Monday, October 31, 2011

Sudan Students Stage Demonstrations Against Rising Prices

Students stage anti-government protest in east

Monday, 31 October 2011

Protests are rare in Sudan, but anger has been growing amid a severe economic crisis


Hundreds of students staged an anti-government rally in eastern Sudan on Sunday, protesting against poverty and rising food prices, witnesses said.

Protests are rare in the African country but anger has been building up over a severe economic crisis with spiraling food prices. Several small anti-government protests took place in the capital Khartoum in the past few weeks.

Hundreds of students took to the streets in the eastern city of Kassala late on Sunday, several witnesses told Reuters.

“They were chanting ‘people are hungry’ and ‘people want the overthrow of the government,” one witness said, declining to be identified.

There was no immediate comment from the government.

Kassala lies in an underdeveloped region near the border of Eritrea where anger has been simmering for a long time.

Opposition activists said a protest was held in Kassala two weeks ago when students initially demanded better study conditions. Since then anger has been building up over high inflation and a lack of economic development.

Last week, Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir visited Kassala to unveil government projects in the region.

Sudan has been struggling with an economic crisis since its former civil war foe South Sudan took away much of the oil production when it became independent in July.

The lack of oil revenues -- the dominant source of state income -- has driven up inflation as Sudan imports much of its food needs. The government is trying to diversify the economy but analysts say little has been achieved due to a U.S. trade embargo, corruption and lack of planning.

Stocks Slide on Worries Over European Debt Crisis,0,5065689.story

Stocks slide on worries over European debt, MF Global bankruptcy

The Dow Jones industrial average suffers its biggest one-day drop in four weeks, putting a damper on October's strong gains, as rising Italian government bond yields and the failure of another brokerage unnerve investors.

By Tom Petruno, Los Angeles Times
November 1, 2011

The stock market is beginning what is often its best two-month period of the year. But the bulls lost control on the last day of October.

Equities tumbled worldwide on Halloween, denting the month's powerful advance, as worries about Europe's debt crisis flared again and the bankruptcy of brokerage MF Global Holdings Inc. rattled Wall Street.

The dollar jumped as some investors sought the usual havens, and as Japan intervened in currency markets to try to beat back the yen from all-time highs.

The Dow Jones industrial average slumped 276.10 points, or 2.3%, to close at 11,955.01, the largest one-day drop in four weeks.

For October overall the blue-chip index rose 1,042 points, or 9.5%, as recession worries faded. It was the biggest monthly gain since October 2002.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 31.79 points, or 2.5%, to 1,253.30 for the day. The S&P jumped 10.8% for the month, its best gain in nearly two decades.

Trading volume was relatively moderate Monday, suggesting there was no mad rush for the exits, though selling accelerated near the closing bell.

Many analysts had warned at the end of last week that the market was overdue for a pullback after soaring for most of October. In Wall Street parlance, stocks were "overbought."

Headlines on Monday brought good excuses for jittery traders to sell: Italian government bond yields rose, raising fresh doubts about Europe's latest plan to solve its debt crisis.

When European leaders Thursday announced their new strategy to end the debt nightmare, one goal of the plan was to make investors feel confident about buying Italian bonds, thereby driving interest rates down. Instead, yields are rising.

The yield on Italy's 10-year government bond rose to 6.09% on Monday, the highest level since early August and up from 6.02% on Friday. The yield on two-year Italian bonds surged to 4.99%, up from 4.75% on Friday and the highest rate since 2008.

If global investors begin to think that Italy can't repay its debts, the crisis could become a cataclysm. Italy is the world's third-largest bond market, after the U.S. and Japan.

A key element of the plan is the expansion of Europe's $600-billion rescue fund for member states and banks. The fund is expected to eventually guarantee bonds issued by deeply indebted countries, particularly Italy.

But the continuing rise in Italian bond yields shows that many investors and traders doubt the plan will work — or they believe the Europeans will drag their feet implementing it.

Most European stock markets slid between 2.8% and 3.8% on Monday, after rocketing in the aftermath of the rescue-plan announcement.

In the U.S., MF Global's failure, though not a total surprise, spooked investors by resurrecting memories of the collapse of Lehman Bros. at the height of the financial crisis in September 2008.

Some investors and traders rushed into the classic hideouts: U.S. Treasury bonds and the dollar. The yield on the 10-year T-note dived to 2.11% from 2.32% on Friday. The dollar rallied against most currencies, helped by Japan's decision to begin selling yen and buying dollars.

The yen had hit a record high against the greenback Friday, posing an ever-rising threat to Japan's economy by boosting the cost of its exports. That pushed the Japanese government into action Monday.

The move had the desired effect. The dollar jumped 3.1%, to 78.18 yen from 75.82 on Friday, although the U.S. currency still is down against the yen year to date.

On Wall Street, bulls know they have history on their side in the near term — assuming that the U.S. economy keeps growing, Europe doesn't implode and no other major disaster looms. Since 1950, November and December have been the stock market's best two-month period of the year, on average, as investors often look ahead to the new year with optimism.

The market faces two important events this week: Federal Reserve policymakers meet Wednesday and are expected to reiterate that they are prepared to offer the economy more help if necessary.

On Friday, the government reports on October employment. Economists expect that the U.S. added 95,000 net new jobs last month, about the same as September.

Greece to Hold Referendum on New Debt Deal

October 31, 2011

Greece to Hold Referendum on New Debt Deal


ATHENS — In a surprise move that jolted Europe and put his political future in play, Prime Minister George A. Papandreou announced Monday that his government would hold a referendum on a new aid package for Greece, putting austerity measures — and potentially membership in the euro zone — to a popular vote for the first time.

Analysts said the vote on the austerity package could threaten the comprehensive agreement reached by European leaders last week to shore up the euro zone. A rejection by the voters would also be likely to be treated as a vote of no confidence in the government and lead to early elections.

The decision to hold a vote introduces a note of uncertainty in what had seemed to be a done deal. The anxiety stirred up by those fears hammered United States financial markets on Monday, showing once again how the domestic politics of even the smallest members of the European Union can create troubles that not only threaten the currency but reverberate around the globe.

Addressing lawmakers on Monday evening, Mr. Papandreou said the decision on whether to adopt the deal, which includes fresh financial assistance, debt relief and deeply unpopular austerity measures, properly belonged to the Greek people.

“Let us allow the people to have the last word, let them decide on the country’s fate,” he said.

It was still unclear how the referendum would be posed, but Mr. Papandreou said it would be a vote on whether Greeks supported the debt deal and the program of austerity measures in exchange for foreign aid.

The stakes are extremely high. A no vote would not only be likely to bring down the Greek government, it could also break the deal between Greece and its so-called troika of foreign lenders — the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund — which have demanded structural changes and austerity measures in exchange for aid.

Without the aid, Greece would not be able to meet its expenses and would default on its debt, sending shock waves through the euro zone and the world economy.

A yes vote, on the other hand, would help Mr. Papandreou shore up his flagging political fortunes and avoid the instability of early elections. The center-right opposition has opposed the bulk of the austerity program, and the prime minister’s popular support has dwindled as Greeks have been hit by a seemingly endless series of tax increases and wage and pension cuts.

A referendum would in effect shift responsibility for the nation’s painful economic choices from Mr. Papandreou’s Socialist Party onto the public.

By framing the debate as one of continuing to use the euro or returning to the drachma, the move also appeared to give the Greek government a bit more breathing room — and leverage — in negotiations with Europe over the debt deal, proving that a matter that German leaders had hoped had been settled last week still had the potential to be reopened.

“It’s not motivated by the intention of some sort of brinkmanship with Europe, but it may have this sort of positive or negative effect,” said George Pagoulatos, a professor of European politics and economy at the Athens University of Economics and Business. “It raises the stakes. It’s about, ‘Will we remain in the euro with a lower public debt or will we lose everything that we will achieve?’ ”

At a time when Mr. Papandreou is under intense political and social pressure, including from members of his own Socialist Party, the move was seen as the last card he could play.

