Sunday, November 30, 2008

NEW DELHI - Home Minister Shivraj Patil has submitted his resignation over the attacks in Mumbai that killed nearly 200 people, the ruling Congress party said on Sunday.
"Shivraj Patil has tendered his resignation," Veerappa Moily, a senior Congress party leader, told Reuters. It was not immediately known if Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had accepted the resignation.
Indians blazed criticism against their political leaders on Sunday after the attacks in Mumbai that killed almost 200 people, saying their bickering and ineptness was at least partly responsible.
As commandos gunned down the last of the militants, TV channels were divided between covering the operations and an outpouring of venom against both the ruling Congress party-led coalition and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
"These are the people who are responsible for the system," author and columnist Shoba De, a Mumbai resident, said on one talk show.
"The city would not have suffered the way it has had it not been for the complete and total abrogation of duty and the kind of negligence we've seen, the kind of indifference we've seen."
Sunday newspapers were also unforgiving.
"Our politicians fiddle as innocents die," the Times of India said in a front-page comment.
It said while the attacks engulfed Mumbai and hundreds were held hostage, saving them took precedence.
"But today, as heaps of bodies lie in is time to ask our politicians, are you going back to playing politics with our lives? Or are you going to do something worthwhile with yours?"
The Congress-party government was blamed for the loopholes that allowed the heavily-armed Islamist attackers to come across the seas to land in Mumbai. Others decried the Hindu nationalist BJP for seeking electoral advantage.
"There is rage," wrote a Mumbai resident in a blog published in the Indian Express. "A simmering against our so-called leaders. A simmering against the unpreparedness for this attack."
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Sunday, November 30, 2008
By Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz
Eight hostages inside the Chabad center were killed, including Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka. All of the victims were Jewish, Israeli or both.
Israeli and international media quoted Israeli security officials as claiming the operation was risky and premature. Indian media published the criticisms at length, and although there has yet to be an official reaction from the Indian government, local journalists and television commentators have reacted strongly.
They accuse Israel of casting doubt on the effectiveness of their "brave" Indian commandos, and claim that Israel has a bad record in hostage-rescue operations, aside from the successful Operation Entebbe in 1976.
Eli Blotserkovski, the political envoy to the Israeli embassy in New Delhi, told Haaretz, "This emphasizes the need for all the international community, not just India and Israel, to act in a coordinated manner against terrorism."
Another Israeli diplomat in India said Israel needs to be careful not to criticize India.
"Particularly in the present situation we have an important strategic relationship with them and we stand with them in a shared struggle against terrorism," he said.

TEL AVIV - Earlier, Israeli counter terrorism experts are critical of how Indian security forces handled last week's terror attacks in Mumbai, especially their raid on the local Chabad center, Nariman House.
Col. (res.) Lior Lotan, formerly a senior officer in the army's elite Sayeret Matkal unit, said the Indians had operated as if there were no hostages.
"When you're rescuing captives, you enter fast, with maximum force, and try to reach the hostages as quickly as possible, even at the price of casualties," he said. "Here, they operated much more cautiously." Television pictures from Nariman House also raised questions about the professionalism of the Indian forces. For instance, it is not clear why the area was not cleared of bystanders, or why the comparatively risky option of a helicopter-borne assault was chosen.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

NEW DELHI - Several of the Islamist militants who attacked Mumbai this week visited the city a few months ago and lived there for a while pretending to be students, the Times of India reported on Saturday.

Quoting from interrogation reports of one of the militants taken into custody, the newspaper said nine militants rented an apartment in the Colaba area of downtown Mumbai, near where the attacks were carried out.

The group often visited the two luxury hotels that were among the city landmarks attacked on Wednesday night, it added.

The militants, who were mainly Pakistanis, pretended to be Malaysians during their reconnaissance visit, the newspaper said.

At least 10 militants slipped into Mumbai this week after hijacking an Indian fishing trawler in international waters and killing the four crew, it said. They came ashore in rubber dinghies and the trawler was found abandoned off Mumbai.

In all, 16 militants took part in the attack, the newspaper said, but it did not give details on how the others may have entered the city.

At least 144 people have been killed and more than 280 wounded in the attacks. Indian commandos were still trying to flush out two or three militants holed up in the Taj Mahal hotel.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR - Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Barisan Nasional (BN) will embark on new measures to improve the country's political situation.

He said the last general election was a lesson well learned by the ruling coalition in that BN needed to change for the better.

"We have to embark on a course to make things better, to address some of the concerns, some of the grievances of each community and hopefully with the new measures we will institute, things will get better politically," he said.

Speaking in an interview with BBC aired tonight, Najib who is BN deputy chairman said although the coalition had been denied two thirds majority, the people had given it the mandate to form the government.

"Of course we did not do well in the last general election but we have the majority, a good working majority," he said.

"The result is an indicative of a vibrant democracy in Malaysia," he said.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

SHAH ALAM, -- Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) should focus on strengthening the five Pakatan Rakyat state governments and not on taking over the federal government, said a PKR Youth delegate.
Melaka youth deputy because chief Zamzirul Nordin said this was because not all PKR leaders had the experience to shoulder the responsibility and trust as many of the pledges during the last general election had yet to be fulfilled.

He asked the youth wing to give financial aid to youth at state and division levels, particularly those in states ruled by Barisan Nasional (BN) so that more efforts could be made to attract new members.
"The aid is necessary as some PKR members do not have regular income. Many who used to have cars have been reduced to pedestrians while those who had wives are now left alone. Such is their sacrifice to the party," he said when debating the policy address by the PKR Youth leader here today.

Penang deputy chief Ahmad Azrizal Tahir took PKR elected representatives in the state to task for failing to visit their contituencies since they won the seats at the general election in March.

"They should be working for the people. Don't behave like former elected representatives," he said.

