US and British warplanes have bombed suspected resistance hideouts near the Syrian border as US and Iraqi forces pressed on with a double offensive in Iraq's al-Anbar province.
On Sunday, US marine and British Royal Air Force warplanes attacked vehicles and buildings with laser-guided bombs and missiles in and around the town of Karabilah near the Syrian border, on the third day of an operation against resistance activity called Operation Spear, the US military said.
Super Cobra helicopters, British GR-4 Tornados and US F-16s, and 1000 US marines and Iraqi soldiers on the ground were involved in the fight, the military said.
The above is from Aljazeera.Net and is entitled "US, British planes bomb Iraq targets" and Brenda sent it in.
[Sidebar: For The Third Estate Sunday Review, we all read Hugh Miles' Al-Jazeera and you can check out "Five Books, Five Minutes" and see that we all agreed Miles' book is worth reading.]
Gareth e-mails Michael McCarthy and Colin Brown "Global warming in Africa: The hottest issue of all" (The Independent):
Bob Geldof, take note. All the rich nations' efforts to alleviate poverty in Africa will fail unless climate change can be checked, a coalition of British aid agencies and environment groups warns today.
More favourable arrangements for African debt relief, aid and trade - the point of the rock star's forthcoming Live8 concerts and items on the agenda for the Gleneagles G8 summit - will count for nothing unless the effects of global warming are countered, say the development and green groups in a hard-hitting new report.
To combat climate change, rich countries must cut their greenhouse gas emissions further, far beyond the targets laid down in the Kyoto Protocol, they say. But more than that, aid policy for Africa as a whole needs a complete rethink in climate change terms, because the continent is uniquely vulnerable to climatic shifts, with 70 per cent of its people being immediately dependent on rain-fed, small-scale agriculture.
From IPS, Kara e-mails to note Peter Hirschberg's "Now Vacated Homes Become a Problem:"
It might have been expected that Israel, not wanting to have pictures broadcast of Palestinians triumphantly entering the evacuated homes of settlers in the Gaza Strip, would want to demolish those homes. It might equally have been expected that the Palestinians, wanting to be seen marching into the homes of their retreating occupiers, would want the houses to remain intact. But the question of what to do with some 1,600 settler homes - inhabited by 7,500 settlers - that are to be evacuated in mid-August as a part of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan has become an increasingly vexing one, for both Israel and the Palestinians. After initially signalling that the homes would be demolished to spare the settlers the sight of Palestinians entering their houses, Sharon recently indicated that the matter was still unresolved.
The reason: the military has informed the Israeli leader that it opposes demolishing the homes because this would significantly increase the time it would take to complete the Gaza withdrawal and would expose soldiers to increased risk of attack from Palestinian militants.
If the homes had to be demolished, Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz said, "we would have to maintain military forces, security guards and forces to destroy the houses in the middle of enemy territory, and there is no assurance that there wouldn't be terror attacks."
Mofaz added that he was "not prepared, as the defence minister of the State of Israel, to endanger Israeli soldiers in order to destroy the houses of settlers." It would be "very difficult for me to look into the eyes of the mothers of Israeli soldiers.... and explain to them that their sons were killed because we insisted on destroying these buildings," he told Israel Television.
No real surprise (cause who is she to blink at lost lives), Condi Rice endorses the demolishing of homes (Eric Silver's "Rice endorses plan to demolish settlers' homes" from The Independent).
From Haaretz, Blaine notes "Shalom calls for swift end to China arms sale crisis with U.S.:"
Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom called Sunday for a swift resolution to the crisis between Israel and the United States over Israel's sale of military technology to China, saying that Israel had had no intention of harming American interests.
"We cannot downplay the crisis over Israel's military exports to China. I think this issue must be resolved soon," Shalom told Israel Radio, as he prepared to meet Sunday with both U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing.
The Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported Sunday that the resolution of the crisis with the U.S. will cost Defense Ministry Director-General Amos Yaron his job.
Blaine also notes Amos Harel, Yair Ettinger, Arnon Regular and Yuval Azoulay's "Residents of Neveh Dekalim hotel attack Palestinians" (also from Haaretz):
Right-wing extremists living in the hotel at Neveh Dekalim in Gush Katif yesterday attacked Palestinians from the adjacent Moassi area. Three Palestinians were injured in the attack, which met a response of mortars being fired at Gush Katif.