Mr. Papandreou also said that he would seek a parliamentary vote of confidence in his administration, just four months after winning a similar vote before pushing an earlier batch of austerity measures into law. The vote of confidence is expected to be held on Friday evening, and Mr. Papandreou is expected to squeak by with his narrow three-vote majority in Parliament.

Government officials said the referendum would probably be held in January, essentially buying the government time while the details of the debt deal are hammered out.

Addressing lawmakers on Monday evening, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos framed the debate as one of Greece’s staying in the euro zone — the group of 17 European Union countries that use the euro. “It’s for the people to decide to stay in Europe or go back to the drachma,” he said.

Takis Michas, a political analyst and the project director of Forum for Greece, an Athens research institute, said posing the question this way was “a master stroke on behalf of Papandreou in the sense it is forcing the various parties to take a very responsible position.”

“If he succeeds in framing the issue as being one of remaining in the euro zone, obviously he is going to get a huge yes,” Mr. Michas added. “But it depends on whether he can frame the question in those terms.”

Under the Greek Constitution, the government must propose the language of the referendum, which would need to be approved by Parliament and then by the president.

Some analysts said the referendum was an invitation for instability. “People are very discontent with him personally and toward his economic policy, and in these kinds of circumstances when the debate is very passionate and things are tense, holding a referendum could be risky,” said Alexis Papahelas, the editor of the center-right daily Kathimerini.

“If the referendum fails, obviously everything will be in disarray,” he added. “Probably we will go to elections, but we have a very big chance that the country would go into a disorderly default.”

Last Thursday, after European leaders and the International Monetary Fund had finally reached an accord, Mr. Papandreou had hailed “a new day for Europe and for Greece.” But the deal has proved broadly unpopular among Greeks, who do not understand how it will translate into immediate relief.

Niki Kitsantonis reported from Athens, and Rachel Donadio from Rome.

5 Killed In Bombing of Kandahar United Nations Compound

KHAAMA PRESS | Afghan Online Newspaper & Magazine - -

5 killed in Kandahar UNHCR compound attacks

Posted By Ghanizada On October 31, 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011 – At least five people were killed and injured after a number of armed militants stormed United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees compound in southern Kandahar province early Monday morning.

The clashes started early Monday in Shahr-e-Naw area of southern Kandahar province, near UNHCR and IRD office, after a vehicle laden with explosives detonated near the UNHCR compound in this province.

Acting provincial police chiefGen. Abdul Razaq confirming the incident said, a number of armed insurgents managed to enter the compound after a vehicle laden with explosives rammed into the gate of the UNHCR compound.

Gen. Razaq further added, head of the 6th district police chief Gen. Aziz Ahmad died of his wounds and other three security guards of UNHCR were also killed following the incident.

In the meantime, officials in Mirwais provincial hospital said, at least five dead bodies including a police officer and 4 UNHCR employees and six injured people were taken to the hospital so far.

According to reports, at least two armed insurgents are still resisting the Afghan security forces and exchanging fire from inside the compound.

Meanwhile, Taliban militants group claimed responsibility behind the incident.

A spokesman for the Taliban militants group Qari Yousuf Ahmadi said, at least eight foreigners have been killed by their fighters so far.

The area of the incident has been cordoned off by Afghan and international coalition forces.
Article printed from KHAAMA PRESS | Afghan Online Newspaper & Magazine:

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World Population Hits 7 Billion,0,455314.story

World population hits 7 billion on Oct. 31, or thereabouts

Though it's impossible to say exactly when it will happen, demographers have chosen the date to mark the milestone. Humanity remains on a steep growth curve.

By Kenneth R. Weiss, Los Angeles Times
October 31, 2011

It took only a dozen years for humanity to add another billion people to the planet, reaching the milestone of 7 billion Monday — give or take a few months.

Demographers at the United Nations Population Division set Oct. 31, 2011, as the "symbolic" date for hitting 7 billion, while acknowledging that it's impossible to know for sure the specific time or day. Using slightly different calculations, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates the 7-billion threshold will not be reached until March.

Under any methodology, demographers agree that humanity remains on a steep growth curve, which is likely to keep climbing through the rest of this century. The U.N.'s best estimate is that population will march past 9.3 billion by 2050 and exceed 10.1 billion by the end of the century. It could be far more, if birthrates do not continue to drop as they have in the last half-century.

Nearly all the projected growth this century is expected to occur in developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, while the combined populations in Europe, North America and other wealthy industrialized nations will remain relatively flat. Some countries, such as Germany, Russia and Japan, are poised to edge downward, their loss made up mostly by ongoing growth in the United States, which is bolstered by waves of immigrants.

The buildup to Monday's milestone has briefly turned up the flame on long-simmering debates about growth on a finite planet: Whether a growing population or growing consumption remains the biggest environmental challenge, how best to help lift a billion people out of poverty and misery, whether governments should provide contraception for those who cannot afford it.

The new leader of the United Nations Population Fund, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, a Nigerian obstetrician-gynecologist, stepped gingerly into the fray. His agency remains a favorite punching bag of antiabortion activists in the United States for its role in supporting family planning clinics in developing countries.

"Instead of asking questions like, 'Are we too many?' we should instead be asking, 'What can I do to make our world better?' " wrote Osotimehin in the annual State of the World Population report. The report chronicles disparities between rich nations and poor ones. Poor countries continue to have low education levels and startlingly high rates of teenage pregnancy and maternal and child deaths due to complications from childbirth.

"In many parts of the developing world, where population growth is outpacing economic growth, the need for reproductive health services, especially family planning, remains great," Osotimehin concluded.

Some have used the occasion to celebrate the unrivaled success of the human species. Population grows when births exceed deaths. The 7-billion mark was reached because people are living longer and the number of infant deaths has dropped, because of a more secure food supply and because of advances in sanitation and medicine.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will hold a news conference Monday to mark the date and talk about challenges ahead, particularly how to reduce poverty, invest in the world's 1.8 billion youth and help countries develop in a sustainable way.

In 1999, his predecessor, Kofi Annan, designated a boy born to refugee parents in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, as Baby 6 Billion. He had been plucked from the hundreds of thousands of babies born that day to put a face on global population growth. Adnan Mevic, now 12, has become something of a celebrity.

None of the estimated 382,000 babies born Monday will have such an honor.

There is no word yet on how the United Nations will handle the next milestone, when the globe's population hits 8 billion — about 14 years from now.

Syria Warns: "Whole Region" Could Burn

Syria warns: "Whole region" could burn

(AP) BEIRUT - Syrian President Bashar Assad warned against Western intervention in his country's 7-month-old uprising, saying such action would trigger an "earthquake" that "would burn the whole region."

Assad comments, published in an interview with Britain's Sunday Telegraph, were made against a backdrop of growing calls from anti-regime protesters for a no-fly zone over Syria and increasingly frequent clashes between government troops and army defectors, the latest of which left at least 30 troops dead Saturday.

"Syria is the hub now in this region. It is the fault line, and if you play with the ground you will cause an earthquake," Assad said. "Do you want to see another Afghanistan, or tens of Afghanistans?"

Assad's remarks appeared to reflect his regime's increasing concern about foreign intervention in the country's crisis after the recent death of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, who was toppled by a popular uprising backed by NATO airstrikes.

Syrian opposition leaders have not called for an armed uprising like the one in Libya and have for the most part opposed foreign intervention, and the U.S. and its allies have shown little appetite for intervening in another Arab nation in turmoil. But with the 7-month-old revolt against Assad stalemated, some Syrian protesters have begun calling for a no-fly zone over the country because of fears the regime might use its air force now that army defectors are becoming more active in fighting the security forces.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a clash Saturday night in the restive central city of Homs between soldiers and gunmen believed to be army defectors left at least 20 soldiers dead and 53 wounded. It also said gunmen ambushed a bus carrying security officers late Saturday in the northwestern province of Idlib, killing at least 10 security agents. One attacker was also killed.

