Australia has joined the list of countries that have warned the Israeli regime against any military strike on Iran, a report says. According to Israeli Haaretz newspaper, Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr(right photo), in a phone conversation with his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman, has voiced Canberra’s opposition to an attack on Iran.
“More and more Western countries are joining a growing list of countries who are applying heavy international pressure on Israel to prevent it from attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities. The latest voice is that of the new Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr,” the report said.
The Australian minister has warned Lieberman that “an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities will have serious consequences.”
“Our position is very clear -- we counsel Israel against taking military action apart from any other consideration. It is not in the interest of Israel,” Carr said, adding that a military operation was still only a “hypothetical solution.”
The US and the EU say Iran is trying to weaponize its nuclear technology and have used the allegation as a pretext to impose sanctions against Tehran, while the Israeli regime has publicly engaged in making threats of military strikes against Iran.
Washington has also made repeated threats of keeping its military “options on the table” against the Islamic Republic in case America’s numerous economic and trade sanctions against the Iranian nation fails to force the country to abandon its nuclear energy program.
Iranian officials, meanwhile, have vowed a crushing response to any military strike against the country, warning that any such measure would lead to a major war that will spread beyond the Middle East region.
In an address on the occasion of Nowruz (Iranian new year) last week, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei reiterated that the Iranian nation will retaliate in kind to any possible attack against the country by the US or the Israeli regime. “We do not possess a nuclear weapon and we will not build one, but we will defend ourselves against any aggression, whether by the US or the Zionist regime, at the same level,” the Leader said.
VANCOUVER, B.C, Canada - Beach shots depict her as every inch a curvaceous beauty queen. But 23-year-old Jenna Talackova was born male, and that led organisers to disqualify her last week as a finalist in the 61st Miss Universe Canada pageant taking place in May.
The rules of the contest, run by the Donald Trump organisation, say entrants must be "naturally born" females. However, the Vancouver woman underwent a sex change four years ago.
"She did not meet the requirements to compete despite having stated otherwise on her entry form," said a statement from Miss Universe Canada.
After review, organisers discovered that Jenna Talackova falsified her application and did not meet the necessary requirements to compete in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada pageant.
The disqualification has won Talackova widespread sympathy and raised the question of whether the pageant has the right to decide who is female.Talackova is obtaining legal counsHer change of gender was hardly a secret before the event because she had competed in the 2010 Tiffany Miss International Queen Competition for transgender and transsexual women in Pattaya, Thailand.
Her change of gender was hardly a secret before the event because she had competed in the 2010 Tiffany Miss International Queen Competition for transgender and transsexual women in Pattaya, Thailand.
In a video interview for that pageant, she said she had lived her life as a female since age four, began hormone therapy at 14 and changed sex at 19. "I regard myself as a woman with a history," she said.
Connie McNaughton, Miss World Canada in 1984 and first runner-up for the world crown, called the decision outdated and discriminatory.
A Vancouver transgender activist, Jamie Lee Hamilton, said Talackova could sue for violation of her human rights.
WASHINGTON — Global warming is leading to such severe storms, droughts, and heat waves that nations should prepare for an unprecedented onslaught of deadly and costly weather disasters, an international panel of climate scientists said in a new report issued Wednesday. The greatest threat from extreme weather is to highly populated, poor regions of the world.
The report warns, but no corner of the globe — from Mumbai to Miami — is immune. The document by a Nobel Prize-winning panel of climate scientists forecasts stronger tropical cyclones and more frequent heat waves, deluges, and droughts.
The 594-page report blames the scale of recent and future disasters on a combination of man-made climate change, population shifts, and poverty.
In the past, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, founded in 1988 by the United Nations, has focused on the slow, inexorable rise of temperatures and oceans as part of global warming. This report by the panel is the first to look at the less common but far more noticeable extreme weather changes, which have been costing about $80 billion a year in damage.
The report specifically points to New Orleans during 2005's Hurricane Katrina, noting that "developed countries also suffer severe disasters because of social vulnerability and inadequate disaster protection."
In coastal areas of the United States, property damage from hurricanes and rising seas could increase by 20 percent by 2030, the report said. And in parts of Texas, the area vulnerable to storm surge could more than double by 2080. Already, U.S.-insured losses from weather disasters have soared from about $3 billion a year in the 1980s to about $20 billion a year in the last decade, even after adjusting for inflation, said Mark Way, director of sustainability at insurance giant Swiss Re. Last year that total rose to $35 billion, but much of that was from tornadoes, which scientists are unable to connect with global warming. U.S.-insured losses are just a fraction of the overall damage from weather disasters each year.
