TEHRAN, Iran - Creating terror and anxiety among the officials and forcing them to retreat and yield to colonial powers, and also separating the people from the Islamic establishment in Iran are among the enemy's goals in assassinations, say a senior Iranian commander Brig. Gen. Hejazi. He pointed to the assassination of former Iranian President Mohammad-Ali Rajai and Hojjatoleslam Mohammad-Javad Bahonar, and described such terrorist acts as attempts to paralyze the Islamic Revolution by erasing Iranian officials and figures.
Terrorists are the tools of Western powers to secure their interests in freedom-seeking countries across the world, he said in countries where the current of affairs is against the will of Westerners and the United States, forming terror cells in those countries is a lever for realizing the goals of the West, he said.
The Iranian commander further condemned the West's double standards regarding the issue of terrorism, pointing to the Western powers' support for the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) terrorist group despite the fact that it is blacklisted as a terrorist entity, and the US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq under the pretext of fighting terror.
“Considering that fighting terrorism was the excuse for the US invasion of Iraq, it was expected that terrorist elements, including MKO forces, would be confronted. But not only was there no confrontation, but they were also supported, and even now that the Iraqi government is determined to expel the MKO from the country, the US and Western countries are trying to hinder the move,” Hejazi added.
The MKO, listed as a terrorist organization by much of the international community has committed numerous terrorist acts against Iranian officials and civilians as well as the people of Iraq. Since Saddam was deposed in 2003, the Iraqi government has set numerous deadlines for the terrorist group to leave the country but the MKO has managed to maintain its base with the support of the US.
NEW YORK, U.S.A. - According to recent reports, the death toll from Hurricane Irene's onslaught on the East Coast of the United States has risen to 46, as the tropical storm makes its way to eastern Canada. Twenty five people were killed across eight states of the United States by toppled trees and other hurricane-related incidents.
New York emptied its streets and subways and waited with an eerie quiet. Washington braced for the onslaught, too, as did Philadelphia, the New Jersey shore and the Boston metropolitan area. Packing wind gusts of 115 mph, the hurricane had an enormous wingspan - 500 miles - and threatened a swath of the nation inhabited by 65 million people.
The hurricane stirred up 7-foot waves, and forecasters warned of storm-surge danger on the coasts of Virginia and Delaware, along the Jersey Shore and in New York Harbor and Long Island Sound. Across the Northeast, drenched by rain this summer, the ground is already saturated, raising the risk of flooding as well as the danger of trees falling onto homes and power lines.
Moreover, the storm left some 4.5 million households and business units in the US without power and inflicted an estimated USD 7 to 13 billion in damage. The US State of Vermont witnessed seven inches of rain early Monday.
Irene has now reached Canada after leaving a trail of destruction across the northeastern US. Strong winds battered parts of Canada's Quebec and the Atlantic provinces on Monday morning. However, the US National Hurricane Center has downgraded Hurricane Irene to a post-tropical cyclone.
MANILA, Philippines - Eight people were confirmed killed and six others are missing as typhoon Nanmadol continues its exit path out of the Philippines and towards Taiwan. Nanmadol (local codename Mina) continued to dump heavy rain over most of the country's northern sections as it carried winds topping 120 km/h near the centre, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said, citing a Pagasa weather bureau report.
As of 1.30pm Sunday, Pagasa had lowered its public storm signal levels to ‘Level 1' in the provinces of Cagayan, Apayao, Abra and Ilocos Sur.
Earlier, on Friday evening, Pagasa had raised its public storm signal warning level to a high ‘Level 4' as Nanmadol carried 210km/h winds and a rainfall rate of 15-25 millimetres per hour.
By yesterday, as the typhoon slowed down, the rainfall it dumped was significantly less at 10-20mm per hour.
According to the NDRRMC, Nanmadol affected 108,788 people in four northern regions of the country.
Due to the extensive damage it suffered, the province of Ilocos Norte in the Philippines' northwestern tip, was placed under a state of calamity.
Some 5,000 families, or 19,000 people, from the province are now staying in evacuation centres after the typhoon ravaged their houses. Twelve road sections in Ilocos Norte were also damaged, all of which are impassable to traffic except for two roadways. The provinces of Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Ecija, the Cordillera Autonomous Region, Baguio City, Benguet, Ifugao, Mountain Province and Kalinga also suffered similar as landslides rendered several roads impassable to traffic.