The Associated Press could not verify the activists' accounts. Syria has banned most foreign media and restricted local coverage, making it impossible to get independent confirmation of the events on the ground. Syria's state-run news agency SANA, said seven members of the military and police, who were killed in Homs and the suburbs of Damascus were buried Sunday.

The Local Coordination Committees, another activist group, said Sunday that 343 people, including 20 children, have been killed in Syria since Oct. 16, when the Cairo-based Arab League gave Damascus a 15-day deadline to enact a cease-fire. A meeting was scheduled for later Sunday in Qatar between an Arab committee set up by the 22-member Arab League and a Syrian delegation expected to be headed by Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem.

The unrest in Syria could send unsettling ripples through the region, as Damascus' web of alliances extends to Lebanon's powerful Hezbollah movement, the militant Palestinian Hamas and Iran's Shiite theocracy.

Unlike Gadhafi, Assad enjoys a number of powerful allies that give him the means to push back against the outside pressure. A conflict in Syria risks touching off a wider Middle East conflict with arch foes Israel and Iran in the mix. Syria wouldn't have to look far for prime targets to strike, sharing a border with U.S.-backed Israel and NATO-member Turkey.

In case of an international intervention, Assad and his main Mideast backer, Iran, could launch retaliatory attacks on Israel or -- more likely -- unleash Hezbollah fighters or Palestinian militant allies for the job. To the north, Turkey has opened its doors to anti-Assad activists and breakaway military rebels, which also could bring Syrian reprisals.

Assad alluded to those concerns at home and abroad, saying "any problem in Syria will burn the whole region. If the plan is to divide Syria, that is to divide the whole region."

The uprising against the Syrian regime began during a wave of anti-government protests in the Arab world that toppled autocrats in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. The U.N. says that Assad's crackdown has left more than 3,000 people dead since the uprising began in mid-March.

Facing an unprecedented threat to his rule, Assad is desperate to show that only he can guarantee security in a troubled region where failed states abound.

In a show of support to Assad's regime, thousands of Syrians carrying the nation's flag and Assad posters rallied Sunday in a major square in the southern city of Sweida, some 70 miles (110 kilometers) south of Damascus, near the Jordanian border. There have been two similar massive pro-Assad demonstrations in recent days in the capital Damascus and the coastal city of Latakia.

Assad said that Western countries "are going to ratchet up the pressure, definitely." He was apparently referring to a wave of sanctions that were imposed by the European Union and the U.S.

"But Syria is different in every respect from Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen. The history is different. The politics is different," Assad said.

The Syrian president described the uprising as a "struggle between Islamism and pan-Arabism." He was referring to his ruling Baath party's secular ideology and the Muslim Brotherhood that was crushed by his regime in 1982.

"We've been fighting the Muslim Brotherhood since the 1950s and we are still fighting with them," Assad said.

Assad also spoke to Russia's state Channel One television, and in an interview broadcast Sunday hailed Moscow's veto of a European-backed U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria that aimed to impose sanctions on Damascus.

"We are relying on Russia as a country with which we have strong historic ties," Assad said.

The measure vetoed by Russia and China earlier this month would have been the first legally binding resolution against Syria since Assad's forces began attacking civilian protesters.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tennessee Protesters Defy Curfew a Third Time; Providence Ordered Out of Park

Tennessee protesters defy curfew a 3rd time

By Associated Press
Sunday, October 30, 2011

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Occupy Wall Street protesters chanted slogans, danced to stay warm and defiantly protested into the early hours Sunday near Tennessee’s Capitol building, squaring off for the third consecutive night against state authorities.

"Whose plaza? Our plaza!" about 50 demonstrators chanted early Sunday in defiance of an official curfew.

Capitol police sporadically made their rounds and a state trooper occasionally walked past the protest in the pre-dawn hours, but authorities signaled no immediate attempt to make arrests as law enforcement agents had done on the two previous nights.

Elizabeth Sharpe, 20, took part Sunday and said she was inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement after seeing a 2003 documentary called "The Corporation." She said she felt the need to be an activist in the movement that expresses opposition to perceived greed on Wall Street and across corporate America.

"How can I as an individual change this?" she asked, speaking with an Associated Press reporter. With the Occupy moment’s far-flung reach across American cities, she said she felt there was strength in numbers, adding, ""I got for the first time a glimpse of hope."

Some danced to keep warm on a chilly morning and others shivered in the frosty air, huddling under blankets.

The protesters have been galvanized by the friction between state officials and the local magistrate. Several new demonstrators showed up at the state-owned plaza near the Capitol for the first time earlier in the day.

As many as 75 people initially remained after the curfew that started at 10 p.m. CDT and runs until 6 a.m. But by early morning only about 50 people remained and police did not make any immediate attempt to disband the protest.

On previous nights, the defiance had triggered arrests. Earlier Nashville arrests came after a week of police crackdowns nationwide on Occupy Wall Street activists. Clashes have occurred in other cities, including Oakland, Calif., Denver and Atlanta.

In Oakland, Calif., an Iraq War veteran was seriously injured during a protest clash with police Tuesday night. In Atlanta, helicopters hovered overhead Wednesday as officers in riot gear arrested more than 50 protesters at a downtown park. In San Diego, police arrested a similar number of people who occupied the Civic Center Plaza and Children’s Park for three weeks. And in Denver on Saturday evening, authorities moved into an encampment of protesters and began arresting demonstrators just hours after a standoff near the steps of the Colorado Capitol turned into a skirmish that ended in police force, including pepper spray and reports of rubber bullets.

Nashville magistrate Tom Nelson has said recently that there’s no legal reason in his city to keep the demonstrators behind bars and he has released them after each arrest. He has refused each night to sign off on arrest warrants for more than two dozen people taken into custody.

Some legal experts agreed with the judge.

The arrests appeared to be a violation of First Amendment rights that allow for people to peacefully assemble, said attorney David Raybin, a former prosecutor. He and others said the nature of the arrests, coupled with the judge’s refusal to sign off on the warrants, could become ammunition for lawsuits.

"The government is exposing itself to serious liability here by doing this," Raybin said.

Nelson did not return an email seeking and a phone number for him could not be found.

State troopers had begun enforcing the curfew at the Legislative Plaza on Thursday night.

Others questioned the timing of the curfew. The protesters had been demonstrating for about three weeks before it took effect, a point that Nelson said he factored into his decision.

"You can’t pass a curfew mid-protest because you disagree with this group of protesters," said criminal defense attorney Patrick Frogge, who is representing some of those arrested.

The state Department of Safety has been carrying out the arrests. Commissioner Bill Gibbons, who until he joined the Haslam administration was the district attorney in Memphis, said he didn’t have a role in developing the curfew but assured Haslam his department could enforce it.

Gibbons developed a reputation as an able and tough prosecutor in Memphis, where gang and drug violence have been problems for years. He ran against Haslam for governor in the GOP primary, touting his law-and-order credential and sharply attacking his multi-million-dollar opponent for refusing to divulge how much income he gets from the family-owned chain of Pilot truck stops.

Deadline for Occupy Providence to leave Sunday afternoon

By Associated Press
Sunday, October 30, 2011

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The deadline set by the Providence public safety chief for anti-Wall Street protesters to leave a city park where they’ve camped for two weeks is set to arrive Sunday.

Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare told activists with Occupy Providence on Thursday afternoon they had 72 hours to vacate Burnside Park. He said they were breaking city ordinances, including one that says the park closes at 9 p.m.

Protesters have vowed to stay, but Pare says authorities will not forcibly remove them or their belongings when the deadline arrives.

He plans instead to clear the encampment through the court system. He says he wants to avoid the kind of confrontations that have taken place in some other cities, where activists in the anti-Wall Street movement have been arrested.

