in the 1:15 p.m. blast in the Turkish capital, and two other guards had lighter wounds, officials said.

The state-run Anadolu Agency identified the bomber as Ecevit Sanli. It said the 40-year-old Turkish man was a member of the outlawed Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front, or DHKP-C, which has claimed responsibility for assassinations and bombings since the 1970s.

The group has been designated a terrorist organization by the United States but had been relatively quiet in recent years.