Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Chip Tsao’s article, published in HK Magazine on Friday, sparked protests from Filipinos around the world.
In his column Tsao wrote that he was so outraged by the Philippines' claim on the disputed Spratlys Islands, which China claims, that he summoned his Filipino maid and gave her a lecture.
He wrote, "As a nation of servants, you don't flex your muscles at your master, from whom you earn most of your bread and butter."
The Philippines has banned Tsao from entering the country. Immigration Commissioner Marcelino Libanan on Monday issued an order placing Tsao in the immigration blacklist for being an undesirable alien.
"This is our manifestation of disgust against the racial slur and insult committed by Mr. Tsao against us as a people," Libanan said in a statement. Meanwhile, the publisher of HK Magazine, Asia City Publishing Group (ACPG), issued a statement on Monday to "apologize unreservedly for any offence that may have been caused by Chip Tsao's column."
"As a magazine, we would never want to say anything that would negate that belief," ACPG said. "We wish to assure our readers that we have nothing but respect for Filipinos, both living in Hong Kong and abroad," it added.
Copies of the apology were distributed by the Department of Foreign Affairs. A copy was also posted in the agency's website (
The Philippine consulate general in Hong Kong joined politicians and migrant and labor groups in demanding for a public apology from Tsao and the publishers.
Courtesy: GulfNews.Com and Filipinas
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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

We know it is happening but this abnormal situation and disorder was accepted by many as if it just of one these things that happen around the world.
Israeli President Shimon Peres says the war on Gaza was not "an ugly story", insisting that the global condemnation of Tel Aviv is unjust.
"They try to make the Israeli policy an ugly story," a frustrated Peres was quoted by the Associated Press at a session of the World Economic Forum on Thursday night.
He explained that his outburst was the result of repeated criticism over Israel's Gaza operation.
The Israeli president, however, maintains that Tel Aviv is fighting a noble war against Hamas the democratically elected ruler of the Gaza Strip.
"Israel is a democracy. It is fighting one of the most dangerous, terroristic, dictatorial groups. All of a sudden to be a humanitarian is to support dictators, to support terror, to support killing innocent people," he said at the forum.
Meanwhile, UK aid agencies say as a result of the Israeli operation in the beleaguered coastal sliver, at least 60 percent of the Gaza population is now living in poverty, with more than one million people dependant on aid to survive.
Courtesy: Press TV
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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on Monday again warned that the imminent rise to power of rival Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak will likely provoke a further crackdown on popular dissent in the economically struggling Southeast Asian nation.
Speaking in an interview with The Wall Street Journal in Bangkok, Mr. Anwar said: "I think we can clearly see a trend developing. Already we can see what Mr. Najib's rule will be like."
In the past week, Malaysian authorities have shut down two opposition-run newspapers, effectively preventing them from reporting on the run-up to three by-elections on April 7, which will provide a partial test of Mr. Najib's national support. On Monday, policed seized DVDs the opposition was using as part of its election campaign, and last week riot police used teargas and water cannons to prevent Mr. Anwar from addressing his supporters.
Mr. Najib will likely become premier in the next few days after current Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi hands in his resignation to Malaysia's king on April 2. Already a war of words is emerging with Mr. Anwar, arguably Mr. Najib's most potent foe after the opposition alliance broke the ruling National Front's customary two-thirds majority in elections last year.
Their deepening struggle threatens to overshadow the Malaysian government's efforts to offset its steepest recession since the Asian financial crisis of the 1990s. Some economists predict the economy could contract by as much as 4% this year.
The government this month unveiled a $16.7 billion stimulus package to be spent over the next two years.
In addition to the newspaper closures which will be in effect for three months, according to the Malaysian government several senior members of the ruling National Front coalition have also accused Mr. Anwar of betraying his race for supporting the scrapping of Malaysia's decades-old affirmative action policies which were introduced to ensure economic and political power for Malaysia's majority Muslim ethnic Malay population.
Mr. Anwar is a Malay, but argues that the New Economic Policy, as the affirmative action program is known, has rendered Malaysia's economy uncompetitive and will likely limit the country's recovery from the global slump.
"What I argue is that we should help all the races equally so we can take favoritism out of the equation," Mr. Anwar said. "I think we're going to hear more about racial issues if the economic situation continues."
In addition, Malaysian riot police have forcibly broken up two opposition rallies in the past several days, raising concerns among political analysts that Mr. Najib intends to steer Malaysia back to the authoritarian ways espoused by its former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who ruled Malaysia for 22 years before stepping down in 2003.
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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Director of Israeli military intelligence Major General Amos Yadlin said last week that Iran would have the capacity to build a nuclear bomb within a year but was not rushing into production.
"The Iranian strategy is not to get a nuclear bomb as soon as they can so as not to give the world a reason to act against them," Yadlin told the Israeli parliament's foreign affairs and defense committee.
Mean while a top US commander says Iran is years away from having highly enriched uranium after Israel claimed Iran could build a bomb within a year.
"The bottom line: we think it's a couple of years away in that regard. It could be more, could be a little bit less," General David Petraeus, the commander of US forces in the Middle East, said in a Sunday interview on CNN.
Gen. Petraeus said there were "a lot of facts" that the US is unaware of about Iran's nuclear program.
Iran says the only objective of its program is to make use of the civilian applications of nuclear technology. Israel and the US, however, accuse the country of having military intentions in its pursuit.
Israel has repeatedly threatened to militarily take out Iranian nuclear infrastructure based on the claim that Tehran and its program pose an "existential threat" to Tel Aviv.
According to the latest International Atomic Energy Agency figures, however Iran has produced nearly 1,010 kilograms of low enriched uranium (LEU), a level "less than 5percent."
In the interview, Petraeus said that for Iran to pose a threat to Israel, Tehran must have enough highly enriched uranium, must make a warhead and have long-range missiles capable of delivering them, AFP reported.
Courtesy: Press TV
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Monday, March 30, 2009