Airstrikes and Rockets Kill 10 People in the Gaza Strip Region of Palestine,0,3649394.story

Airstrikes and rockets kill 10 people in the Gaza Strip region

By Batsheva Sobelman and Rushdi abu Alouf, Los Angeles Times
October 30, 2011
Reporting from Jerusalem and Gaza City

The Israeli armed forces and militants based in the Gaza Strip exchanged attacks Saturday in a sharp escalation of violence that killed nine Palestinians and one Israeli.

Palestinian sources said five Islamic Jihad militants were killed in an initial Israeli airstrike near Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, including a prominent maker of rockets. Israeli news reports said the airstrike targeted a cell responsible for launching a rocket into Israel recently.

The army said the strike was not in retaliation for an attack, but was instead a preventive action.

A few hours later, a barrage of about 20 rockets began landing in southern Israel, some making direct hits on residential buildings and setting cars and property on fire. One rocket landed in a school in the city of Ashdod that was closed for the Sabbath.

Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Two additional Israeli airstrikes killed four more Islamic Jihad members, Palestinian sources said. One Israeli was killed, according to Israeli news reports, and several injured people were taken to hospitals.

The spate of violence in recent days broke a cease-fire agreement that largely had held since August. It came just days after international negotiators visited Israel and the Palestinian territories to try to restart peace talks.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to mayors of communities that were targeted in southern Israel, promising that the military response would get tougher, if necessary, according to a statement from the prime minister's office early Sunday.

Speaking at a news conference in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Israel was not looking for a confrontation with the Palestinians but that it would "not take one barrage after the other without response."

Saturday's increase in violence came less than two weeks after a prisoner exchange between Hamas, which rules Gaza, and Israel.

Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who had been held for more than five years, was freed Oct. 18. Israel agreed to release more than 1,000 Palestinians, about half of whom already are free.

Some in Israel, including opposition leader Tzipi Livni, warned that the deal would bolster the standing of Hamas. In a statement Saturday, Livni urged Israel to weaken "radical terror elements such as those behind the rocket attacks through direct action as well as a "diplomatic process with the moderate elements who do not employ violence."

Sobelman, a news assistant in The Times' Jerusalem bureau, reported from Jerusalem. Abu Alouf, a special correspondent, reported from Gaza City.

Denver Cops Move In to Break Up Occupy Encampment

October 29, 2011 12:22 PM

Denver police move into Occupy encampment

(CBS/AP) Updated 9:55 PM EST

DENVER - Police have moved into an encampment of Occupy Wall Street supporters and are arresting demonstrators who have ignored orders to leave.

The police action this evening comes just hours after a standoff between protesters and authorities near the steps of the Colorado Capitol erupted into a clash that resulted in a surge of demonstrators being met with police force that included reports of pepper spray and rubber bullets.

The situation downtown escalated when some supporters of the Occupy Wall Street movement marching in a group of about 2,000 tried to advance up the Capitol steps.

About eight officers scuffled with a group of protesters, according to The Denver Post, and police confirmed to the newspaper that they used pepper spray and either rubber bullets or pepper balls to break up the crowd.

Denver police spokesman Matt Murray said protesters knocked an officer off his motorcycle and other officers were kicked by demonstrators.

Murray said seven protesters were arrested, including two for assault and one for disobedience. He said some demonstrators had received medical treatment on the scene, but no one had been taken to a hospital.

Mike Korzen, 25, said he was among the protesters whom police dispersed with rubber bullets and pepper spray.

"I was standing there with my hands behind my back," Korzen said, using a water bottle to wash pepper spray from his eyes.

Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter of the Denver suburbs visited the protest site Saturday afternoon to try to calm protesters.

After the clash several protesters moved across the street to a park where a small encampment has been established. A city street between the park and the Capitol was blocked by police cars and a Denver bus.

In other "Occupy" developments:

NASHVILLE: State troopers for the second straight night arrested anti-Wall Street protesters for defying a new nighttime curfew imposed by the Republican governor, in an effort to disband an encampment near the state Capitol in Nashville.

And also, for a second time, a Nashville night judge dismissed the arrest warrants.

The Tennessean newspaper reported early Saturday morning that Magistrate Tom Nelson told troopers delivering the protesters to jail that he could "find no authority anywhere for anyone to authorize a curfew anywhere on Legislative Plaza."

Occupy Nashville protesters - including many of the 29 arrested in a pre-dawn raid on Friday - returned to the Legislative Plaza that evening and remained through the 10 p.m. curfew.

There was no noticeable law enforcement presence for nearly two hours after the curfew went into effect on Friday night, while adjacent theaters let out and patrons filtered back through the plaza to their cars without being challenged for violating the restrictions.

"Nothing was done to them, they were not arrested," said protester Michael Custer, 46. "But we are arrested while we are expressing our constitutional right to free speech."

Once the theater traffic cleared, dozens of state troopers descended on the plaza and began arresting protesters and a journalist for the Nashville Scene, an alternative weekly newspaper.

Troopers arrested 26 people this time. All were charged with trespassing; two were also charged with public intoxication; and one was also charged with criminal impersonation, Department of Safety spokeswoman Jennifer Donnals said. The judicial commissioner refused to issue warrants for any of the charges.

Officials said 72 troopers were involved in the curfew enforcement.

"To see it from the other side is even more infuriating," said Chip Allen, one of the protesters arrested in the first raid. "When you're in it, it's almost surreal. This takes on a whole 'nother flavor."

Protesters remaining at the scene vowed to return Saturday, even if it means more arrests.

The arrests came after a week of police crackdowns around the country on Occupy Wall Street activists, who have been protesting economic inequality and what they call corporate greed.

NEW YORK: Six weeks after the Occupy protest began, authorities are trying to turn up the heat, as Mother Nature turns on the cold. On Friday authorities took away gas cans and six power generators, calling them safety hazards.

"My feet are starting to get a little bit cold here," she told CBS News correspondent Elaine Quijano.

Spencer has knitted 40 hats, scarves, and sets of mittens and donated them to the Occupy comfort station. "People are asking for the mittens - I make more than anything else right now. So I'm going to make as many as I can to help as many people as I can," she said.

Others are gearing up by putting up tents and finding ways to shield themselves from the cold in Zuccotti Park.

Robert Ellis described the order of layering: "Pallets first, then cardboard because it keeps you off the concrete, which is freezing, and then you put tarps over that, and then put your sleeping bag on that."

One refuge for cold protesters is an atrium on Wall Street itself - the irony is that it's owned by a major investment bank. But because of a real estate deal with the city, the area is required to remain open to the public.

Protesters meet there to discuss everything from the wealth gap to the environment. But back at Zuccotti Park, Michigan-born Spencer prefers to brave the elements: "There's definitely a resolve and a dedication in the people I've met here to keep this going until something is accomplished," she said.

Oakland, Calif.: Filmmaker Michael Moore told anti-Wall Street protesters that the Occupy movement - which has spread to cities across America and overseas - in inspiring millions who are angry about corporate excess, income inequality and the failure of politicians to address issues facing the majority of Americans.

"We've killed despair across the country and we've killed apathy," he said.

The director of the documentary films "Fahrenheit 9/11" and "Bowling for Columbine" said people throughout the U.S. were "disgusted" and "horrified" when police fired tear gas and bean bags and took other aggressive actions against protesters Tuesday night. Iraq war veteran Scott Olsen, 24, remains hospitalized in fair condition with a fractured skull suffered from a projectile fired during a sweep of Frank Ogawa Plaza by police in riot gear. His condition has become a rallying cry at Occupy protests around the world.

Although police cleared protesters and their tents from the plaza Tuesday morning, the protesters and their tents returned the next day, and held a candlelight vigil for Olsen.

Addressing about 1,000 Occupy Oakland protesters in front of City Hall Friday, Moore said the week's events in Oakland will go down as a "watershed moment" in the Occupy Wall Street movement. "Millions have seen this and are inspired by you because you came back the next night," said Moore.