PKR Youth would be presenting the minimum wage and education system motions at the party national congress here tomorrow.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

The Philippine government will continue peace efforts with Muslim separatists despite the withdrawal of Malaysian ceasefire monitors, chief peace negotiator Hermogenes Esperon said Friday.
Esperon expressed his "profound gratitude" to Brunei, Libya and Japan for agreeing to extend their participation in the peace process.
"Malaysia's decision to suspend its participation in the IMT (International Monitoring Team) will not deter us from seeking ways and means in pursuing the resumption of the stalled peace talks," said Esperon.
His statement came after Malaysian Foreign Minister Rais Yatim said Malaysia would not renew its mandate in the southern Philippines when it expires on November 30.
Malaysian troops have made up the bulk of the small international monitoring team which has overseen a 2003 ceasefire between the Philippine government and separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Although the ceasefire generally still holds, fighting between government troops and factions of the heavily-armed, 12,000-strong MILF broke out in August after the Supreme Court suspended a draft accord which would have paved the way for a semi-autonomous Muslim state.
Since then, scores of people have died and more than half a million civilians have been displaced by the fighting in the south.
Philippine President Gloria Arroyo called off further talks with the rebels, saying dialogue would only resume when they had laid down their weapons.
Malaysia's contingent recently totaled 40 troops with a dozen monitors from Japan, Libya and Brunei.
Esperon said the Philippines "profusely thanks Malaysia for heading the International Monitoring Team for four years as well as for facilitating in the conduct of the peace talks."
Meanwhile, commenting on Malaysia's withdrawal, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement calling on the Philippine government and the MILF "to make efforts to break the deadlock with a flexible attitude and to resume the peace negotiations".
"The government of Japan has been concerned about the worsening situation" in the southern Philippines since the suspension of the draft accord, the statement added.
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Friday, November 28, 2008

(From left) Lee Teck Yong, Yeoh Siew Tin, T. Devindran and M. Saravanan.
KLANG: A gang of six went on a rampage in Taman Sentosa on Wednesday night, killing two and leaving five seriously injured in separate attacks.
The parang-wielding gangsters, believed to be high on drugs, randomly picked their victims before viciously attacking and robbing them.
Their night of madness began when they slashed a woman, who tried to protect her 13-year-old daughter, outside a furniture shop in Jalan Raja Nong about 9pm.
Shop owner Lee Teck Yong had just fetched his daughter from tuition class and had reached his shop when they were confronted by the thugs who arrived on motorcycles. They grabbed hold of the girl and put a parang to her neck, demanding her bag.

She was about to hand it over when her 35-year-old mother, Yeoh Siew Tin, rushed to help her. Yeoh tried to shield her daughter but the robbers swung a parang at her neck. Her husband was also slashed on the head when he went to her aid. The robbers then fled the scene.
Despite being injured, Lee carried his wife to his car and drove to the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital here but she was pronounced dead on arrival. Lee was admitted to the emergency ward and discharged yesterday morning.
Not satisfied with the way the first robbery turned out, the robbers struck next at a kongsi in front of a fast-food outlet in the same housing estate. They slashed a security guard on the head and hands, and slashed an Indonesian worker on the leg. They then robbed both of them.
Their next targets were three men taking shelter from the rain in front of an empty shoplot in Jalan Hulubalang 10. The victims, T. Devindran, 19, M. Saravanan, 27, and another identified only as Shahrul, 24, were ordered to give up their valuables and, even after doing so, were viciously slashed. Devindran was slashed on the neck, Shahrul had the tip of his nose sliced off while Saravanan was slashed on the head.All three ran towards their homes some 100 metres away but Devindran collapsed on the road.
Neighbours rushed them to hospital but Devindran died of his injuries several hours later. Doctors managed to reattach the tip of Shahrul's nose.
At the hospital mortuary yesterday, a tearful Lee said: "My wife was only protecting our daughter." The couple also has two sons aged 9 and 14.
Devindran's father, Thangavelu, said his son had been staying with his sister for a few months.
He was working as a lorry attendant. He described Thevindran as well-behaved and well-liked.
District police chief Assistant Commissioner Mohamad Mat Yusop said police had carried out several operations in Kampung Jawa and Taman Sentosa but no suspects were arrested.
He said the brutality of the crimes suggested that the suspects might have been on drugs, adding that a task force had been set up to hunt down the suspects.
Mohamad said initial checks revealed that the gang usually struck in a large group.
Police also believed that the gang was involved in the sodomy and murder of a Thai man in Sungai Buloh on Tuesday.

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Friday, November 28, 2008
Kota Kinabalu: Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Raymond Tan was on Wednesday told to stop "insulting the intelligence of people in Sabah" and focus on the various issues that are still plaguing the State and its people.

"Do a favour for the people of Sandakan by making full use of your last days in the Cabinet to call off the proposed coal-fired power plant instead," said Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) Information Officer, Chong Pit Fah, in a statement.

He was responding to Tan's remarks on Monday that he might abandon the formation of a new political party, citing that his main task now was to win back the people's support for Barisan Nasional (BN) following the pulling out of SAPP on Sept. 17.

Chong urged Tan to be more conscientious when supporting the controversial coal-fired power plant project for Sandakan, which will be sited at Seguntur Bay.

"Can he (Tan) guarantee that the project will not cause any grave impact to the environment as well as those living in the surrounding areas? "The fact that the State Government had rejected the plant in Lahad Datu in April this year on environmental grounds effectively means that it should be scrapped in total.
"If it's not safe for Lahad Datu, how can it be safe for Sandakan?," he asked.

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Friday, November 28, 2008
Malaysia said Thursday it was withdrawing its troops from an international peacekeeping mission in the troubled southern Philippines amid stalled peace talks between the Philippine government and Muslim separatist rebels.
Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim said Malaysia's troops were pulling out of the southern region of Mindanao as scheduled on Nov 30.
He said Malaysia, which has led the international monitoring team (IMT) in Mindanao since 2004, would consider rejoining the mission if the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) make progress in peace negotiations.
'Malaysia remains supportive of the peace process and hopes that both sides opt for dialogue and negotiations in bringing about a peaceful solution in Mindanao,' he said in a statement.
'Malaysia is prepared to consider its future participation in the IMT, when there is progress in the peace process and a formal request is made by both the peace panels of the government of the Philippine and the MILF,' he added.
The 30-member IMT, which also includes Brunei, Libya and Japan, has helped implement a five-year ceasefire between the Philippine government and the MILF.
The team was originally scheduled to leave Mindanao in August but its mission was extended until November 30 on appeal of the Philippine government and the MILF.
On Wednesday, presidential peace adviser Hermogenes Esperon called for the continued stay of the IMT in Mindanao to ensure that recent hostilities between the military and the MILF do not escalate further.
Fighting has been on and off between the military and the MILF rebels since August when the guerrillas launched a series of deadly attacks in Mindanao.
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Friday, November 28, 2008
They came wearing black hoods, firing automatic weapons and throwing grenades. They took hostages and attacked two hotels, a movie theater, a cafĂ©, a train station and other popular and undefended “soft targets.”
Who are they? The answer to that question remained in dispute Thursday as security officials and experts attempted to untangle the few clues as to the attackers’ likely identity.
All we know, they claimed them self 'Deccan Mujahideen'.