The Israelis' game is clearly to hinder and paralyse Christianity in the Holy Land. It is a process that has been going on for a very long time. When Palestine was under British mandate, Christians accounted for 20 per cent of the population.
Sixty-one years of hostilities, dispossession, interference and economic ruination have whittled their numbers down to less than 2 per cent. At this rate there will soon be no Christians left in the land where Christianity was born.
Criticise Israel in the US and you'll lose your job. Criticise Israel in the UK and the Jewish establishment and their quasi-Christian friends hurl accusations of anti-semitism. Dare to support the victims of Israeli aggression and you'll get banned by the freaky Canadian government and vilified, like British anti-war MP George Galloway.
The freedom of the Church was set out in the Fundamental Agreement between the Holy See and the State of Israel in 1993 (but never ratified by the Knesset).
Buried deep within this document is the clause: " The State of Israel recognizes the right of the Catholic Church to carry out its religious, moral, educational and charitable functions, and to have its own institutions, and to train, appoint and deploy its own personnel in the said institutions or for the said functions to these ends".
It turns out to be another worthless promise from a regime that ignores countless UN resolutions, disregards International Court of Justice rulings, is contemptuous of human rights and Geneva Conventions, yet claims to be a western-style liberal democracy sharing our values.
Courtesy: Al Jazeera
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Monday, March 30, 2009

Unidentified assailants have attacked a police training academy near the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore, killing at least 20 officers and injuring scores of others, police say.
The attackers - thought to number between five and 10 - also took several officers hostage in the incident on Monday, Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder reported.
Hyder said the police were preparing to storm the compound. A security official said the police officers were preparing for training when the attack began.
"Unknown gunmen have attacked the police training school, we have called in elite forces," Mumtaz Sukhera, a senior police official, was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying.
Witnesses said the attackers had entered the academy disguised as police officers.
The attackers reportedly hurled grenades at the police and TV footage showed several police officers bleeding and lying on the ground.
Hyder said the latest attack would raise fresh questions about the ability of the country's interior ministry to provide security.
Imtiaz Gul, a Pakistani political analyst, said the attack underscored the "ill-preparedness" of police and paramilitary forces in the country.
"The kind of attack that took place is very, very difficult to pre-empt. There are people who came prepared to kill. On the other side, you see the kind of response from paramilitary forces.
"The entire country has been paying the price for this ill-preparedness," he said.
Pakistan has faced scores of attacks in recent years and, although Lahore has largely escaped the violence, it has not been immune.
Earlier in March, armed men brazenly ambushed Sri Lanka's cricket team in the city, killing six police officers and a driver, and wounding several of the players.
Courtesy: Al Jazeera
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Monday, March 30, 2009

Arab League delegates are likely to be united in their condemnation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant.
Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, has arrived in Qatar on the eve of an Arab League summit, defying an arrest warrant issued against him for alleged war crimes in Darfur.
Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera's senior political analyst said: "The West generally tends to underestimate how much their interference in the Arab world tends to backfire to the advantage of leaders who then use it for populist nationalist sentiment in order to gather support for themselves. As a result, popular upheaval against al-Bashir is certainly not working."
Luis Moreno OCampo, the chief prosecutor of the ICC, told Al Jazeera: "In May, according to a report Sudan agreed with, one million people will have no food or water in Sudan. "I understand that the Arab League is like a family, but I hope they tell their brothers to stop the crimes.
"I think it’s a huge responsibility for the Arab leaders to solve these problems in Sudan now."
Arab governments have also been struggling to respond to Iran's growing political clout, which has greatly increased since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.
The leaders of Egypt and Saudi Arabia say that Iran is key to the strength of Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian territories - groups which refuse to renounce armed action in the historic Arab conflict with Israel.
"The Doha summit is still a battleground between the emerging de facto alliance between Qatar, Syria and Iran on one side, and the Saudis, Egyptians and Jordanians on the other," Ali al-Ahmed, a Saudi opposition figure, said.
Iran and Syria back the populist view in the Arab world that the policies of Hezbollah and Hamas are legitimate responses to Israel, which rejects returning Arab lands it seized in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
Courtesy: Al Jazeera
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Monday, March 30, 2009