Bangor, Me.: Maine groups aligned with the Occupy Wall Street movement plan to rally Saturday. Occupy Bangor said a rally at downtown Bangor's Peirce Park will be followed by a march. The group said participants are organizing to show solidarity for what it calls a "feeling of mass injustice and inequality in America."

In Portland, Occupy Maine said it will also rally Saturday with speakers, music and a march from Monument Square, despite a weather forecast for 6 inches of snow Saturday evening.

Albuquerque, N.M.: Organizers plan a Saturday march at the site where about two dozen protesters were arrested earlier this week. The "1st Amendment Solidarity March" starts at University of New Mexico's Yale Park.

Protesters were arrested after school officials ordered the four-week-old protest site closed over safety concerns. New Mexico State Police raided the spot late Tuesday and have prevented protesters from returning.

Organizers are pressing city officials to allow them to relocate to Robinson Park. Albuquerque protesters met Thursday with Mayor Richard Berry, but Berry did not make a decision. He told protesters he wanted to seek a balance between free speech and public safety.

Burlington, Vt.: More than 100 social activists planned to stay the night in City Hall Park in Burlington as they worked to expand into a 24-hour operation. The Burlington protests began last Sunday, but Friday's effort marked the first time the Vermont movement was going to try to go full time.

City rules don't allow the park to be used between midnight and 6 a.m. But city officials ruled Friday the protesters could stay, as long as no laws were broken and there were no threats to public safety. The city vowed to take a wait-and-see approach to enforcement of the camping ban.

Traverse City, Mich.: Participants in the Occupy protest in this Michigan city plan to collect food, clothing and blankets for the needy.

Donations are expected to be given to area nonprofits.

London, England: A part-time chaplain at St. Paul's Cathedral has become the second churchman to resign over the church's attitude to the protest outside the building. Fraser Dyer said he was "embarrassed" by the decision to take legal action to try to evict the anti-capitalist protesters.

Senior clergyman Giles Fraser resigned earlier, saying he feared moves to evict the protesters could end in violence.

Church and local government authorities are separately going to court to try to evict the protesters, though officials have acknowledged it could take weeks or months to get an order to remove the tent city.

As the iconic church reopened after a weeklong closure triggered by the protest, the City of London Corporation said it was launching legal action on the grounds that the protest is an "unreasonable user of the highway." Scores of tents are pitched on the pedestrianized square in front of the cathedral and near a footpath alongside the building.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Bombing in Kabul Kills As Many As 13 US Military Personnel and Private Contractors,0,4617457.story

Suicide bombing in Kabul kills as many as 13 Americans

The attacker blows up an armored military bus in what may be the deadliest assault on U.S. citizens in the Afghan capital since the war began. At least four Afghans are also killed.

By Hashmat Baktash and Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times
8:32 PM PDT, October 29, 2011

Reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan, and New Delhi

As many as 13 Americans were killed Saturday when a suicide bomber struck their armored military bus in Kabul, in what may be the single deadliest attack on U.S. citizens in the Afghan capital since the war began a decade ago.

A U.S. official said the death toll was believed to be 13 U.S. citizens: five service members and eight civilian contractors. But, the official said, a Canadian and at least one British national could also be among the dead. The full extent of the casualties was unclear, he said, because the massive explosion had made identifying the dead difficult.

The Afghan Interior Ministry said at least three Afghan civilians and one policeman were also killed in the blast.

The bombing represents a propaganda coup for the Taliban, which claimed responsibility in text messages to news organizations, saying it had packed a four-wheel-drive vehicle with at least 700 pounds of explosives.

Deadly attacks are relatively rare in Kabul, which has better security than the southern and eastern parts of Afghanistan. In recent months, however, with the U.S.-led coalition announcing plans to turn security over to Afghan forces by 2014, the Taliban has stepped up assaults in a bid to bolster its political grip after the pullout.

Saturday's carnage came a month and a half after insurgents launched a brazen 20-hour assault on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, killing more than a dozen people. That attack was widely viewed as an attempt by the Taliban to send a message that no place in the country was secure or out of its reach.

According to the United Nations, violence across Afghanistan is at its worst since the war started in 2001, despite the presence of 130,000 foreign troops.

The NATO coalition says the number of insurgent attacks is declining, but its data don't include lethal attacks against civilians or those mounted against Afghan security forces operating without international help.

The Kabul car bombing took place Saturday near the American University on Darulaman Road, among the capital's busiest toroughfares, which runs past the parliament building and the decaying Darulaman Palace, or "abode of peace."

A North Atlantic Treaty Organization spokesman said the troops and contractors were traveling in a type of military bus known as a Rhino, named for its heavy armor. The identities of those killed in the attack were not disclosed pending notification of kin.

It was the largest single-day U.S. loss in Afghanistan since August, when a helicopter was shot down in Wardak province, killing 30 U.S. troops, including 17 Navy SEALs, along with eight Afghan troops.

In preparation for the transfer of responsibility to Afghans, coalition training of Afghan police and army personnel has expanded. Darulaman Road is part of a route often taken by trainers traveling in buses and other vehicles between Kabul's military training center and heavily fortified NATO bases in downtown Kabul.

Buses, even when heavily armored, are relatively soft targets and generally travel in convoys. But Kabul's crowded streets and chaotic traffic make it difficult to keep a perimeter around convoys, and suicide car bombers often try to insert themselves between convoy vehicles for maximum damage.

Afghanistan's Interior Ministry condemned the suicide attack and extended its condolences to victims' families.

In another deadly incident, an attacker wearing an Afghan military uniform opened fire on foreign troops in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan and killed three of them before others returned fire and killed him.

The Australian Broadcasting Corp. said three Australian soldiers and an interpreter were killed, and seven soldiers were wounded.

Analysts said attacks on foreign troops by those wearing Afghan uniforms offer several advantages from the insurgents' perspective, whether carried out by soldiers "turned" by the Taliban, or by insurgents who make, buy or steal uniforms and ID cards for their attacks.

These allow attackers to get inside a base or otherwise much closer to foreign forces than otherwise possible. They increase distrust between Afghan and foreign forces, causing Western troops to be suspicious and even dismissive of Afghan soldiers at a time when the number of combined counterinsurgency operations are growing as 2014 approaches.

In a third incident in eastern Afghanistan, guards fired on a female suicide bomber wearing a burka as she tried to enter a government building, prompting her to detonate her explosives.

She was the only fatality in the incident, which occurred near a branch of the National Directorate of Security, the country's spy agency, according to Abdul Sabor Allayar, Kunar province's deputy police chief. Two agency employees and two civilians were wounded.

On other fronts, the coalition said Saturday that its troops and Afghan security forces had captured two leaders of the militant Haqqani network in a joint operation Friday in Paktika province along the Pakistani-Afghan border.

One leader had provided insurgents with funding, weapons, supplies and havens, the coalition said, and the other coordinated attacks against Afghan forces.

Magnier reported from New Delhi and special correspondent Baktash from Kabul. Times staff writer Melanie Mason in Washington contributed to this report.

ANCYL Demands Change to South African Constitution

ANCYL demands change to SA’s Constitution

Saturday, 29 October 2011 00:00

Pretoria - The ANC Youth League yesterday called on government to amend the Constitution to allow land claims without compensation.

ANCYL deputy president Ronald Lamola read out a memorandum of demands at the Union Buildings in Pretoria at the culmination of the league's "economic freedom" march.

The league demanded the amendment of section 25 of the Constitution which protects private property against arbitrary expropriation and allows for compensation.

The memorandum was received by newly-appointed Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi.
He is a former secretary-general of the SA Democratic Teachers Union.

The league's memorandum said all productive land should be nationalised and leased, and neighbourhoods electrified. Labour brokers must be banned and all vacant government posts be filled.

A state bank must be established and foreign policy must be changed to isolate countries that threaten South Africa's sovereignty.
A fund must be established to send 10 000 students to the best universities.