Deccan is a neighborhood of the Indian city of Hyderabad. The word also describes the middle and south of India, which is dominated by the Deccan Plateau. Mujahedeen is the commonly used Arabic word for holy fighters. But the combination of the two, said Sajjan Gohel, a security analyst in London, is a “front name. This group is nonexistent.”

Some global terrorism experts with experience in South Asia said that, based on the tactics used in the attacks, the group was probably not linked to Al Qaeda — although that assertion was challenged by other experts.

Christine Fair, senior political scientist and a South Asia expert at the RAND Corporation, was careful to say that the identity of the terrorists could not yet be known. But she insisted the style of the attacks and the targets in Mumbai suggested the militants were likely to be Indian Muslims and not linked to Al Qaeda or Lashkar-e-Taiba, Another violent South Asian terrorist group.“There’s absolutely nothing Al Qaeda-like about it,” she said of the attack. “Did you see any suicide bombers? And there are no fingerprints of Lashkar. They don’t do hostage-taking and they don’t do grenades.”

Ms. Fair said one incident — “a watershed event” — that continues to anger Muslims were the riots that swept Gujarat State near Mumbai in 2002. The violence killed between 1,000 and 2,000 people, most of them Muslims. “There are a lot of very, very angry Muslims in India,” she said, “The economic disparities are startling and India has been very slow to publicly embrace its rising Muslim problem. You cannot put lipstick on this pig. This is a major domestic political challenge for India.”

The public political face of India says, “Our Muslims have not been radicalized.’ But the Indian intelligence apparatus knows that’s not true. India’s Muslim communities are being sucked into the global landscape of Islamist jihad,” she said. “Indians will have a strong incentive to link this to Al Qaeda. “Al Qaeda’s in your toilet!’ But this is a domestic issue.

This is not India’s 9/11.”Mark McDonald reported from Hong Kong; Alan Cowell from Paris; Souad Mekhennet from Frankfurt, Germany; and Salman Masood from Islamabad.
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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Six foreigners among 125 dead in Mumbai - police

MUMBAI - At least 125 people have been killed in attacks by gunmen in Mumbai, police said on Thursday.
"At least six foreigners have been killed and the death figure has gone up to 125 now. This included fourteen police officers and Chief of Police of Indian Anti-Terrorist Squad." Ramesh Tayde, a senior police officer told Reuters from Mumbai's control room."We have a figure of more than 327 people injured. We managed to kill eight gunmen and arrested nine others."
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil said on Thursday that there could be between 100 and 200 guests and workers trapped in the Trident-Oberoi Hotel, with 10-12 militants also inside.
"There could be 100-200 people inside the hotel, but we cannot give you the exact figure as many people have locked themselves inside their rooms," R.R. Patil told reporters."There could be 10-12 terrorists inside the hotel. There are no negotiations with the terrorists."
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Thursday, November 27, 2008

n organization calling itself Deccan Mujahideen claimed it was behind the devastating attacks on at least seven high-profile sites in India's financial capital, motive remains unclear.
Gunmen have opened fire at a number of sites in the Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay), killing at least 80 people and injuring about 200 more.
Police said shooting was continuing and that the incidents were co-ordinated terrorist attacks. Gunmen have taken hostages at two hotels and a hospital.At least seven sites have been targeted across India's financial capital.A fire is sweeping through the Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai's most famous hotel which is now ringed by troops.
The BBC's Andrew Whitehead says a claim of responsibility by a little-known group, Deccan Mujahideen, may harden suspicions that Islamic radicals are involved.
But there are other possible culprits, our correspondent says.
The motive is far from clear - but the attacks come amid elections in several Indian states, including in disputed Kashmir.
In the latest developments:

  • Commandos have surrounded two hotels, the Taj Mahal Palace and the Oberoi, where gunmen are reported to be holding dozens of hostages, including foreigners
  • Police say an explosion heard inside the Oberoi was from a hand grenade, and flames and a massive plume of smoke are billowing from the Taj Mahal hotel
  • The head of Mumbai's anti-terrorism unit and two other senior officers are among those killed, according to local TV
  • A witness told local television that the gunmen were looking for people with British or US passports
  • The US and the UK have both condemned the attacks and Washington says it is "assessing the hostage situation"

Gunmen opened fire at about 2300 local time at sites in southern Mumbai including a train station, two five-star hotels, a hospital and a restaurant popular with tourists.
Police said the gunmen had fired indiscriminately.
"The terrorists have used automatic weapons and in some places grenades have been lobbed," said AN Roy, police commissioner of Maharashtra state.
At least 10 people were killed at the main station Chhatrapati Shivaji railway station, they said.
Some gunmen were still holed up in buildings that had been targeted, officials said.
Mr Roy said gunmen were holding people hostage at the Taj Mahal Palace and Oberoi hotels.
Local TV images showed blood-splattered streets, bodies being taken into ambulances and dramatic shots of what appeared to fresh blasts inside the Taj Mahal hotel.
One eyewitness told the BBC he had seen a gunman opening fire in the Taj Mahal's lobby.
He said he had seen people fall before he fled the lobby.
"All I saw was one man on foot carrying a machine gun type of weapon - which I then saw him firing from and I saw people hitting the floor, people right next to me," he said.
There has been a wave of bombings in Indian cities in recent months which has left scores of people dead.
Most of the attacks have been blamed on Muslim militants, although police have also arrested suspected Hindu extremists.
A series of attacks in Mumbai in July 2006 killed almost 190 people and injured more than 700.
Bombs were detonated on commuter trains during rush hour.
Police accused Pakistan's intelligence agency of planning the attacks, which they said were carried out by an Islamist militant group, Lashkar-e-Toiba.
Pakistan rejected the allegation, saying there was no evidence that its intelligence staff were involved.
The shootings come at a time when ties between India and Pakistan have improved, and days after Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari told a summit in Delhi that Pakistan would not be first to carry out a missile strike on India.
The two countries have a joint anti-terror mechanism whereby they are supposed to share information on terrorist attacks.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008
Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat has rejected calls by the country's military chief to stand down.
Army leader Gen Anupong Paochinda had asked him to call snap elections to end months of political deadlock.
But Mr Somchai said his government was legitimate and that he would continue to work for the country.
The call came after anti-government protesters occupied Bangkok's main airport and forced its closure, a move the Mr Somchai called illegal.
"I reassure the people that this government, which is legitimate and came from elections, will keep functioning until the end," Mr Somchai said in a televised address.
"My position is not important. But democratic values are," he said, speaking from the northern city of Chiang Mai.
He returned from a foreign trip earlier in the day but was unable to land in Bangkok because of the airport blockade.
'No coup'