In a separate incident, an Islamic Jihad activist was killed near the settlement of Kfar Darom in the center of the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian soures said Salah Amtayer, 55, was at the beach when he was beaten by settlers. Two other Palestinians, Mohammad Majaida, 19, and Nasser Wafi, 40, were also attacked when they came to Amtayer's aid. Police said that when the Palestinians threw stones at their attackers, a settler opened fire on them, and they suffered moderate injuries.
Lynda e-mails Carl Schreck's "Journalist Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison" (The Moscow Times):
A local court in Smolensk has sentenced a journalist to more than five years in prison after he was convicted of defaming three regional officials by accusing them of masterminding the killing of his boss five years ago.
Judge Irina Malinovskaya of the Smolensk magistrates court on June 6 sentenced Nikolai Goshko to five years and one month in prison for accusing regional officials on the air of organizing the killing of Sergei Novikov, head of the independent Smolensk station Radio Vesna.
Novikov was shot in the stairwell of his apartment building on July 26, 2000, by an unidentified assailant. A day later, Goshko put the blame on Alexander Prokhorov, at the time governor of the Smolensk region; his deputy governor, Yury Balbyshkin; and former regional prosecutor Viktor Zabolotsky, all of whom subsequently pressed defamation charges against Goshko.
The day he was killed, Novikov had announced on a regional television program that he had evidence of corruption on the part of Balbyshkin.
Since Novikov's killing, both Balbyshkin and Prokhorov have been convicted of corruption.
Whatever the merits of the defamation case, Goshko's unusually harsh sentence has drawn fire from media watchdog organizations, which say they see evidence of a politically motivated crackdown on press freedom.
Pru notes, from the UK Socialist Worker, Mike Gonzalez "Bolivian rebellion topples president:"
For the second time in three years, the Bolivian mass movement has brought down a president. Carlos Mesa resigned on 6 June as peasants, workers and students continued to demonstrate their strength and their resolve in the streets of La Paz, Sucre and other major cities.
Today, as in 2003, the real enemy stood in the shadows behind the Bolivian government. Global capital was at both Mesa and his predecessor’s right hand, pressing for access to Bolivia’s main source of wealth -- its oil and gas reserves.
In 1999 it was water that they had in their sights, as huge private companies such as Bechtel tried to take control of the national supply. In 2005 it was British Gas and the Spanish oil company Repsol that wanted to control Bolivia's gas.
Tom e-mails to note "Sinn Fein reinstates McCartney murder case members" from Australia's ABC:
The IRA's political ally Sinn Fein has reinstated five of 12 members suspended following the murder of Robert McCartney outside a Belfast bar in January.
Sinn Fein said the five had complied with party leader Gerry Adams' call to give statements about the murder, which sparked international outrage, to Northern Ireland's police ombudsman.
A sixth person had also given a statement and a decision would be made on that member in due course, Sinn Fein said in a statement.
Twelve Sinn Fein party members were in or near the bar when father-of-two McCartney was stabbed and beaten to death in an alleged dispute with local IRA men, and were later suspended.
Of the 12, four later resigned and two were expelled for not complying with Adams' instruction.
On the same topic, Dominick e-mails (from The Irish Examiner) Dan McGinn's "McCartney family seeks talks with Sinn Féin:"
Sinn Féin said that the party had ensured witnesses had come forward and made statements to solicitors, to the Police Ombudsman or else directly to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).
"Sinn Féin will continue to do all that we can to help the McCartney family," a spokesman added. Originally 12 people were suspended by the party. However, four of them subsequently resigned and two were expelled for not obeying Mr Adams's calls to come forward.
Catherine McCartney, Robert's sister, confirmed last night that an email was being sent to Sinn Féin requesting more information about the five people who had been reinstated.
Lori e-mails to note, from The Australian Herald, "Some Iraqi legislators seek U.S. pullout:"
A large minority of Iraqi legislators Sunday demanded a timetable for the withdrawal of the U.S.-led forces from Iraq.
A memorandum signed by 83 MPs in the 275-seat National Assembly was submitted to the House speaker Sunday in which they blasted the Iraqi government's request to the U.N. Security Council to extend the presence of the foreign forces in the country.
