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Ivory Coast: Bloodbath Fear as Gbagbo Forces Prepare for Last Stand

Pro-Gbagbo militiamen
© Getty Images
Pro-Gbagbo militiamen patrol in the empty streets of Abidjan
Fears were mounting of major atrocities in Ivory Coast last night as forces loyal to the Laurent Gbagbo prepared for a last stand in Abidjan.

After days of increasingly virulent anti-colonialist rhetoric from the state-controlled broadcasters, France deployed its troops to rescue French nationals from attack by young and violent supporters of Mr Gbagbo.

The news that the 1,000 strong French force had intervened underlined fears that the four-month crisis in the world's leading cocoa producer, sparked by the sitting president Mr Gbagbo's refusal to accept his defeat in landmark elections, had entered its critical phase.

Troops under the command of president-elect Allasane Ouattara were said to be "at the gates" of Abidjan, Ivory Coast's commercial capital, which has descended into chaotic violence in recent days. Supporters of the presidential rivals have carved up the city into warring neighbourhoods with armed militia controlling the streets. Witnesses spoke of people being pulled from cars and burnt alive and residents complained of being marooned in their homes by the fighting.


Libya's Gadhafi Defiant After 2 Allies Resign

© Chris Helgren/Reuters
Scottish prosecutors say they've asked Britain's Foreign office to speak with Moussa Koussa about the Lockerbie bombing.
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has issued a defiant statement after two high-profile departures from his regime, and is calling on leaders of countries attacking his forces to resign.

The Libyan news agency said Thursday Gadhafi accused Western leaders of being "affected by power madness" and wanting to create another war between Muslims and Christians.

The Libyan government earlier confirmed the resignation of Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa, who had defected a day earlier. Ali Abdessalam Treki, a former foreign minister and UN General Assembly president, also announced his resignation on Thursday.

Libya said that Koussa had resigned due to health problems, and was not a sign the embattled regime is cracking at the highest levels. Koussa flew to England from Tunisia on Wednesday and the British government said he had resigned.

Koussa, a trusted Gadhafi adviser who has been blamed for some of Libya's brutality and credited for some of its diplomatic successes, has been privy to all the inner workings of the regime. His departure could open the door for some hard intelligence, though Britain refused to offer him immunity from prosecution.

Eye 2

Israel may build artificial island off Gaza Strip coast

© Getty Images
Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu Israel's prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu is said to approve of the £6.2bn proposals.
Environmentalists says plans, which also include hotels and a marina, are 'complete madness' and warn public to be sceptical

Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu Israel's prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu is said to approve of the £6.2bn proposals.

Israel is considering plans to build an artificial island off the coast of the Gaza Strip to house a sea and airport, and encourage tourism in the area.

Yisrael Katz, the Israeli minister for transport, said the plan had been under consideration for many months and had been encouraged by Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister. He said it would also relieve Israel of the obligation to be the transit point for goods into the enclave.

The Gaza Strip has no sea port and its airport was destroyed. The area is the sixth most crowded place in the world. Since 2007, Israel, which controls the majority of Gaza's borders has only allowed limited kinds of goods into Gaza and allowed very few exports out. Gazans have got round restrictions by smuggling goods from Egypt through tunnels.

Katz said he expected the island would be under international control for at least 100 years to ensure Israel's security. "We have built models and there are many entrepreneurs who are interested and prepared to invest billions and make money," he told Israel Army Radio

Star of David

The United States of Israel?

Sarah Palin is just the latest GOP politician to visit to Israel after a string of possible Presidential hopefuls to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in the past few months. Why is establishing your credentials in Tel Aviv before running for US president as vital as stumping in New Hampshire?

Bizarro Earth

BP Admits Loss of 13,000 Oil Spill Claimants' Details

BP has admitted to losing a laptop that contained the details of thousands of people who had made claims following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill incident.

The firm said that the laptop, which was password-protected, was lost during "business-related travel" and had contained personal information of about 13,000 people.

The personal details included names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth and social security numbers, all of which were stored in a spreadsheet, according to BP.

The company added that the loss of the laptop had been immediately reported to the police and its own security teams, but stressed that there was no evidence that it had been accessed or compromised.

Star of David

'Israel, criterion for US intervention'

© unknown
Israeli advocates in the US dictate to the American government which freedom movements in the world to support and which ones to ignore, says a political analyst.

"Israeli lobby in America is definitely talking to Washington and helping the decisions about which populations are worth of the international intervention and which ones are not and which ones they are going to ignore," Sarah Marusek made the comments in an interview with Press TV on Tuesday.

She reiterated that double standards can clearly be seen if one looks at the US position on Libya and compares it with what is going on in Bahrain and Yemen.

"It is absolutely ridiculous that this intervention can happen in Libya and at the same time not even a discussion happens about the ridiculous oppression that was happening and continues to happen in Bahrain as well as Yemen," said Marusek.