ANCYL president Julius Malema was pleased that Nxesi was the one who accepted the memorandum.

"We have a minister. We always get what we want. We are not a Mickey Mouse organisation. We are a serious organisation," Malema said.

"The minister knows these demands very well. He used to be one on the street fighting this.

"He will take this to the executive and will explain it better because he is from a working class background," he said.

Earlier, Malema demanded that only a member of the Cabinet accept their memorandum on ‘economic freedom'. On Thursday, the league handed memorandums of demand to the Chamber of Mines in Johannesburg's city centre and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in Sandton. - SAPA

Pan-African Parliament Blasts African Union Over Libya War

PAP blasts AU over Libya

Saturday, 29 October 2011 00:00
Herald Reporter

THE African Union has come under fire from Pan African Parliament for failure to stamp its authority in stopping Nato from bombarding Libya.

PAP members met in South Africa early this month and expressed displeasure over AU's silence on the events in Libya, which led to the capture and murder of that country's leader Muammar Gaddafi last week.

Cde Joram Gumbo, who is PAP vice president, said PAP members had also raised concerns about Libya's dual membership.

"Members criticised the AU because it didn't take a firm position against Nato. The general feeling was that Africa had shown a great weakness by allowing people from outside to manage our issues here.

"The members said the AU should have sent an army to Libya to stop it falling apart like we have done in other African countries. PAP was very much against Nato intervention," he said.
PAP members, Cde Gumbo said, raised concern with African countries, which have dual membership of the AU and Arab League.

He said this conflict of interests would make it difficult for the AU to act in such cases.

Cde Gumbo, however, said PAP had resolved to send a goodwill and solidarity mission to Libya with a view to meet with the interim leadership on the evolution of the situation in Libya.

He said PAP has also resolved to be involved in the national reconstruction mechanisms to reinforce national unity and to preserve the integrity of Libyan citizens.

In line with the current AU policy of empowering the youths in Africa, Cde Gumbo said PAP had invited youth representatives from all the regions to explain how they would want to be empowered.

"African National Congress youth league deputy president Ranold Lamola told delegates that the only living leader in Africa was President Mugabe because he wants to empower his people.

"He said President Mugabe's lead in making sure black Zimbabweans got back their land for no cent is the best form of empowerment because it had been stolen from them," Cde Gumbo said.

He said Cde Lamola had also told the delegates that the AU predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity had liberated the continent politically and now was the time for the AU to liberate it economically.

Gaddafi Family to File War Crimes Complaint Against NATO

Lawyer: Gadhafi family to file war crimes complaint against NATO

October 27, 2011
By the CNN Wire Staff

Questions surround the death of Moammar Gadhafi, who eluded forces loyal to the National Transitional Council for months.The family of deceased Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi will file a war crimes complaint against NATO with the International Criminal Court, a lawyer representing the family said Thursday.

Members of the family believe NATO's actions led to Gadhafi's death last week, said Marcel Ceccaldi.

"All of the events that have taken place since February 2011 and the murder of Gadhafi, all of this means we are totally in our right to call upon the International Criminal Court," Ceccaldi, a French attorney, said.

NATO responded that it "conducts its operation in strict conformity with the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions." In a statement Thursday, a NATO official said, "At no time during Operation Unified Protector has NATO targeted specific individuals."

The ICC had previously issued a warrant for Gadhafi's arrest, accusing him of crimes against humanity.

The ICC still has warrants for the arrest of Gadhafi's son, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, and his brother-in-law Abdullah al-Sanussi.

He died from a shot in the head, officials said, but the circumstances surrounding the shot remain unclear.

The United States said it supports an independent investigation, as called for by the United Nations and by Libya's new leadership.

Ceccaldi said the Gadhafi family's complaint will be filed in the coming days.

"Now we will wait and see if the ICC is a judicial system which is independent and impartial," he added.

Lt. Gen. Charles Bouchard, commander of the NATO military operation, said earlier this week that NATO "did not get involved in anything beyond what was our legal mandate and we remain well within the mandate assigned to us by the North Atlantic Council."

While Gadhafi survived an airstrike in the Sirte area shortly before he died, Bouchard said NATO did not know the former Libyan leader was in the convoy.

"We saw a convoy, and in fact we had no idea that Gadhafi was on board," Bouchard said. Some vehicles in the convoy were carrying weaponry, and seemed to present a potential threat to the population, he said.

The news came as the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Thursday to end NATO's military operations in Libya.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pentagon, South Korea Threatens DPRK

October 28, 2011

Panetta Joins South Korea in Warning to North

New York Times

SEOUL, South Korea — The United States and South Korea held out the possibility on Friday that the two nations would join in a military response against North Korea if there is another provocation in the region from North Korean leaders.

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and the South Korean defense minister, Kim Kwan-jin, in effect threatened North Korea with some form of a counterattack if it engaged in another belligerent act, like its shelling of a South Korean island last November.

But Mr. Kim was far more emphatic than Mr. Panetta, and Pentagon officials quickly played down the likelihood of an American military response, although they did not rule it out. A 1953 mutual defense treaty between the United States and South Korea stipulates that either country will come to the defense of the other if attacked by a third party.

The United States and South Korea “will jointly deter any additional provocations by North Korea,” Mr. Kim said at the news conference with Mr. Panetta.

For his part, Mr. Panetta said, “We can provide strong and effective responses to those kinds of provocations if we work together and if we develop the kind of coordinated response that we think is necessary.”

Their statements were in large part meant to support South Korea, which has grown increasingly anxious about North Korean actions. The South Korean public was furious when civilians were killed in the shelling of the island, and although South Korea returned fire, many South Koreans felt there should have been a stronger response.

Mr. Panetta was on his last day of a weeklong trip to Asia that was meant to project American power in the Pacific and reassure allies.

The Pentagon press secretary, George Little, told reporters after the news conference that the United States had “a full spectrum” of potential responses to North Korea, which he said included more joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea, the repositioning of American forces in the region and “other nonkinetic responses.”

The statements from Mr. Panetta and Mr. Kim were also a clear effort to deter the North from future provocations. Mr. Kim said he expected future belligerence, as do American military officials.

At the news conference, Mr. Panetta and Mr. Kim reiterated longstanding demands that North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons program and in a joint communiqué called it both a “serious” and “grave” threat. They pledged to complete by the end of this year an American-South Korean “counterprovocation” plan, a military road map for how the two countries would jointly respond to a North Korean action.

Mr. Panetta, who is four months into his job as defense secretary, has taken a tough line against the North Korean government during his visit of two and a half days in Seoul.

Although North Korea has been more accommodating in recent months, American military officials and a number of Obama administration officials believe that the North is doing so only to extract food, fuel, economic assistance and other aid from the nations involved in the talks.

Su-hyun Lee contributed reporting from Seoul.

Former South African Police Commissioner Claims Conspiracy

Selebi clings to ‘conspiracy’ claim


Round two of former police chief Jackie Selebi's corruption trial is set to begin on Tuesday next week in the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein, with Selebi arguing that he was the victim of a conspiracy by the now-disbanded Scorpions.

Selebi was granted leave to appeal against his graft conviction in July last year after the South Gauteng High Court found him guilty of receiving R166 000 in bribes from convicted drug dealer Glenn Agliotti in return for showing the latter top-secret police reports.

He was sentenced to 15 years in jail.

Selebi is also appealing against the court's finding that Agliotti received benefits from Selebi in return for money and gifts.

The appeal court extended Selebi's grounds for appeal earlier this year after a successful application by his legal team.

High court Judge Meyer Joffe accepted the state's evidence that Selebi had shown Agliotti a portion of both a national intelligence estimate report and a confidential report from the United Kingdom.

Selebi's strategy

It is understood that the thrust of Selebi's appeal strategy will be that he is the victim of a larger political conspiracy, based on the National Prosecuting Authority's decision to probe the prosecuting team in the Selebi matter, led by advocate Gerrie Nel.