Globally, the scientists say that some places, particularly parts of Mumbai in India, could become uninhabitable from floods, storms, and rising seas. In 2005, over 24 hours nearly 3 feet of rain fell on the city, killing more than 1,000 people and causing massive damage. Roughly 2.7 million people live in areas at risk of flooding.
Other cities at lesser risk include Miami, Shanghai, Bangkok, China's Guangzhou, Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City, Myanmar's Yangon (formerly known as Rangoon), and India's Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta). The people of small island nations, such as the Maldives, may also need to abandon their homes because of rising seas and fierce storms.
This report — the summary of which was issued in November — is unique because it emphasizes managing risks and how taking precautions can work, Field said. In fact, the panel's report uses the word "risk" 4,387 times.
Field pointed to storm-and-flood-prone Bangladesh, an impoverished country that has learned from its past disasters. In 1970, a Category 3 tropical cyclone named Bhola killed more than 300,000 people. In 2007, the stronger cyclone Sidr killed only 4,200 people. Despite the loss of life, Bangladesh is considered a success story because it was better prepared and invested in warning and disaster prevention, Field said.
A country that was not as prepared, Myanmar, was hit with a similar sized storm in 2008, which killed 138,000 people.
The study forecasts that some tropical cyclones — which include hurricanes in the United States — will be stronger because of global warming. But the number of storms is not predicted to increase and may drop slightly. Some other specific changes in severe weather that the scientists said they had the most confidence in predicting include more heat waves and record hot temperatures worldwide and increased downpours in Alaska, Canada, northern and central Europe, East Africa and north Asia.
IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri told The Associated Press that while all countries are hurt by increased climate extremes, the overwhelming majority of deaths occur in poorer, less developed places. Yet, it is wealthy nations that produce more greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, raising the issue of fairness.
Some weather extremes aren't deadly, however. Sometimes, they are just strange.
Report co-author David Easterling of the National Climatic Data Center says this month's U.S. heat wave, while not deadly, fits the pattern of worsening extremes. The U.S. has set nearly 6,800 high temperature records in March. Last year, the United States set a record for billion-dollar weather disasters, though many were tornadoes.
Northeastern University engineering and environment professor Auroop Ganguly, who didn't take part in writing the IPCC report, praised it and said the extreme weather it highlights "is one of the major and important types of what we would call 'global weirding.'" It's a phrase that some experts have been starting to use more to describe climate extremes. Field doesn't consider the term inaccurate, but he doesn't use it.
WASHINGTON, U.S.A. - For every cloud of smoke that follows a CIA drone strike in Pakistan, dozens of smaller plumes can be traced to a gaunt figure standing in a courtyard in the agency's Langley campus in Virginia. The man with the nicotine habit is in his late 50s, with stubble on his face and the dark-suited wardrobe of an undertaker. As chief of the CIA's Counterterrorism Centre for the past six years, he has functioned in a funereal capacity for Al Qaida.
Roger, which is the first name of his cover identity, may be the most consequential but least visible national security official in Washington: the principal architect of the CIA's drone campaign and the leader of the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. In many ways, he has also been the driving force of the Obama administration's embrace of targeted killing as a centrepiece of its counterterrorism efforts.
Colleagues describe Roger as a collection of contradictions. A chain-smoker who spends countless hours on a treadmill. Notoriously surly yet able to win over enough support from subordinates and bosses to hold on to his job. He presides over a campaign that has killed thousands of Islamist militants and angered millions of Muslims, but he himself has embraced Islam. His defenders don't even try to make him sound likable.
Instead, they emphasise his operational talents, encyclopedic understanding of the enemy and tireless work ethic.
Irascible is the nicest way I would describe him," said a former high-ranking CIA official who supervised the counterterrorism chief. "But his range of experience and relationships have made him about as close to indispensable as you could think."
Critics are less equivocal. "He's sandpaper" and "not at all a team player," said a former senior US military official who worked closely with the CIA. Like others, the official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the director of CTC, as the centre is known, remains undercover. Regardless of Roger's management style, there is consensus on at least two adjectives that apply to his tenure: eventful and long. Since becoming chief, Roger has worked for two presidents, four CIA directors and four directors of national intelligence.