Thai court has ordered the protesters - who belong to the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) - to leave Suvarnabhumi airport.
But the protesters say they will stay until the government resigns, and have brought in food and blankets.
All flights have been cancelled and thousands of Thais and foreign tourists are stranded in the Thai capital.
Thailand has been in a state of political stalemate since former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted in a military coup in 2006.
Fresh elections at the end of 2007 failed to resolve the crisis, when a party made up of former allies of Mr Thaksin returned to power.
Gen Anupong's call for polls earlier in the day heightened speculation that a military coup could be imminent.
But the army chief denied that was his plan, saying the government still had "full authority".
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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

BANGKOK - Thailand's army chief stepped in Wednesday to end a spiraling political crisis, telling the prime minister to call new elections and ordering protesters to end their siege of Bangkok's main airport.
General Anupong Paojinda denied he was staging a coup, but with the airport and government offices now in the control of demonstrators and lawlessness spreading he said premier Somchai Wongsawat should dissolve parliament.
The plight of thousands of foreign tourists left stranded at the three-billion-dollar Suvarnabhumi Airport underlined the turmoil threatening Thailand's vital tourism industry and hitting the economy.
"We will send him (Somchai) a letter to inform that he must dissolve the house and call new elections," Anupong told a news conference after an urgent meeting of military and business leaders to address the crisis.
"This is not a coup," the army chief said, dressed in his uniform. "The government still has full authority. These points are the way to solve the problem which has plunged the country into a deep crisis."
"As army chief, if I launch a coup the problems would be solved once and for all. But there would be a lot of consequences including the international reaction," he added.
Somchai arrived home from a foreign trip about an hour after the army chief spoke out but the premier -- the brother-in-law of ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra -- said he had made no decision on elections.
"I don't know... I have not yet made any decision," Somchai told reporters at the airport in the northern city of Chiang Mai, where his flight was diverted amid the chaos, before being whisked away by aides.
The People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) -- a coalition of royalists, Bangkok's old elite and the middle class that wants to topple the government -- stormed Suvarnabhumi Airport late Tuesday in a fresh twist to the crisis.
As they tightened their grip on the facility on Wednesday, two people were hurt in a blast at the airport and thousands of travellers were left in limbo on the third day of PAD's renewed protest campaign.
"The PAD must disperse immediately from every place they occupy," Anupong said.
Protest leaders quickly rejected the army chief's statement and said they would stay at the airport, where demonstrators began to take up positions inside the terminal after most passengers were finally evacuated.
"The solution is not the dissolution of parliament. If premier Somchai (Wongsawat) resigns then we will talk again about whether we will negotiate," core PAD leader Pibhop Dhongchai said at the terminal.
The alliance launched its campaign in May, accusing Somchai's government of being a corrupt puppet of the charismatic Thaksin, who was toppled in a 2006 coup and remains in exile after being convicted in absentia for corruption.
Its latest actions infuriated tourists at Suvarnabhumi -- a hub for travel throughout Southeast Asia -- which remained shut on Wednesday, with airport director Saereerat Prasutanont saying 3,000 people were still there.
Angry travellers had earlier began leaving on buses provided by airport authorities, but some remained.
"I went to ask the staff at the counters but no one was there. Then I didn't know that they had buses for the tourists so I am still stuck here," said Andre Weise, 37-year-old tourist from Germany.
As the passengers trickled out of the airport -- the world's 17th busiest -- many of the 8,000 PAD demonstrators who had been rallying outside entered the terminal moved in, setting up makeshift food stalls and floor mats.
The government has tried to avoid a repeat of clashes between protesters and police on October 7 that left two people dead and nearly 500 injured, but it has merely fuelled its problems.
Somchai's administration has been effectively paralysed since protesters occupied the prime ministerial offices in central Bangkok in August, forcing him to work from makeshift premises at the old Don Mueang airport.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008
WASHINGTON - Israel is asking U.S. President George W. Bush to describe to his successor, Barack Obama, the American commitment to ensure that its strategic deterrence is not compromised. The subject was the focus of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's farewell meeting in the White House on Monday with Bush and top administration officials.
"I discussed with the president and his most senior staff issues connected to the core of the special relationship between Israel and the U.S., strategic matters of the utmost importance, and the ability to preserve those ties in the coming years," Olmert told reporters Tuesday.
Top administration officials told Olmert there was no point in a presidential letter from Bush, since it would not bind Obama. The sides decided instead on a list, compiled by the White House and delivered to Obama's transition team, that reviews all understandings and agreements.

In addition to the nuclear issue, Israel is also hoping to receive promised military aid and advanced weapons systems, and to restrict the U.S. supply of advanced weapons to Arab states.
Leading Israeli officials are concerned that if the United States begins talks with Iran in an effort to halt its nuclear program and development of additional nuclear programs in the Middle East, Washington will call for restrictions on Israel's nuclear capability as well. Such concerns are heightened by the support expressed by Obama and Hillary Clinton, who is expected to be appointed secretary of state, for global nuclear disarmament, a plan raised by four top American foreign policy officials: former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and George Shultz, former defense secretary William Perry and former senator Sam Nunn.
The Obama administration is expected to accelerate arms control efforts. One of the ideas being discusses it not new and caused tension between Israel and the Clinton administration.
Israel and the United States have a longtime understanding on the nuclear issue, which was reached between former prime minister Golda Meir and former president Richard Nixon in 1969. Israel promised at that time that it would hew to a policy of ambiguity. In 1977 Israel asked Kissinger, who helped formulate the nuclear understanding, to explain it to incoming president Jimmy Carter, who wanted to push arms control and nonproliferation. The nuclear understanding has been continued through successive Israeli and American leaders.
When Benjamin Netanyahu was prime minister, he requested - and received - a letter of guarantees from then-president Bill Clinton in which he promised the United States would work toward preserving Israel's strategic deterrence and make sure arms control initiatives in the Middle East would not harm Israel. Clinton sent a letter enumerating the same assurances to Netanyahu's successor, Ehud Barak.
Later, Olmert said the U.S. has not advised Israel to restrain itself from taking action it deemed necessary against Iran's nuclear program.But the outgoing Israeli leader stopped short of making any threat to strike Iran.
"I can't recall that anyone in the [U.S.] administration, including in the last couple of days, advised me or any of my official representatives not to take any action that we will deem necessary for the fundamental security of the state of Israel, and that includes Iran," Olmert
By : Aluf Benn
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Wednesday, November 26, 2008
KUALA LUMPUR, (Bernama) The fear among some quarters in the country that learning and using English would erode the importance of Bahasa Malaysia is unfounded, said former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Dr Mahathir said he was criticised by nationalists for wanting the government to continue teaching Science and Mathematics in English, but English was the only language where Malaysians could gain much knowledge in these two subjects.