Senior NPA sources say there is a "perception" in some NPA units that prosecutions chief Menzi Simelane's sanctioning of the investigation will aid Selebi's cause.

The probe came after Selebi's conviction, when the former police chief claimed publicly that he had "discovered [information] suggesting that the investigation and prosecution which led to my conviction have been improper".

At the time, sources close to the Selebi and Agliotti matters said Selebi's submission related to the conduct of Nel and his team.

Since his arrest in September 2007 and throughout his five-month trial last year, Selebi has insisted he is the victim of a Scorpions plot.

In the heads of argument under "preliminary issues", Selebi's defence team, led by advocates Jaap Cilliers SC and Fanus Coetzee, claims that the Scorpions were driven by a desperate desire to avoid being disbanded, and that investigators "fabricated" and "manipulated" evidence against the police commissioner.


Selebi claims that he was targeted because he supported the move to disband the unit.

The defence further argues that the Scorpions' investigation of Selebi and his ultimate arrest were precipitated by a probe that he launched into alleged fraud and theft by senior Scorpions officials and Nel.

In its heads of argument, the state dismisses these claims as "a reflection of the appellant's [Selebi's] less than respectful attitude towards the courts. The appellant has persisted in dealing therein with issues on which he was refused leave to appeal."

Selebi's lawyers argue that the state "did not provide much further details" regarding Agliotti's alleged payments to him, and that it "refused to provide copies" of bank statements, cheques and counterfoils from the Spring Lights account, from which Selebi was paid.

These claims may form part of an attack on the state's star witness, Agliotti's ex-fiancée Dianne Muller, whose testimony the court found credible.

The defence claims that Muller had received large amounts of money from Agliotti through the Spring Lights account and may, therefore, have had a motive for lying.

Simelane: fit and proper?

Next Monday the appeal court is also due to hear an appeal by the Democratic Alliance against the North Gauteng High Court's rejection of its application to set aside President Jacob Zuma's appointment of Simelane as the national director of public prosecutions (NDPP). The DA claims that Simelane is not "a fit and proper person" for the job.

Since his appointment as NDPP last year, Simelane has been shrouded in controversy.

Former parliamentary speaker Frene Ginwala, in her inquiry into the suspension of former NPA chief Vusi Pikoli in 2007, in which Simelane played a role as the director general of justice, found that he had been unreliable and arrogant.

After his appointment as director of public prosecutions, Simelane removed Nel and the team prosecuting Brett Kebble's murder case, in which Agliotti was an accused. He was later acquitted.

Nel was also removed from prosecuting the case against former crime intelligence boss Mulangi Mphego, who was charged with defeating the ends of justice. His case was later struck off the court roll because of the state's delays in pursuing the matter.

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Explosion in Sirte Reported to Kill 100

A hundred dead in an explosion in Sirte

ennahar 25 October, 2011 08:49:00

About a hundred people have died and fifty others were injured Monday in an explosion in a fuel tank in Sirte, Libya, according to an official of the Libyan national transitional council (NTC).

About a hundred people have died and fifty others were injured Monday in an explosion in a fuel tank in Sirte, Libya, according to an official of the Libyan national transitional council (NTC).

A massive explosion was followed by a huge fire that had killed over one hundred people and left at least fifty wounded who were lining up to get fuel.

The incident occurred Monday near the airport of Sirte, south of the city where two large fuel tanks, the same source said.

Sirte was the last bastion of Gaddafi, where he was captured together with his son Moatassim before being tortured and killed under very strenuous conditions by crowds of NTC fighters, thirsty for revenge.

Ennaharonline/ M. O.

Fuel depot blast in Libya’s Sirte kills 100: commander

On October 25, 2011

SIRTE, (AFP) – A fuel tank exploded near Moamer Kadhafi’s hometown Sirte killing more than 100 people, less than a week after he was captured and killed in the Libyan city, a military chief said Tuesday.

“There was an enormous explosion and a huge fire. More than 100 people were killed and 50 others wounded” in Monday’s blast, a National Transitional Council (NTC) commander, Leith Mohammed, told AFP.

He said the scene was “a heart wrenching spectacle with dozens of charred bodies.”

“We are still unable to put out the fire,” caused by a spark from a nearby electricity generator, said Mohammed.

The accidental explosion came as a crowd of people waited near the fuel tank to fill up their cars.

An AFP correspondent said the tragedy took place near Sirte airport, some 30 kilometres (18 miles) south of the Mediterranean city, hometown and last bastion of Libya’s slain veteran leader Kadhafi.

A radio station and two large fuel reservoirs stand nearby, said the correspondent, who saw at least 29 vehicles blackened by huge flames that shot into the sky, burnt shoes, melted plastic jerrycans and shreds of clothing.

“The explosion happened yesterday (Monday) at around noon,” said Ali Faraj who helped evacuate the wounded. “It was very strong. I live 25 kilometres away and I heard it.”

Faraj angrily complained that no ambulances were available to ferry the wounded to hospital.

“There were no ambulances for the wounded, no trucks for the firefighters, and we couldn’t put out the fire … because the revolutionaries (new regime fighters) stole all the vehicles,” he said.

Omran Ajelli, a doctor at Ibn Sina hospital in Sirte, said he treated 26 people, five of them “in critical state” with severe burns, and three bodies were brought in, with the other casualties apparently taken elsewhere.

The five critical wounded “should be transferred to Tripoli for treatment but we have no cars, we have nothing here” to transport them, he said. “I am desperate.”

Three doctors only still work at Ibn Sina but there are no nurses to look after hundreds of patients, wounded in fighting, and the hospital is in dire need of medicine, Ajelli said.

Some residents have returned to the town, the last bastion of resistance by Kadhafi loyalists, which fell last Thursday, to inspect damage to their properties, the NTC commander added.

No building was spared in the weeks of fierce combat backed by daily NATO air strikes that reduced the Mediterranean city to rubble, a ghost town filled with the stench of death, where bodies still littered the streets on Monday.

Some of Sirte’s residents, who numbered 120,000 before the conflict, have returned to salvage the remains of their personal belongings. But few are expected to stay.

On Tuesday, Human Rights Watch raised concern about the vast stockpiles of unguarded weapons around the city and called on the NTC to secure these sites to prevent further looting.

The UN humanitarian coordinator for Libya, Georg Charpentier, was in Sirte on Tuesday ahead of missions of assess humanitarian aid for the city and for Bani Walid, another of the last pro-Kadhafi holdouts, his office said.


MattAH84--This was a terrorist attack, and it took place less than a week after Ghadafi was killed. Sirte is where Ghadafi was born and where the rebels could not enter for their lives the past couple weeks until NATO bombed everything loyalist that they could down to nothing. Horrible and inhumane acts done by the U.S., France, and Great Britain. Oh yeah, and the rebels who not only performed a terrorist attack in Sirte yesterday, but tied up and executed at least 53 loyalists in Sirte as well after they caught Ghadafi.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Eurozone Debt Deal Welcomed by China

Eurozone debt deal welcomed

Updated: 2011-10-28 08:02

By Li Xiang and Zheng Yangpeng (China Daily)

Hu: China hopes measures will stabilize world financial markets

BEIJING - China welcomed the deal on Thursday to tackle the eurozone debt crisis and expressed its willingness to help boost global economic recovery.

European leaders sealed a last-ditch agreement after days of negotiation. Their plan is to reduce Greece's debt by 50 percent and expand the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), the eurozone's bailout fund, to 1 trillion euros ($1.4 trillion) from 440 billion euros.

The European debt plan is "conducive to lifting market confidence" and China supported the measures adopted by the European Union (EU) to tackle the financial crisis, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said at a news briefing.

"The plan will promote the sustainable economic development of the EU and the eurozone, and will inject new vitality into European integration," Jiang said, adding that China was ready to increase cooperation with the EU in investment, trade and finance.