Iraqi and US troops have clashed for a second straight day in Baghdad with so-called Awakening Council fighters opposed to the arrest of a local militia leader.There are estimated to be 100,000 Awakening members nationwide.
The fighting in the Fadhil district of the Iraqi capital, in which four people were killed, came after Iraqi forces arrested Adel Mashhadani, the local chief of the Sahwa Council trained and financed by the US and Iraq to battle al-Qaeda fighters.
American troops assisting Iraqi forces on Sunday ordered Sahwa members to surrender their weapons or face reprisals, while Iraqi soldiers blocked access to the area and made several arrests.
The clashes in Fadhil came after Iraqi forces arrested Mashhadani on Saturday, Iraq's interior ministry said.
Mashhadani was detained over allegations of murder and extortion and "violating the constitution", major general Qasim Atta, Baghdad’s military command spokesman, said.
Iraqi troops "are not hunting-down the Sahwas but carrying out a search operation for suspects wanted by the judicial authorities and gangsters who are firing on our forces," Atta said.
Mashhadani helped Iraqi and US troops force al-Qaeda from the Fadhil district, he is accused of turning the area into his own stronghold.
Iraq’s Shia-Muslim-led government, which has in the past expressed concerns over the Sahwa fighters' long-term aims, has said that 20 percent of all Sahwas will be integrated into the Iraqi security forces.

Courtsy: AlJazeera, BBC and CNN
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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Fierce clashes between Muslim separatists and government troops have displaced nearly 130,000 people in the southern Philippines
Manila: Fierce clashes have erupted between the army and rebels in the southern Philippines, leaving 20 rebels and seven soldiers dead, the military said on Saturday. Regional military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Ponce said troops had been checking reports that rebels were massing in the village of Bialong, Maguindanao when fighting erupted.
It was one of the fiercest clashes with the rebels under rebel leader Umbra Kato of the separatist group Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Ponce said.
Troops have been ordered to hunt down Kato and two other rogue rebel commanders who led a bloody rampage that killed dozens of civilians in Lanao del Norte province.
Ponce said the rebels were believed to be planning to launch attacks again against civilian communities.
The bloody rampage was unleashed in predominantly Christian communities, provoking a major military offensive that displaced more than half a million people. The clashes have eased to sporadic fighting but tens of thousands of villagers have refused to go home, officials said.
Peace negotiations between the government and the rebels fell apart in August when the Supreme Court blocked the signing of a preliminary accord that would have expanded a Muslim autonomous region in the southern Mindanao region, where a Muslim separatist war has raged for decades.
The accord was challenged by Christian politicians who feared they would lose land, power and clout to minority Muslims.

Courtesy: Gulf News.Com and Canadian Press
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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lights went out at tourism landmarks and homes across the globe on Saturday for Earth Hour 2009, a global event designed to highlight the threat from climate change.
From an Antarctic research base and the Great Pyramids of Egypt to the Empire State Building in New York and the Sears Tower in Chicago, illuminated patches of the globe went dark Saturday for Earth Hour, a campaign to highlight the threat of climate change.
Time zone by time zone, nearly 4,000 cities and towns in 88 countries joined the event sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund to dim nonessential lights from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The campaign began in Australia in 2007 and last year grew to 400 cities worldwide.
From the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge to the Eiffel Tower in Paris and London's Houses of Parliament, lights were dimmed as part of a campaign to encourage people to cut energy use and curb greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels.
Organizers said the action showed millions of people wanted governments to work out a strong new U.N. deal to fight global warming by the end of 2009, even though the global economic crisis has raised worries about the costs.
Organizers initially worried enthusiasm this year would wane with the world focused on the global economic crisis, said Earth Hour executive director Andy Ridley. But he said it apparently had the opposite effect.
"Earth Hour has always been a positive campaign; it's always around street parties, not street protests, it's the idea of hope, not despair. And I think that's something that's been incredibly important this year because there is so much despair around," he said.
Crowds in Times Square watched as many of the massive billboards, including the giant Coca-Cola display, darkened. Steps away, the Majestic Theater marquee at the home of "The Phantom of the Opera" went dark, along with the marquees at other Broadway shows.
The U.N. Climate Panel says greenhouse gas emissions are warming the planet and will lead to more floods, droughts, heatwaves, rising sea levels and animal and plant extinctions.
World emissions have risen by about 70 percent since the 1970s. China has recently overtaken the United States as the top emitter, ahead of the European Union, Russia and India.
Courtesy: Associated Press
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Sunday, March 29, 2009