"Before I stepped down as prime minister, I introduced this system because I felt it was necessary for us to gain knowledge. If we are going to translate all the works of Science and Mathematics into Bahasa Malaysia, then it would take a long time and we would lose out.

"But lately there has been a debate about this and that we need to revert to the old system of using Bahasa Malaysia to teach and learn Science and Maths.

"The Education Ministry is going to decide on this very soon. There are pros and cons to this and I do worry about it. Our people should know how to read, write and speak the national language but at the same time to gain knowledge, they should learn and use English.

He said the amount of new knowledge was coming out "fast and furious" and Malaysians needed to grasp the knowledge, which were mostly in English.

"I hope I can stop the government from going back to using Bahasa Malaysia to teach Maths and Science but I am no more in power. We have to accept whatever the decision although it may not be that good for the country."

He added that the reason that Malaysia lacked teachers to teach the two subjects in English should not be an excuse because teachers could be substituted by computer software, "which is better than teachers sometimes".

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Kota Kinabalu: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa said State leaders had met with Federal counterparts several times to seek a possible review of the present 5 per cent oil royalty rate but is also realistic that any positive outcome will take a long time.

He said this is because any review would need the concurrence and commitment of many parties.

"We cannot wait for the decision or fully depend on the outcome of the oil royalty study. We have to be rational and look at the issue in a wider and correct perspective to prove that the Barisan Nasional (BN) never sidelined the interest of the people and Sabah on the oil royalty issue," he said.

Musa said Sabah Umno and BN leaders had, in the past, been proposing to the Federal Government to review the royalty as it was the wish and aspiration of leaders and rakyat in the State.

"Hence, I welcome the statement by BN component leaders that the oil royalty to the State Government be reviewed," he said. However, he reiterated there was no such provision in the 1976 Agreement between the State and Federal Government for a review of the existing rate of royalty payment to Sabah.

"Sadly, some parties played up the issue and subsequently caused confusion among the people," he said, adding the opposition also exploited for their political agenda.

He said the statement by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on oil royalty was for self political interest. "When Anwar was the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, he never fought for higher oil royalty for Sabah.

"Instead, according to former Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Tham Nyip Shen, when Anwar was the DPM, he ordered the State Government to renew the licence of gaming company Loteri 88 when the operator's licence had already been cancelled for breaking the law," he said.

He claimed Anwar even threatened to remove Ministers who refused to obey his directive. "Is this the type of leader we hope for to defend the people of Sabah? I hope everyone including among BN leaders will not be caught in the opposition rhythm on the issue," he said.

Musa said that despite the oil royalty still being at five per cent they should not look at the royalty aspect alone as the State received huge allocations through various Federal development programmes.

In fact, he said, the amount channelled to Sabah had increased and surpassed what they had expected during initial planning.

He cited the RM20 billion under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP), RM2.3 billion under the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) and also billions of Ringgit for poverty eradication, rural development, education, health and road sealing projects, among others.

"The Government also would enhance its efforts to assist the people and to lessen their burden during the uncertain period in the global economy," he said.

Musa said as a caring government, it needed to continue co-operating with the Federal Government to implement the various development projects particularly to ensure the success of the Economy Stimulation Package.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008
SINGAPORE, (Bernama) -- The Singapore government announced that it would cut the salary of the President, Prime Minister and other senior government officials by 11 per cent to 19 per cent next year due to the country's weakened economy.
The Singapore Public Service Division (PSD) said the pay cut was necessary as close to 25 per cent of the annual salary components were linked to the city-state's economic growth.

Others who would also be affected by the salary cut included ministers and members of parliament, the PSD said in a statement.

It said there would be a 19 per cent fall in the annual salary of the President to $3.14 million and the Prime Minister to $3.04 million next year.

The ministers' salary would fall by 18 per cent to $1.57 million and the salary of certain levels of senior grade officials, by 12 per cent to $353,000.

The allowance for members of parliament will drop by 16 per cent to $190,000, said the PSD, which is under the Prime Minister's Office.

It said the government would also defer the third phase of the salary adjustments for administrative officers, and political, judicial and statutory appointment holders which should be due in January.

The January salary adjustment is supposed to be the third of three salary adjustments following two earlier rounds in April last year and January this year.

However, the civil servants would still receive the 13th month payment or annual wage supplement of one month, the PSD said.