TRIPOLI, Libya - Col Muammar Gaddafi's spokesman told a news agency, Libyan leader is ready to begin talks to transfer power-discussion which would be led by Col Gaddafi's son, Saadi. Rebel fighters who now control most of the country, including the capital Tripoli, believe Col Gaddafi is still in hiding in the area. According to BBC, the latest offer will be seen as just another sign of the delusional state of Col Gaddafi and his followers. The Libyan opposition says supplies of fuel and water should begin arriving in Tripoli - amid fears that Tripoli's water supply may have been poisoned by Col Gaddafi's forces. Meanwhile more evidence is emerging of mass killings in the country. More than 50 charred bodies have been found in a burnt out warehouse next to a military base south of the capital.
MONTERREY, Mexico – Alberto Martinez Alvarado, 30, a former security guard at the casino, was on his way home from work on Thursday when he saw the fire. He said the fire had started at a time when there would have been few people inside but said the casino could hold hundreds, perhaps 1,000 people. State police officials quoted survivors as saying armed men burst into the casino, apparently to rob it, and began dousing the premises with fuel from tanks they brought with them. The officials were not authorized to be quoted by name for security reasons.
With shouts and profanities, the attackers told the customers and employees to get out. But many terrified customers and employees fled further inside the building.
The death toll climbed as workers continued to pull bodies out of a burned casino in northern Mexico, where gunmen spread gasoline and ignited a fire that trapped and killed at least 53 gamblers and employees.
Family members gathered at the caution tape outside the Casino Royale after the Thursday afternoon fire in the northern industrial city of Monterrey, some crying and others yelling at police for providing no information. Later they were allowed to view bodies in the morgue to help identify the victims.
Francisco Tamayo, 28, of Monterrey, said he and family members looked at some 40 bodies in search of his mother, Sonia de la Pena, 47, who loved to visit the casino and was there on average four days a week. They had yet to find her.
Governor Rodrigo Medina told the Televisa network late on Thursday that the death toll had reached 53. The fire in a city that has seen a surge in drug cartel-related violence represented one of the deadliest attacks on an entertainment centre in Mexico since President Felipe Calderon launched an offensive against drug cartels in late 2006.
Calderon tweeted that the attack was "an abhorrent act of terror and barbarism" that requires "all of us to persevere in the fight against these unscrupulous criminal bands."
Attorney General Leon Adrian de la Garza said a drug cartel was apparently responsible for the attack, though he didn't name which one. It was the second time in three months that the Casino Royale was targeted. Gunmen struck it and three other casinos on May 25, spraying the building with bullets, but no were reported injured in that attack.
NEW YORK, U.S.A. – As much stipulated, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has issued the city's first-ever mandatory evacuation and a state of emergency order for large parts of the city. The zone to be evacuated by 5 p.m. Saturday is home to over 250,000 people, and includes parts of the financial district in Lower Manhattan as well as sections along the Hudson and East rivers, AFP reported on Friday.
The subway and bus system -- the city's lifeline -- is also going to be closed from Saturday to Monday, which will paralyze the city since many people in New York do not own a vehicle.
Through the weekend, Irene is expected to hit the barrier islands of North Carolina Saturday afternoon, eventually making its way northward along the coast to Boston and points farther north.
"I don't see it falling apart. There's nothing in the atmosphere that would kill it altogether," said Bill Read of the National Hurricane Center. "I would prepare for the worst and hope for the best."
US President Barack Obama has cut short his vacation on the Massachusetts island of Martha's Vineyard. He asked the people to stick to the rules of evacuation, saying, "Don't wait, don't delay."
Hurricanes are rare on the US eastern seaboard, with over 65 million people living in the densely populated cities from Washington to New York and Boston, which is known as the Boswash megalopolis.
Along with powerful winds, heavy rains and harsh inland surges of water are also expected.
Hurricane Irene is still a Category 2 storm, with winds around 100 miles (about 160 kilometers) per hour. However, the mayor warned New Yorkers not to be fooled because "the sun is shining." Bloomberg said Irene is a "dangerous storm," and "it's heading basically directly for us."
The National Hurricane Center warned on Friday that Irene could become a Category 4 storm by Thursday, with wind speeds of at least 131 mph (over 210 kph).
Forecasters continue to warn that Irene is shaping up to be the storm of the century for the North East as hurricane warnings and state of emergencies have been issued for New York and New Jersey.
Hurricane watches are now in effect f or the east coast from North Carolina to New York Harbor, including Virginia, the Chesapeake bay, the Delaware Bay, and along the Jersey Shore extending beyond Sandy Hook.
The National Hurricane center reports the storm stretches almost 600 miles wide and will carry a storm surge of 5 to 10 feet as it heads up the east coast and continues on its forecast track which currently has a 90% probability of directly hitting Wall Street.
Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan attends a general meeting of his ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) lawmakers at the parliament building in Tokyo, August 26, 2011
TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan announced Friday he is resigning after almost 15 months in office, amid plunging approval ratings over his government's handling of the tsunami disaster and nuclear crisis.
In a nationally televised speech, Kan said he was stepping down as chief of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, effectively ending his tenure as leader of the country. A ruling party vote on Monday will pick a new leader, who will officially replace Kan as prime minister — the country's sixth in five years.
Japan has been plagued by high turnover in political leadership at a time when the country faces huge problems, including an aging population, bulging debt and stagnant economy — and now reconstruction from the worst disaster to hit the country since World War II.
CAPE TOWN, S. Africa - The decision was made on Thursday, The United States and South Africa reach an agreement that will release USD 1.5 billion of the frozen Libyan assets, which are expected to be used for emergency assistance to the crisis-hit country. Earlier this week, a US proposal to unfreeze a portion of the blocked assets was dismissed by South Africa, which serves on the UNSC's sanctions committee as a non-permanent member, on the ground that it would imply recognition of Libya's revolutionary Transitional National Council. Proposals in the committee require the approval of the UNSC's all 15 members.
Washington says the money will be delivered to the Libyan revolutionaries to meet urgent humanitarian needs.
Libya has been the scene of intense fighting between regime troops and revolutionary fighters since a revolution seeking to topple the country's dictator Muammar Gaddafi broke out in mid-February.
This week, Tripoli came under the control of the opposition fighters, who also captured Gaddafi's Bab al-Aziziyah compound in the capital. On Thursday, around 1,000 opposition forces surrounded 10 buildings near the compound, facing heavy resistance from the pro-Gaddafi forces. The now-fugitive dictator's whereabouts, however, is yet to be known. Source: Agency
Eastern part of USA is traumatized by the wrath of mother nature. And nothing much the people can do except prepare for evacuation and off course-panics.
As it is, The impact of the disaster, could be worst than 9/11 and fire in California combined?
According to report, two days ago a rare earthquake of at least 5.9 magnitudes shook much of the American east coast, being felt as far as Canada and prompting the evacuation of buildings in Washington and New York City.
And on today news, US is also bracing for devastation as a large and dangerous storm roars towards the densely populated East Coast, including New York.
Hurricane Irene is forecast to become a lethal Category 4 storm with winds of 135 miles per hour by as early as Thursday, according to the US National Hurricane Center.
Some religious scholars even believed, the catastrophicEarthquakes and the Killer Hurricanes are send by God as punishment for whatever wrongdoing, the US had done to this planet. You can call it a mitosis, but in this bizarre scenario...Many people will get hurt. And so much so, we pray God have mercy on the people of America.
The US Geological Survey said the earthquake was half a mile deep and its epicenter was the bvillage of Mineral, close to the state capital Richmond. Tremors lasted for more than 20 seconds, sending people running from their houses and office buildings.
Parts of the White House, the US Capitol and the Pentagon were evacuated amid fears that Washington might be under terrorist attack. There were no initial reports of injuries or major structural damage. Some pinnacles were reported to have fallen off Washington’s National Cathedral, while flights at John F Kennedy International Airport in New York and Reagan National Airport in Washington were suspended.
The quake was felt on the island of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, where President Barack Obama is on holiday. Obama was playing golf at the time and it was not immediately known whether he had detected the earth moving.
Tens of thousands of people were evacuated from buildings and mobile phone services jammed. The earthquake led to disruptions in air traffic, stooped trains and created traffic jams, leading to jibes from Americans on the West Coast who are more inured to seismic tremors. Perhaps the most trauma occurred in Mineral itself. The quake stopped everything for hours. Schools closed. Coffee shops shut down. At the Food Lion, on the outskirts, managers shooed reporters away but not before one employee said: "The whole floor was going up and down. It was crazy in there."
There were also tremors in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Rhode Island, North Carolina, South Carolina while one witness claimed to have felt it in Toronto, Canada. Earthquakes of such magnitude are very rare on America’s earth coast.
Tourists have been fleeing from the storm's path through the Caribbean in recent days as Irene gained in strength, pummeling the Bahamas last night as a Category 3 monster.
Evacuations have begun from the islands off North Carolina, near where the storm is predicted to make landfall on Saturday.
President Barack Obama, holidaying on Martha's Vineyard off the East Coast, may also have to face evacuation depending on the storm's path.
The US Navy on Thursday ordered all its ships in the huge port of Hampton Roads, Virginia, out to sea to weather the storm.
On Thursday the NHC issued an alert for the entire US East Coast. Forecasters said they expected the eye to come close to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina early Saturday, then continue north over water toward the eastern edge of New York's Long Island on Sunday.