Iraq: Death toll reaches 57 in strike against Iraq officials that US Embassy calls 'horrific'

© The Associated Press / Karim Kadim
An Iraqi soldier inspects the scene of a rocket attack in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, March, 29, 2011. The rocket landed near a small hotel across the Tigris River from the heavily fortified area that houses government offices and foreign embassies.
The death toll for a grisly hostage situation at a government building in northern Iraq continued to rise Wednesday as grieving families buried the victims and Iraqi officials questioned how it could have happened.

Gunmen wearing explosives belts under military uniforms charged into the provincial council building in Tikrit, north of Baghdad, Tuesday afternoon, shooting hostages execution-style, and spraying bullets and grenades throughout the building during the five-hour standoff.

Dr. Raied Ibrahim, the health director for Salahuddin province where the attack took place, said 57 people have so far been counted dead and 98 wounded.

Funeral processions on Wednesday crisscrossed the nearby city of Samarra, where officials said many of the victims lived, while those from Tikrit, 80 miles (130 kilometres) north of Baghdad, had mostly already been buried.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said he would launch an investigation into how the government compound could so easily be overrun by insurgents.

"Such crimes will not deter our people and security forces from chasing and eliminating them," al-Maliki said. "The criminals who planned and carried out this crime will not escape punishment."


Propaganda! Threats Claim Nuclear Bombs Hidden All Over U.S.

© unknown
The threats came in the mail and to date, there have been 25 letters that warn of nuclear bombs destroying America.

People who got them called the FBI and CBS 2′s Kristyn Hartman learned, the Bureau's Chicago office is leading the investigation.

FBI Special Agent Andre Zavala said, "Yes, they alarmed a lot of people."

Attorney Tracy Rizzo was alarmed. A number of days ago, an envelope, with a Chicago postmark and a hand-written address to her private investigations firm, came in the mail.

Comment: A great number of comments on this article showing a healthy number of American's see this propaganda stunt for what it is:
I got one! And I'm also waiting for that Nigerian to transfer that darn $100 million to my bank account. And my inheritance from that poor old fella in Wazirastan. And oh, yeah, that balanced budget... - Pat
Well I guess we're supposed to be shaking in our boots and begging the government to protect us from the bogeymen. (Never let a crisis - real, faked or imagined - go to waste.) - Bob W
Is this Onion News? - PaulG


Nightly News stays mum on GE's $0 tax bill

© Matt Sayles/AP
As the New Yorker's former press critic, A.J. Liebling, famously said, "Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one." Perhaps that quotation is framed somewhere in a boardroom at the General Electric Corp., which owns NBC News.

In spite of robust profits of $14.2 billion worldwide, GE has calculated a corporate tax bill for 2010 that adds up to zero, via a creative series of tax referrals and revenue shifts. (This was, indeed, the second year running that the company - which has an enormous, and famously nimble, 975-employee tax division, led by former Treasury official John Samuels - paid nothing in U.S. taxes; indeed by claiming a series of losses and deductions, GE came up with a negative tax of 10.5 percent in the admittedly dismal business year of 2009, and realized a $1.5 billion "tax benefit.")

The curious thing about this year's tax story is that it turned up in many major news outlets, with one key exception: NBC News. As the Washington Post's Paul Farhi notes, the network's Nightly News broadcast, hosted by Brian Williams, has not mentioned anything about its corporate parent's resourceful accounting, even though the story has been in wide circulation in the business and general-interest press for nearly a week. "This was a straightforward news decision, the kind we make daily around here" network spokeswoman Lauren Kapp told the Post.

One press critic who begs to differ: Daily Show host Jon Stewart, who noted that the Nightly News found the time for a dispatch on the inclusion of slang expressions in the Oxford English Dictionary, such as "LOL" and "OMG." Of course, Comedy Central's corporate parent, Viacom, is also no slouch when it comes to tax strategy: Earlier this year it sold its struggling videogame unit Harmonix for $50 - so that it could claim a tax credit of $50 million.


Syria: Assad Sees Unrest "Plot," Unyielding on Emergency Law

President Bashar al-Assad defied calls on Wednesday to lift a decades-old emergency law and said Syria was the target of a foreign conspiracy to stir up protests in which more than 60 people have been killed.

Syrian president
© Reuters/Syrian State TV via Reuters TV
Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad addresses the parliament in Damascus
Speaking in public for the first time since the start of the unprecedented demonstrations, inspired by uprisings across the Arab world, Assad said he supported reform but offered no new commitment to change Syria's rigid, one-party political system.

"Implementing reforms is not a fad. When it just a reflection of a wave that the region is living, it is destructive," Assad, making clear he would not concede to pressure from mass protests which toppled other Arab leaders.

Ending emergency law, the main tool for suppressing dissent since it was imposed after the 1963 coup that elevated Assad's Baath Party to power, has been a central demand of protesters.

They also want political prisoners freed, and to know the fate of tens of thousands who disappeared in the 1980s.