Last year, Singapore introduced a mechanism that allows salaries of senior civil servants to respond more rapidly to the performance of the economy.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Malaysia has moved the United Nations Security Council with a proposal for a naval peacekeeping force to combat piracy on the high-seas, especially in the Gulf of Aden region, Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak announced Monday.
Razak said Foreign Minister Rais Yatim had spoken with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice over telephone Saturday night about the naval force and had been told that the Security Council would discuss the matter within weeks, the Star Online said.
The deputy prime minister had raised the matter of such a force at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies' leaders summit when discussing human and trade security.
'I told the leaders that based on Malaysia's experience in the Straits of Malacca, the littoral states must work closely together to combat piracy. However, in cases where countries are incapable of doing so, the UN must take positive action,' he told reporters Sunday at the end of the two-day APEC summit in Lima, Peru.
The Malaysian move, citing its own experience in the Straits of Malacca, comes in the wake rising piracy in the Gulf of Aden, off the Somali coast. Despite the presence of a large flotilla of navies of several countries, two Malaysian ships were held up for several weeks.
The Indian Navy earlier this month foiled an attempt by pirates to hijack two ships - an Indian and a Saudi Arabian merchant vessel. Last week, in a battle with pirates, it sank one of the pirates' 'mother ships' in the Gulf of Aden.
India has also called for a multi-nation force under the auspices of the UN to patrol the Gulf of Aden.
Razak said he suggested that an international naval force under the UN be set up that could be tailored on the lines of the land-based peacekeeping force.
The activities of the Somali pirates grabbed headlines worldwide when they recently hijacked supertanker Sirius Star loaded with over $100 million worth of Saudi crude oil.
Two vessels belonging to the Malaysia International Shipping Corporation (MISC) had also fallen victim to the pirates and were released only after a $2 million ransom was paid. It is estimated that the pirates hijacked over 90 ships this year and had netted over $100 million in ransom.
'Malaysia is of the opinion that these pirates are a threat to global trade and any such threats must be dealt with quickly, especially in the light of the present global economic crisis,' Razak said.
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Monday, November 24, 2008
KOTA KINABALU: WWF Malaysia is against the controversial oceanarium development plan for Mabul, saying the island was already over-developed.
Studies carried out on the island and its surrounding waters revealed that 85% of the island had already been cleared for village housing, schools, budget homestay accommodation as well as five-star resorts, WWF Malaysia communications manager Angela Lim said.
She also said that 80% of the coral reef sites surrounding Mabul Island were used up by operators for muck diving, with 50% of the reefs shared between the diving sector and villagers for fishing.“As the hub of the tourism industry in Semporna, Mabul Island has the potential to act as a coral reef management centre,” she said in a statement following the disclosure that the state has given the green light for an oceanarium resort on the shallows of Mabul.

She said WWF Malaysia had discovered that waters surrounding the island were also partly polluted due inadequate wastewater treatment and poor solid waste management to handle the land-based sources of pollution from villagers and resorts.

“Tourists have been complaining of over-crowding on the island over the past two years, which indicates a growing loss of wilderness value. The resources of island -- the land, coral reefs and coastal waters -- are already heavily used,” Lim said.

It was better to allow young marine life to regenerate by protecting their natural habitat as artificial reefs did not bring more fish, she said, adding that damaged coral reefs and their resident fish population can recover simply by stopping any threats that plague them.

The Sabah state government has given the green light for the oceanarium project. However, the Land and Survey Department has yet to issue the land title as it is imposing stringent conditions for the oceanarium project proposed by local company Bina Ecosaba Sdn Bhd.


Just for a food of thought let share the above image promotion by Sandakan Blogger. Mabul and Sandakan share the same Environmental Impact problem.

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Monday, November 24, 2008
BAGHDAD — More than 10,000 Iraqis, mostly supporters of the radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, gathered in Baghdad’s Firdos Square on Friday to protest the security agreement with the United States that is scheduled for a vote in Parliament on Monday.
A crowd in Baghdad rallied Friday against the security pact with the United States, which still awaits consideration by Parliament and the Presidency Council.

Demonstrators hanged a black-hooded effigy of President Bush from a column with powerful symbolism: it supported the statue of Saddam Hussein that was toppled by American troops in April 2003, after Baghdad fell.

Removing the hood to beat the effigy with a shoe, a particularly deep Iraqi insult, they put a whip in its right hand and in its left a briefcase on which was written, “The security agreement is shame and dishonor.”

The government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has signed the pact, which places new limits on the powers of American troops in Iraq but provides for them to stay in the country up to the end of 2011. The final steps are parliamentary approval, and affirmation by the country’s three-man Presidency Council.

But opposition has been heated, particularly from the Sadr political bloc. And even if Mr. Maliki’s ruling coalition secures the necessary votes, Iraq’s most influential Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, has indicated that he believes the deal will be acceptable to the Iraqi people only if it achieves some degree of consensus.

This means Mr. Maliki must somehow calm the opposition’s fury, as well as get some support from Iraq’s minority Sunnis, many of whom are nervous about seeing American troops depart, fearing Iran and its Shiite allies in Baghdad.

In Firdos Square, protesters sat in rows of 50 stretching back more than half a mile. They filled Sadoun Street, beside the Palestine Hotel and in front of the colonnaded traffic circle where five years ago American troops pulled down the dictator’s statue in scenes televised around the world.

While the rally was billed as a cross-community effort, to be attended by Shiite and Sunni clerics, the vast majority of those in attendance were Sadrists. Many had come from Mr. Sadr’s stronghold of Sadr City, and the chants the crowd took up were “Moktada, Moktada,” “No, no to America,” and “No, no to the agreement.”

Sadrist officials said they opposed the security agreement because they did not believe assurances that the Americans would ever leave. They depicted the pact as a successor to colonial-era treaties with Western powers in the last century that, they said, had “sold the Arab and the Muslim lands into occupation.”

Reading from a statement by Mr. Sadr, one of his followers, Sheik Abdelhadi al-Mohammedawi, said: “America has not and will not be useful. It is the enemy of Islam.”

To cheers and cries of “God is great” he continued, “The love of Iraq calls us not to let the foot of the atheists on our ground and to not permit them to stay three minutes, not three years.”

Quteiba al-Nadawi, a Sunni preacher, told the crowd: “We have rejected this agreement from the beginning. We are supporting our brothers the Sadrists, and we are supporting all honorable Iraqis who reject this agreement. We need freedom for our people and unity for Iraqis.”

Members 0f Iraqi security forces took up positions on rooftops and a mosque overlooking Firdos Square, with snipers and machine gunners keeping an eye on the crowd. There was no sign of American forces, and the protest was peaceful throughout.


Obama - It is time for our civilian leaders to acknowledge a painful truth: we cannot impose a military solution on a civil war between Sunni and Shiite factions. The best chance we have to leave Iraq a better place is to pressure these warring parties to find a lasting political solution. And the only effective way to apply this pressure is to begin a phased withdrawal of U.S. forces, with the goal of removing all combat brigades from Iraq by March 31, 2009 -- a date consistent with the goal set by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group. This redeployment could be temporarily suspended if the Iraqi government meets the security, political, and economic benchmarks to which it has committed. But we must recognize that, in the end, only Iraqi leaders can bring real peace and stability to their country.