In the top echelons of national security, only Robert Mueller, who became FBI director shortly before the September 11, 2001, attacks, has been in place longer. Roger's longevity is all the more remarkable, current and former CIA officials said, because the CTC job is one of the agency's most stressful and gruelling. It involves managing thousands of employees, monitoring dozens of operations abroad and making decisions on who the agency should target in lethal strikes — all while knowing that the CTC director will be among the first to face blame if there is another attack on US soil.
Most of Roger's predecessors, including Cofer Black and Robert Grenier, lasted less than three years. There have been rumours in recent weeks that Roger will soon depart as well, perhaps to retire, although similar speculation has surfaced nearly every year since he took the job.
The CIA declined to comment on Roger's status or provide any information on him for this article. Roger declined repeated requests for an interview. The Post agreed to withhold some details, including Roger's real name, his full cover identity and his age, at the request of agency officials, who cited concerns for his safety. Although CIA officials often have their cover identities removed when they join the agency's senior ranks, Roger has maintained his.
Jamil Khir Baharom(photo above), who oversees Islamic affairs, says the state has the right to safeguard the interests of Muslims. KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Islamic Affairs Minister Jamil Khir Baharom has defended the controversial seminar on the alleged threat posed by Christianity, saying it was meant to protect Muslims. He said the seminar will be held according to laws that allowed states to hold such programmes if Muslims were deemed threatened. He added that the seminar, jointly organised by the Johor Education Department and state Mufti Department and to be held on Saturday, was not intended to hurt any quarter. “The state has the right to safeguard the interests of Muslims, it is within their jurisdiction. The interests of Muslims is important and we must consider this,” he told reporters here.
The seminar triggered yet another outrage among the country’s Christians amid an already souring relations between them and the country’s majority Muslims over several sensitive incidences in the recent past.
Church leaders had come out to condemn the Johor Mufti and education department for allowing the seminar to take place, saying it endorsed the unproven claim that Christians were threatening the Islamic faith.
The seminar was themed “Pemantapan Aqidah, Bahaya Liberalisme dan Pluralism Serta Ancaman Kristianisasi Terhadap Umat Islam. Apa Peranan Guru?” (Strengthening the Faith, the Dangers of Liberalism and Pluralism and the Threat of Christianity towards Muslims. What is the Role of Teachers?).
Jamil was asked if he agreed with the criticism that the title of the programme was inappropriate and offensive.
He replied: “I don’t know. You have to ask the agency involved. I haven’t seen the title myself.”
It was reported yesterday that the Johor Mufti Department had defended the seminar’s title, saying said it was held only to ensure young Muslims were not influenced by “the threat of Christianity.”
An officer was quoted as saying that state authorities “fear young Muslims will be confused and not understand” when faced with attempts to convert them although there was no proof to show proselytization attempts.
Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim said yesterday the seminar was part of an effort to manage control through the use of fear and faith. Christians form 9.2% of Malaysia’s 28.3 million-strong population. The recent legal tussle over the right to use the Arabic term “Allah” to describe the Christian God had strengthened Muslim suspicion of a widespread Christian conversion campaign and embittered relations between the two. Christian leaders denied the allegation.
LONDON. U.K. - The British government has advised motorists to take “sensible precautions” of stockpiling gasoline over fears of a potential strike by fuel tanker drivers. "I do not want a strike to take place. I hope the talks will be successful, but in government you always have to prepare for any eventuality. The British people would expect that… If there is an opportunity to top up your tank if a strike is potentially on the way, then it is a sensible thing if you are able to do that," said British Prime Minister David Cameron at a press conference after chairing a Wednesday meeting. Cameron made the comments hours after Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude advised drivers to store petrol “a little bit in the garage as well in a jerry can”.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) warned that the advice to stockpile fuel would highly increase the risk of fire and explosion and called on the government to withdraw it.
"There is a real danger the public will start storing fuel in inappropriate ways if the government is encouraging panic-buying and storage. This advice is wrong and must be withdrawn," said Matt Wrack, the FBU general secretary.
On Monday, fuel tanker drivers voted for strike action to express their anger over their working conditions and health and safety regulations.
Unite, the largest trade union in Britain, warned that the action could deplete petrol stocks within 48 hours while the Automobile Association said the panic caused by the potential strike would cause a 2 or 3 pence increase in the price of petrol.
The strike action could effectively paralyze Britain’s transport system as it could close up to 7,900 petrol stations across Britain. Earlier this week, the British government announced that it was drawing up contingency plans to deploy soldiers from the Royal Air Force to drive fuel tankers. However, the contingency plans might not yield the desired results as soldiers need at least eight days of training to be able to drive the tankers and Unite has not set a date for the strike.