EU executive's head Jose Manuel Barroso said, European Commission (EU) to support new Israeli government as long as it accepts Palestinian state.
BRUSSELS: The European Commission (EU) pledged Friday to support the new Israeli government as long as it accepts certain benchmarks, including the principle of an autonomous Palestinian state.
"The European Commission is looking forward to working with the new Israeli government in pursuit of a common agenda," the EU executive's head Jose Manuel Barroso said in a message to Israeli premier-designate Benjamin Netanyahu.
"It stands ready to assist and support you in your search for peace, prosperity and security for the people in Israel and the region, based on the vision of two states living side by side in peace and prosperity," he said.
Netanyahu, from the right-wing Likud party, plans to present his new government to parliament next week, following the Labour party's decision to join his coalition, which includes other right-wing and religious formations.
The United States has warned that peace efforts, which have barely budged in recent years, will not be any easier under the hardline Netanyahu, who opposes the creation of a Palestinian state.
Amadeu Altafaj Tardio, EU commission spokesman said that EU foreign ministers would be discussing developments in Israel, and the fallout of its war on the Gaza Strip.
"There is a new administration, there is a new prime minister, and this has to be considered. Let's see what the intentions of the future government are going to be on a number of issues," he told reporters.
"One of them is (humanitarian aid) access to Gaza. Restrictions are still there, and we will have to see what is the policy of the new administration."
The Europeans are the biggest donors of aid to the Palestinians but they hold little sway over Israel, which is backed firmly by the United States.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul, on a visit to Brussels, said he hoped that the new government would tone down the rhetoric that its parties have used while they were in opposition.
Courtesy: Middle East Online
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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Saturday rejected ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra’s call for him to dissolve the House of Representatives and hold a new election.
They are not the ways to end political impasse, he said. Mr Abhisit said the only solution to political unrest is through national reconciliation process in which every sector participates. “Every sector must cooperate to find a solution for the country,” he said. “That is the best thing.”
Meanwhile, former prime minister Surayud Chulanont, who was accused by Thaksin to be behind the military coup that toppled him, will hold a press conference at 4pm Saturday to clarify the accusations.The press conference will be held at Suvarnabhumi airport at 4pm.
On Friday, Thaksin directly accused Gen Surayud and Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda of being behind the coup. He also called on Gen Prem "to stop meddling in politics." "He (Gen Prem) put on the military uniform and went on a tour to attack me. Gen Surayud was also there," Thaksin said. "It is highly improper for a privy councillor to get involved in politics. It misleads people into thinking that the King is involved politically," he continued.
Thaksin’s former right-hand man Newin Chidchob reportedly disagreed with Thaksin’s action in pointing his finger at Gen Prem as the “charismatic extra-constitutional figures” who toppled him by unconstitutional means, according to Bhumjaithai party MP Panya Sripanya.
Mr Newin thinks that Mr Thaksin’s strong accusation is unacceptable, he said.
Security around the residence of Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have been stepped up since Saturday morning to prevent anti-government protesters from rallying there.
Courtesy: Bangkok Post
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Saturday, March 28, 2009

GENOCIDE AGAINST MUSLIMS: The charred bodies of Muslim after the Hindus attacked, murdered and burned them in Gujarat in 2002
Maya Kodnani, the Gujarat state government minister of education and child welfare, who lead Hindu mobs attacking Muslims during riots in 2002, in which more than 1,000 people died, surrendered herself to authorities for arrest on Friday.
Hindu mobs rampaged through Muslim neighbourhoods, towns and villages in Gujarat between February and April 2002 after Muslims were blamed for a fire on train that killed 60 Hindu pilgrims.
Kodnani's arrest is a major embarrassment for the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of general elections that begin next month. The BJP is the main opposition to the federal ruling alliance led by the Congress party.
A team appointed by the supreme court to investigate several of the most deadly riots said that Kodnani and Jaideep Patel, a leader of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad party, led mobs that attacked Muslims in at least two areas where at least 106 people were killed.
"The charges against Mayaben Kodnani includes abetment to murder, conspiracy to kill people and use of firearms," Mitesh Amin, Kodnani's lawyer, told reporters after her arrest. If convicted she faces between seven years and life in jail.

Courtesy: Al Jazeera
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