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Monday, November 24, 2008
Some times Politicians are talking about wealth distribution. Shared and spread the nation 's wealth equally among the people. Actually , spreading the wealth is not socialism. For example subsidy contribution by the Government when gas was expensive is form of socialism. Yet we accept it, because it makes the payout equivalent to all people.
SOCIALISM by definition is to make all people equal by redistributing not just money, but power and goods and services to ALL people. And redistributing is putting it politely. It really means that no matter what you, how you work, what you work on or with, that you make the same money, get the same food, have the same power as EVERYONE else in society ... oh, but by the way, your controlled by a dictator.
As an alternative, let explore what Obama had planned for the people of US . A formula called 'Obamanomic'. And don’t get him wrong. He is not a socialist. He is just hoping to help the lower to middle class accumulate less debt. He is hoping to get them health care so they are not likely to file bankruptcy when a minor yet expensive medical ailment arises, and he is hoping to bring better, higher paying jobs to market. He is also trying to lessen dependence on oil, not just of the foreign variety.
He rejected the concept of drill baby drill: a statement that amounts to more dependence on oil and commits a portion of the work force to future unemployment.
On the same token, my definition of wealth, and the spreading of wealth, in my mind is being able to pass assets or cash to another generation. I make no claims as to the magnitude of that wealth, but there should be something of significant value that doesn’t involve an heirloom of a more sentimental nature.
The spreading of wealth then in terms of the currently described in Obamanomic is merited in my mind because when a gap widens between classes (middle class vs "rich") then the wealth tends to leave one class in favor of the other. The consequences in long run could be catastrophes. Just for a while think of ' The Pirates of Somalia '.
We can only hope to achieve a socialistic society that remains democratic and caring. This does not mean we eliminate the rich people, but it does mean that we always have poor people (not the political meaning).
Unfortunately, what we have here, is wealth without wings.
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Sunday, November 23, 2008
LIMA 23 Nov. – Para pemimpin dari 21 ekonomi yang menyertai sidang kemuncak Kerjasama Ekonomi Asia Pasifik (APEC) di sini menyatakan komitmen untuk tidak mewujudkan halangan baru perdagangan dan pelaburan dalam tempoh 12 bulan akan datang bagi membendung kemelesetan ekonomi dunia.
Persetujuan itu dinyatakan dalam kenyataan bersama mengenai ekonomi global yang dikeluarkan oleh para pemimpin APEC hari ini. Timbalan Perdana Menteri Malaysia, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak turut menghadiri sidang kemuncak itu.
Dalam masa yang sama Timbalan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak merasakan bahawa krisis kewangan global yang mencetuskan kemelesetan ekonomi akan tetap berulang pada masa depan selagi sistem Bretton Woods tidak diperbaharui.
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Sunday, November 23, 2008
KOTA KINABALU - The federal government has allocated some RM17 billion to pave all roads within 30km radius of towns in Sabah by the year 2015.
Works Minister Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamed said the huge allocation was in line with the government's vision and commitment to boost the state's infrastructure development.
"We are aware that there are still many roads which have not been upgraded or paved in Sabah and there are also places in the rural areas which have no roads at all.
"We hope to complete the project by 2015 or at the latest by 2017," he told reporters after a briefing on the state's infrastructure development here.Mohd Zin said Sabah had 15,756km of roads of which 5,686km are paved roads and 9,635km gravel roads. The rest are laterite roads.
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Saturday, November 22, 2008
LIMA (Peru), Nov 22 - The government cannot reduce the retail price of petrol and diesel continuously when global crude oil prices decline as they are volatile and can increase again within a short period.
Lowering prices too fast and too low could also have an adverse impact on efforts to develop alternative sources of energy, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak said here on Friday.
The current low price of oil "is not sustainable, it's going to go up (and) when the price goes up, there will be a need to do a review," said Najib, who is in this Peruvian capital to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit beginning Saturday.
He was responding to questions on the impact of the low global crude oil prices on fuel prices in Malaysia, on Petronas and on the economy at a press conference with the Malaysian media at the Miraflores hotel here.
Najib spoke to media after performing the Friday prayers at the Peruvian Islamic Centre. He also gave a contribution of US$5,000 to the centre.

Other Related Informations:
1) Washington DC - Of the total U.S. government liquid fuel use, about 97% of that is consumed by the Department of Defense, making that agency the world’s single largest fuel-burning entity. But even within the U.S. DOD, the respective services are themselves gargantuan users of liquid fuel. According to data supplied by the Defense Energy Support Center, the interservice breakdown for fuel use is as follows:
i) Department of the Air Force: 53%Department
ii) Navy (including Marine Corps): 32%
iii) Department of the Army: 12% .
2) New York - Last week, the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) released its World Energy Outlook 2008 - a 578-page book full of future supply, demand, and price estimates which this year also included an eagerly-awaited study of 800 of the world's largest oil fields.
Considering that the price of oil has plummeted from $147 a barrel in early July to below $50 and that the global economic slowdown is putting a major damper on demand, that might not seem like such a good idea. But as the IEA study makes clear, the long-term supply and demand picture for oil continues to favor higher prices. Maybe much higher.

3) LONDON – Oil rose above $50 a barrel on Friday, rebounding from a three and half year low and buoyed by rallies in Europe and Asian equities on talk that China may cut interest rates later in the day.
Oil has fallen by 11 percent this week taking it close to a $100 drop from its July record high and setting it on course for the steepest weekly decline since the week of October 6.
U.S. light crude for January delivery rose 96 cents to $50.38 a barrel at 7 a.m. EST, its first increase after five straight sessions of losses. Earlier it fell to $48.25, the lowest in three and a half years.