PARIS, France - There has been a call for vigilance in France after an assault on a Jewish boy, the latest anti-Semitic incident reported since the Toulouse massacre. Teenagers punched the boy, 12, in the back of the head and beat him, calling him a "dirty Jew" in the attack near a Jewish school in south-eastern Paris. Jean-Paul Amoyelle, head of the Ozar Hatorah network of Jewish schools in France, said he feared further attacks.
The Jewish school attacked in Toulouse has reportedly received hate mail.
Several emails are said to have been sent to the school four days after the massacre on 19 March, when Islamist gunman Mohamed Merah shot dead three small children and a teacher, as well as seriously wounding a schoolboy.
The messages warned that the shooting was only "a beginning", the French newspaper Le Parisien says. The emails were reportedly signed "the Justiciar of France" and "real French people" - suggesting the work of extreme nationalists, rather than Islamists.
The US and EU sanctions against Iran’s energy sector can trigger a recession in the eurozone and hit the global economy by dramatically lifting oil prices, an economic analyst says. Western sanctions have so far failed to halt Iran’s nuclear energy program, “but have caused an oil price spike that could trigger a global recession,” wrote Richard Lein in an article published in the Malaysian English-language newspaper New Straits Times on Monday.
“Oil prices hit a record high in euro terms earlier this month and analysts now believe they may have already dragged the eurozone into recession,” he added.
He also pointed to US President Barack Obama’s admission that rising tensions over the Islamic Republic have been "adding a US $20 … or US $30 premium to oil prices.”
According to the international accounting firm Ernst & Young (EY), a hike in crude prices to US $150 per barrel “would cause a recession of one per cent in the EU this year, double the milder 0.5 per cent contraction currently forecast,” Lein pointed out.
This is while recent data released by the Joint Organization Data Initiative (JODI) shows that Iranian crude export has increased in January despite sanctions imposed against the country’s oil sector.
On the New Year’s Eve, Washington imposed new sanctions on Iran and accordingly penalize countries for importing Iranian oil or doing trade with its central bank.
EU foreign ministers also approved sanctions against Iran’s oil and financial sectors on January 23, including a ban on Iranian oil imports, a freeze on the assets of the country’s central bank within EU states, and a ban on selling grain, diamonds, gold, and other precious metals to Tehran.
The measures have been adopted with the professed aim of pressuring Iran into abandoning its nuclear energy program, which the US, Israel and some of their allies allege has military dimensions.
Tehran has, however, refuted the allegations, arguing that as a committed member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it has the right to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. Iran also maintains that the IAEA has never found any evidence of weaponization in its frequent inspections of the country’s nuclear facilities.
Milan Jurisic believed to have betray his gang member...He was totured, killed and eaten by his treacherous serbian gang member.
MADRID, Spain - Milan Jurisic, 37, was killed with a hammer by a gang of criminals from the Zemun Clan, a mafia group from Serbia, in Madrid. His remains were then ground up with a meat grinder, cooked, and eaten, according to a confession by another Zemun Clan member, Sretko Kalinic - nicknamed 'The Butcher'.
Later the gang reportedly threw the bones into the River Manzanares in the Spanish capital.
Earlier this week, police found bones in the river and the apartment where the killing apparently took place in 2009.
Jurisic is thought to have betrayed his fellow gang members by stealing money from them. He was on the run after being convicted in his absence of assassinating Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic in 2003.
Kalinic confessed to the Spanish murder after he was arrested in the Croatian capital of Zagreb in 2010.
Police believe the killing and subsequent cannibalism were led by Luka Bojovic (left photo), a Serbian gangster arrested in Valencia last month. Bojovic was also on the run after being accused of assassinating Djindjic. Inside Bojovic's apartment in Valencia, police found documents backing up Kalinic's account of the killing. Officers also found a letter suggesting Jurisic and Bojovic fell out over a woman. The murder is being investigated by magistrate Fernando Andreu at the National Court in Madrid.
MANILA, Philippines - In a press briefing aired over the state-run radio station dzRB on Sunday, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said that all Filipinos should help the government achieve the Department of Tourism's (DOT) goal of 4.6 million tourist visits for 2012. She said such a goal can be achieved with the help of every. "The benefits would rebound to all," she said, encouraging Filipinos to make foreign visitors' stay in the country more enjoyable. When the tourism department set a target for tourist arrivals for the year, the presidential palace called on the most obvious resource; the Filipino people. Valte said, it is not only the government that can make the [tourists'] visit to the Philippines more enjoyable and more memorable but the contribution of every Filipino.