European nations are also looking to boost the EFSF fund through investment from cash-rich emerging economies such as China. But Jiang declined to comment on whether China would participate in Europe's special rescue fund.

On Thursday, President Hu Jintao spoke with French President Nicolas Sarkozy by telephone on global economic issues and next month's G20 summit in Cannes, France.

Hu told Sarkozy that he hoped the measures would "help Europe stabilize financial markets, overcome difficulties and push forward economic recovery and development", according to the Foreign Ministry website.

Hu said he also hoped that next week's G20 meeting would send a "strong signal to promote stability".

Analysts said that China should extend support to EU efforts to tackle the ongoing financial turmoil because it is threatening the demand for Chinese exports to the region. However, they said China should be cautious about the risk of investing in European sovereign bonds.

"China would like to see the EU find a solution toward sustainable recovery. But the specific method should be evaluated very carefully," said Zhang Yuyan, director of the Institute of World Economics and Politics with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Analysts said that China is unlikely to invest directly in European sovereign debt because of the high risk. But it has been reported that China may help the EU boost its bailout fund through the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Zhong Wei, director of the Financial Research Center at Beijing Normal University, said that China's aid through the IMF is in line with European efforts to bolster the IMF's role in dealing with the regional economic woes.

"It will also help China gain a greater say in the global financial system," he said. But Zhong noted that the main concern for China is still whether the EU can act in unity.

"It is like a fire in a house. It is unreasonable for the owner to call his neighbor to put it out if the owner did not try to put it out first," he said.

However, some analysts said that aid from China would boost market confidence only in the short term and it would not solve the debt crisis.

"Money and debt write-downs cannot solve the Greek problem. Europe has to rely on itself to adjust the pattern of its economic growth and to deal with the structural problems in its economy," said Tan Yaling, head of the China Foreign Exchange Investment Research Institute.

Some experts argued that China's contribution to the bailout fund should be matched with rights, such as an increase in its voting quota at the IMF and recognition of its market economy status. Europe should also open its markets wider to facilitate more direct investment from China, they said.

Klaus Regling, chief executive of the EFSF, is scheduled to visit China on Friday to meet with buyers of bonds issued by the bailout fund and discuss how China might contribute to the fund.

China Daily

(China Daily 10/28/2011 page1)

US-French Supported Kenyan Invasion Into Somalia Causes Devastating Blowback

Kenya’s Somali mission causes a devastating blowback at home

geoffrey york
JOHANNESBURG— From Friday's Globe and Mail

For 20 years, Somalia has been a deadly quagmire for foreign troops: American, Ethiopian, even Canadian. Now another country, Kenya, is learning the risks of sending soldiers into one of the world’s most dangerous and war-torn states.

Less than two weeks after ordering hundreds of its troops across the Somali border in a bold military offensive, Kenya is already seeing a rising toll in collateral damage. Three grenade attacks inside Kenya, including one on Thursday, have killed five civilians and injured scores more in suspected retaliatory attacks by Somali militants and their allies.

The grenade attacks will inflict severe damage on Kenya’s tourism industry, a key sector of the economy. Foreign embassies have issued warnings to travellers to stay away from the East African country, and hotels in Nairobi are already seeing cancellations. The kidnapping of four Western aid workers and tourists by Somali gunmen in Kenya has further damaged the tourism industry.

The Kenyan invasion is also hampering refugee movements and aid deliveries by the international famine relief effort, which is trying to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in southern and central Somalia, where up to 80,000 people have already died. The number of Somali refugees reaching Kenya has plunged dramatically, from an average of about 1,000 daily last month to just 100 a day this week.

“Escalating fighting across the south of Somalia is making it even more difficult for our partners to safely deliver life-saving support to children and their families,” said Elhadj As Sy, a senior official of Unicef, the United Nations fund for children.

As for the military offensive itself, it has become bogged down in heavy rains and mud in southern Somalia, with few gains except empty desert so far. Despite logistical support from France and its own tanks and warplanes, Kenya’s troops have still not captured their first key target, the strategic town of Afmadow, 100 kilometres from the Kenyan border, where the Somali militant group al-Shabab is preparing its defences.

The Kenyan forces clashed with al-Shabab fighters on Thursday for the first time. Kenya said it killed nine al-Shabab insurgents and suffered two injuries on its own side.

“The history of recent foreign military interventions in Somalia is universally bad,” said Roger Middleton, an Africa analyst at the Chatham House think tank in London. “Foreign troops entering Somalia have often left behind a situation that is worse than the one they sought to improve.”

The United States withdrew its forces from Somalia in 1994 after the notorious Black Hawk Down battle, where 18 of its soldiers were killed in the bloodiest U.S. combat loss since Vietnam. Canada pulled its troops out of Somalia after revelations that some of its soldiers had participated in the torture and beating death of a Somali civilian.

In 2006, Ethiopia sent thousands of its troops into Somalia, but failed to pacify the country. Instead the invasion strengthened the influence of the Islamist radicals of al-Shabab, who gained control of southern Somalia and Mogadishu after the Ethiopians pulled out.

The Islamist militants, who have links to al-Qaeda, had vowed to take revenge in Kenya after Kenya launched its invasion. Last week, the U.S. government warned of “an imminent threat of terrorist attacks” at malls and nightclubs in Kenya. And then the grenade attacks began.

On Monday, one person was killed and scores were injured in two grenade attacks at a bus stop and a bar in Nairobi. Two days later, a Kenyan man pleaded guilty to one of the attacks and identified himself as a member of al-Shabab. The attacks show how the Somalia conflict is spilling across borders and mutating into hit-and-run terrorist tactics.

On Thursday, in the latest attack, heavily armed gunmen in northern Kenya ambushed a civilian vehicle with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns, killing four people, including a school teacher and a government official. Al-Shabab militants were again the suspected culprits.

One of al-Shabab’s senior leaders, Sheik Muktar Robow, said on Thursday that he is telling militants in Kenya to launch bombing attacks. “A hand grenade is nothing,” he told hundreds of Shabab supporters in a rally near Mogadishu. “We want you to carry out big painful blows to Kenya.”

Last week, al-Shabab publicly displayed the bodies of dozens of soldiers that it claimed to have killed in Mogadishu, including many Burundians from an African Union peacekeeping mission. In an attempt to portray the conflict as a religious war, they displayed Bibles and crucifixes from the Burundian soldiers.

Cleric Resigns Amid Occupy London Crackdown by British Government

Cleric resigns amid Occupy London Crackdown

By Melanie Eversley, USA TODAY

The canon chancellor of St. Paul's Cathedral in London has resigned because he could not take the thought of potential violence to control the protesters of Occupy London Stock Exchange who have camped in front of the historic church, The Guardian is reporting.

Giles Fraser, seen standing on the steps of St. Paul's Cathedral, made his resignation announcement via Twitter.CAPTIONBy Alex Diaz, APGiles Fraser made his announcement via Twitter, writing, "It is with great regret and sadness that I have handed in my notice at St. Paul's Cathedral."

Police are preparing to take action against the protesters whose tents first went up 13 days ago, the Guardian reports.

Organizers of the protest, which encompasses hundreds of tents, say they have no intention of moving from the neighborhood, which also includes London's financial center. They say this in spite of repeated requests from the cathedral, the bishop of London, the mayor and other officials, according to the Guardian.

Officials have cited health and safety reasons. Though St. Paul's was closed to the public after the protesters set up shop, it will reopen on Friday after what the news organization calls an "amicable reshuffle of tents."

"St. Paul was a tentmaker," Fraser tells the Guardian. "If you looked around and tried to recreate where Jesus would be born, for me, I could imagine Jesus being born in the camp."

He adds, "It is not about my sympathies or what I believe about the camp. I support the right to protest and in a perfect world we could have negotiated. But our legal advice was that this would have implied consent. The church cannot answer peaceful protest with violence."

Word surfaced Wednesday that Fraser was threatening to resign over the Occupy London developments.