The storm carved a path through the Bahamas yesterday, destroying houses and flattening trees. Captain Stephen Russell, director of the country's National Emergency Management Agency, said he was getting "disturbing reports" from the two islands in the chain most affected, but that he was not yet able to get a full assessment. "That can be devastating for some of those islands," Captain Russell said. If Irene makes a direct landfall in the continental United States, it will be the first hurricane to hit there since Ike pounded Texas in 2008.
VANUATU, Tanna, Australia – Somewhere in the island of Tanna, Vanuatu tribal chiefs designed a move to heal the rift, a young boy and girl will be exchanged between the groups - a practice that has not taken place on the island for more than 200 years Warring tribes on the tiny Pacific island of Tanna have agreed to swap two children to settle a long-running land dispute that descended into violence.
The clans, who have been arguing over property rights on the island for more than two decades, revived the ancient and controversial custom of child swapping in an attempt to end hostilities after the feud turned violent and several people were injured in a brawl. Such a child swap has not taken place in more than 200 years.
Seth Kaurua, from the Vanuatu Council of Chiefs, said the feud between the two tribes had been going on for 27 years, but the chiefs had to step in when it turned violent and several people were injured.
According to Seth, the practice on Tanna for resolving a dispute, whenever it turns to violence, is that we have to use our traditional way. One tribe gives away a child, female or male, to the other tribe and the other tribe has to do the same. The aim of the exchange was to "build a bridge between the two tribes and make the relationship stronger."
Exchanging children is rare in Tanna, and frowned on by the court system, but it is does take place from time to time. It is not uncommon on the island for a female child to be given away to replace a lost family member - for example if a child is killed in a car accident, the driver could offer one of their own children as reparation.
However, a swap involving two large tribes giving up a child had not taken place on the island for more than 200 years, because peace had prevailed, Mr. Kaurua said.
"We had a tribal fight 200 years ago and no one has been killed, no fighting since then. So when this dispute happened, people just go back to what happened in the past to resolve it.
"Many people in different countries might think it is strange but for us its normal practice, it is a highly respected custom, it is the way we make peace."
The child swap itself takes place in an elaborate reconciliation ceremony, in which both tribes gather in a special meeting place. There, the child is paraded in front of the new tribe and the leader of the tribe shakes hands with the child and its parents, indicating that he will accept the boy or girl.
While the child does not have to move to its new tribe immediately, they will grow up in the knowledge that they no longer belong to their parents, and will eventually have to leave, Mr. Kaurua said. So far, one of the swaps had taken place, involving a girl aged seven, he said. The second swap, involving a boy, is due to take place in the coming weeks. The children involved often benefitted from the arrangement because they could remain in contact with their family, while gaining a new extended family, he said.
LONDON, U.K. – The study by the Migration-watch think-tank found that 660,000 asylum cases were decided from 1997 to 2010. Some form of humanitarian protection, including asylum, was granted in 243,000 cases. This left 417,000 claimants who were rejected and should have left the UK. But only 36 per cent or 151,540 of those denied asylum were removed. Another 8,615 were found to have left without telling the authorities.
Immigration minister Damian Green said it was a symptom of the hopeless chaos which Labour inflicted on border controls. This means more than 250,000 have neither left nor been removed and are therefore presumed to remain in the UK illegally, Migration-watch said.
Labour spent £2 million (Dh12.11 million) every day on a shambolic asylum system which failed to remove hundreds of thousands of bogus claimants, reveals a blistering study.
An audit of the last government's record reveals how officials spent as much as £10 billion processing applications as they struggled to cope with a surge in numbers.
But only one in four of the 660,000 decisions made on asylum claims between 1997 and 2010 led to the applicant being removed.
Even where the claim was considered to be unfounded, the majority of failed asylum-seekers were not sent home. They are now living here illegally.
Its report also found that between 2008 and 2010, 59 per cent of claims were lodged only after the person had been detected by the authorities.
Asylum-seekers with genuine claims are supposed to claim at the first possible opportunity. Britain was also found to approve more claims than France, through which many claimants pass to reach the allegedly soft touch UK. In 2009, Britain granted permission to stay in 28 per cent of cases, compared to 19 per cent in France. Under Labour, asylum cases increased hugely from 32,500 in 1997 to a peak of 85,000 in 2002.
The study estimated the cost of asylum since 1999 at close to £10 billion, including legal aid and court costs. This includes £2.8 billion for temporary accommodation, £927 million on payments to support those awaiting a ruling and almost £500 million for failed claimants who cannot return home or are taking steps to leave the UK.