It could be something as simple as giving the tourists the right directions or just smiling at them or giving them some assistance, telling them where to go. Filipino can all pitch in to help, she added.
According to Valte, the DOT reported that for January 2012 alone, 411,064 tourists have arrived in the country, representing a 17.5 per cent increase from the same period last year.
She expressed confidence that with the people's help, the government can sustain this record and achieve the tourist arrivals target for 2012.
"Remember its more fun in the Philippines and it is imperative that we are one for fun in the Philippines and we will all benefit if we achieve the target of the DOT of 4.6-million visitors for this year," Valte said as she referred to the DOT's campaign theme.
"Hopefully, we can all pitch in and do our share in making the visit of foreigners to our country more enjoyable and more memorable," she concluded.
According to the DOT, visitors from Korea comprised the biggest number of arrivals for January 2011 as it yielded a volume of 102,166 visitors to the country.
SEOUL, Korea - More than 50 world leaders are expected to attend nuclear summit in S.Korea tomorrow and on Tuesday. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama has departed for Seoul, South Korea, for the international summit on keeping nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists The president will join a massive gathering of world leaders whose united goal is to secure nuclear material and prevent it from being smuggled to states or groups intent on mass destruction.
Obama's visit comes amid new tension with the North over a planned long-range rocket launch. The US has said the plan jeopardises a deal to provide American food aid.
Obama's first stop tomorrow morning will be at the Demilitarised Zone separating North and South Korea. His visit is likely to be read by the North as a special show of strength to its new, untested leader.
For a president up for re-election, this will be a rare Asia trip devoted to just one country, built around a nuclear security summit that carries his imprint.
It is brinkmanship with North Korea and Iran, another nation not invited to the summit, that has dominated much of the nuclear debate and that will cast an unquestionable shadow over talks in Seoul.
Meanwhile, Britain warned on Friday there was a "significant likelihood" that terrorists will one day acquire chemical, biological or nuclear weapons unless countries step up their efforts to keep sensitive materials and information secure.
The British government released its first comprehensive National Counter-Proliferation Strategy, detailing the risks from the spread such weapons and what Britain and other countries can do to stop it. Halfway into an ambitious four-year effort to safeguard nuclear materials from terrorists, many nations have taken voluntary steps to roundup material that could be used for terrorist weapons.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Malaysia apparently bowed to the pressure from the United States and the European Union that want to punish Iran for its nuclear programmes. Prime Minister Najib Razak said Malaysia will halt imports of crude oil from Iran, state media reported on Saturday. “It's (oil import from Iran) only a small amount,” official news agency Bernama quoted Najib as saying on Friday. A report quoting sources from national oil company Petronas said it will stop imports of crude from Iran in April, two months before a US embargo takes effect. The south-east Asian country is estimated to import between 50,000 to 60,000 barrels per day of Iranian crude oil.
NEW DELHI, India - According to Delhi Police statistics, 18 per cent of the 543 murders committed last year were as a direct consequence of failed relationships. And a majority of those involved belonged to well-to-do families. Psychologists are of the opinion that today's generation is not taught to take ‘no' for an answer and it's this inability to accept rejection that has seen many a love story and alliance ending in tragedy.
Experts say such relationships can be interpreted more as an obsession, than love. It is akin to possessing something and if it cannot belong to them, it has to be destroyed.
For instance: It enraged Amar no end when 19-year-old Pallavi, daughter of a bureaucrat, moved on from their relationship of two years. As her parents fixed her marriage with another boy, Amar, son of a businessman, threatened to commit suicide. When Pallavi continued ignoring him, he took to drugs and sent text messages warning that he would harm her.
In another case, Chitra killed her husband Deepak, not because he was having an affair, but importantly because he wanted to get out of their two-year-old marriage. The crime was well planned and Chitra admitted she was jealous of the other woman and had intended harming her also.
some experts dealing with criminals on a psychological level admit that the crimes have been committed in urban set-ups where teenagers now have more ‘friends' and relationship issues than ever before. All this was because social media allows them to develop contacts even under the most restrictive circumstances. "Limit and monitor the use of social networking sites and other gadgets that keep us connected forever," advises Chugh. "It is good to disconnect every now and then to give a break and take out time for one's own self," he recommends. 18% of murders in New Delhi traced to broken relationships. 543 murders in city last year.