Courtesy to Reuters
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Friday, November 21, 2008
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The use of nuclear weapons will grow increasingly likely by 2025, according to a bleak US intelligence report that warns that US global dominance is likely to weaken over the next two decades.
"The world of the near future will be subject to an increased likelihood of conflict over scarce resources, including food and water, and will be haunted by the persistence of rogue states and terrorist groups with greater access to nuclear weapons," said the report.
AFP Photo 0f Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden at an undisclosed location inside Afghanistan. The National Intelligence Council (NIC) has predicted that Al-Qaeda might decay sooner than many people think as the terrorist group struggles to attract broad-based support.
"Widening gaps in birth rates and wealth-to-poverty ratios, and the uneven impact of climate change, could further exacerbate tensions."
Called "Global Trends 2025 -- a Transformed World," the 121-page report was produced by the National Intelligence Council, a body of analysts from across the US intelligence community.
Officials said it was being briefed to the incoming administration of president-elect Barack Obama. A year in the making, it does not take into account the recent global financial crisis.
"In one sense, a bad sense, the pace of change that we are looking at in 2025 occurred more rapidly than we had anticipated," said Thomas Fingar, deputy director of National Intelligence.
One overarching conclusion of the report is that "the unipolar world is over, (or) certainly will be by 2025," Fingar said.
But with the "rise of the rest," managing crises and avoiding conflicts will be more difficult, particularly with an antiquated post-World War II international system.
"The potential for conflict will be different than and in some ways greater than it has been for a very long time," Fingar said.
The report has good news for some countries:
-- A technology to replace oil may be underway or in place by 2025;
-- Multiple financial centers will serve as "shock absorbers" of the world financial system;
-- India, China and Brazil will rise, the Korean peninsula will be unified in some form, and new powers are likely to emerge from the Muslim non-Arab world.
But the report also says some African and South Asian states may wither away altogether, organized crime could take over at least one state in central Europe; and the spread of nuclear weapons will heighten the risk they will be used.
"The likelihood that nuclear weapons will be used will increase with expanded access to technology and a widening range of options for limited strikes," it said.
The report highlighted the risk of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East where a number of countries are thinking about developing or acquiring technologies that would be useful to make nuclear weapons.
"Over the next 15-20 years, reactions to the decisions Iran makes about its nuclear program could cause a number of regional states to intensify these efforts and consider actively pursuing nuclear weapons," the report said.
"This will add a new and more dangerous dimension to what is likely to be increasing competition for influence within the region," it said.
The report said it was not certain that the kind of deterrent relationships that existed for most of the Cold War would emerge in a nuclear armed Middle East.
Instead, the possession of nuclear weapons may be perceived as "making it safe" to engage in low intensity conflicts, terrorism or even larger conventional attacks, the report said.
The report said terrorism would likely be a factor in 2025 but suggested that Al-Qaeda's "terrorist wave" might be breaking up.
"Al-Qaeda's weaknesses -- unachievable strategic objectives, inability to attract broad-based support, and self-destructive actions -- might cause it to decay sooner than many people think," it said.
"Because history suggests that the global Islamic terrorist movement will outlast Al-Qaeda as a group, strategic counterterrorism efforts will need to focus on how and why a successor terrorist group might evolve during the remaining years of the 'Islamic terrorist wave.'"
The report was vague about the outcome of current conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and nuclear armed Pakistan.
In 2025, the government in Baghdad could still be "an object of competition" among various factions seeking foreign aid or pride of place.
Afghanistan "may still evince significant patterns of tribal competition and conflict."
"The future of Pakistan is a wildcard in considering the trajectory of neighboring Afghanistan," it said.
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Friday, November 21, 2008
Ayman Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s number two man, sent a message to Obama and its not full of love for The One.
al-Qaeda is not showing the love for Barack Obama. Its pretty disappointing seeing as how the Obama administration would bring about world peace. So far, it seems that world peace might be slightly out of his grasp for the moment anyway. He might have to work a little harder at it than merely being elected.
The left is so funny in how they think the rest of the world looks at things the same way Americans do. Like they were shocked when Venezuelan President and Petty Dictator Hugo Chavez called Obama ‘that black guy’ and the President of Italy referred to him jokingly as having a tan. The left thinks the rest of the world has the same politically correct sickness that Americans are afflicted with. But they aren’t. In fact, I would venture to guess that they don’t get the whole American guilt thing at all.
So now we have al-Qaeda taking their turn to put Obama to the test. Ayman Zawahiri is the heir apparent to the al-Qaeda organization should it ever be confirmed that Osama bin Laden is actually dead. He’s the only al-Qaeda person we’ve heard from in a while. Now he has come out and called Barack Obama a ‘House Negro’ or ‘House Slave’, depending on the transcription.
You can read the full transcript here. It basically translates to say, ‘I slap you across your face with my glove you infidel cur! Ha! Find me if you can! hahahahahahaha’
Of course, the purpose of the al-Qaeda challenge to Obama was undoubtedly as much for the Jihadists followers of al-Qaeda than for Obama. He was obviously letting his followers know that the ‘Great Satan’ is STILL the ‘Great Satan’. It also informs them that Obama winning the war is proof that Americans are surrendering in Iraq and al-Qaeda has won that front in the war.
Of course, this could be a good thing. It might be that the left will finally understand that we ARE at war! At least, they’ll be awfully mad that someone insulted their demagogue. You know what happens on the internet when someone isn’t drinking Obama’s koolaid - can you imagine what they will do about THIS!?!
The 60 million dollar question is how will Obama handle all this challenge. Not just this one, but the ones coming from all corners of the earth. After all, he did promise to understand and appreciate our enemies more so they’d be less angry with us bringing about peace on earth. Here’s what he said shortly after we were attacked by misunderstood, disenchanted, hopeless, angry young men who had been mistreated by the United States on 9/11/2001.
We must also engage, however, in the more difficult task of understanding the sources of such madness. The essence of this tragedy, it seems to me, derives from a fundamental absence of empathy on the part of the attackers: an inability to imagine, or connect with, the humanity and suffering of others.
Such a failure of empathy, such numbness to the pain of a child or the desperation of a parent, is not innate; nor, history tells us, is it unique to a particular culture, religion, or ethnicity. It may find expression in a particular brand of violence, and may be channeled by particular demagogues or fanatics. Most often, though, it grows out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair.
We will have to make sure, despite our rage, that any U.S. military action takes into account the lives of innocent civilians abroad. We will have to be unwavering in opposing bigotry or discrimination directed against neighbors and friends of Middle Eastern descent. Finally, we will have to devote far more attention to the monumental task of raising the hopes and prospects of embittered children across the globe—children not just in the Middle East, but also in Africa
, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and within our own shores.
See! If only we understood them better. But wait. Obama does! Then why do they hate him? Oh. I do worry about what will come from this inexperienced man becoming the most powerful man in the world. The last time we faced this kind of crisis of leadership was when John F. Kennedy was tested by Russia. But things happen so much faster now than they did back then. The problem is, will we have time to act. Even worse, will we have time for Barack Obama to think through every aspect of every permutation of every reaction and then discuss with his 300 foreign policy advisers before he does anything. We’ll all be ashes and dust by the time he talks it out.
Shared from beth of Blue Star Chronicles
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