Deena e-mails to note The New Zealand Herald's "Anti-whaling nations head for showdown with Japan:"
New Zealand and other anti-whaling nations may not have the numbers to stop Japan and the pro-whaling bloc moving towards commercial hunting. The International Whaling Commission, which meets in South Korea today to discuss a 19-year-old moratorium on commercial whaling, is set to be a showdown between pro-whaling nations such as Japan, Norway and Iceland, and anti-catch countries led by New Zealand, Australia and Britain, which want rights curbed and some areas of the world's oceans declared off-limits.
New Zealand's Whaling Commissioner Sir Geoffrey Palmer said the numbers did not favour the New Zealand point of view. Of the nine new nations that joined the Commission since last year, the majority were pro-whaling.
It was estimated that just over half of the 62 member nations appearing to support whaling. While the pro-whaling bloc was probably not yet strong enough to overturn the commercial whaling ban, because that takes 75 per cent, it would be difficult to curb so-called "scientific whaling", Sir Geoffrey said.
Deena also asks, "How insane are the people in charge over there [United States]?" and steers us to "We have 'excellent' idea where bin Laden says CIA head" (also from The New Zealand Herald):
CIA Director Porter Goss said he has an "excellent" idea where Osama bin Laden is hiding, but the al Qaeda leader will not be brought to justice until weak links in counterterrorism efforts are strengthened, Time magazine reported today.
In his first interview since becoming head of the CIA last year, Goss also told the magazine the insurgency in Iraq was not quite in its last throes, but close to it. Goss did not say where he believed bin Laden was hiding, but intelligence experts have said the al Qaeda leader who has evaded an extensive US-led manhunt is probably in the border region of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
"I have an excellent idea of where he is. What's the next question?" Goss said in the interview.
Deena, I'm assuming your question is rhetorical. If that's not the case, note with us what Ethan e-mailed from Der Spiegel, Georg Mascolo's "Hemorrhaging Money for Homeland Security:"
Fear can be a lucrative business. That, at least, is what American companies selling security gadgets are finding out as the US government continues to spend billions of dollars on a variety of different Homeland Security programs. The only problem? Most of them are useless.
Clark Kent Ervin, 46, is one of those people on whom the US president likes to depend. The staunch Republican is an old friend from Texas who once worked for George W. Bush in the governor's mansion and who, on Bush Junior's recommendation, managed to get a job in Bush Senior's administration. Ervin is an amiable man who is usually quick to smile.
The exception? When you mention his last employer -- the two-and-a-half-year-old US Department of Homeland Security.The problems at the bureaucratic behemoth -- with its 180,000 employees -- are myriad, says Ervin, a graduate of Harvard.
"I've never experienced anything like it before," he says.A
nd now Ervin, appointed by his friend Bush to the position of highest-ranking internal auditor on the homeland security front, is suddenly without a job. His reports on the chaos, corruption and wastefulness at the department were so thorough and full-throated that he became a liability to the president.
Since Ervin was forced out of the department, the gold rush-like mood in the American security industry, whose excesses were at the center of Ervin's complaints, has continued unabated.
Keesha e-mails to note "Nepal rebels end civilian attacks" (from the BBC):
The Maoists in Nepal have called a halt to attacks on civilians and offered to join political parties opposing the rule of King Gyanendra.
Maoist chairman Prachanda said cadres had been ordered not to carry out "physical attacks on unarmed people".
The move comes two weeks after a Maoist landmine killed 38 civilians on a bus.
King Gyanendra assumed direct control of Nepal on 1 February, dismissing parliament and accusing politicians of failing to tackle the Maoists.
Lastly, ??? e-mails to note (from Australia's Herald Sun) "Priest crucifies 'possessed' nun:"
"God has performed a miracle for her. Finally, Irina is delivered from evil," said Father Daniel, 29, the superior of the Holy Trinity monastery in northeast Romania before performing a liturgy in the presence of 13 nuns, all of whom showed no emotion.
He said the crucifixion of Maricica Irina Cornici, 23, was justified, but admitted he faced excommunication and prosecution and was seeking a "good lawyer".
Father Daniel and four nuns are charged with imprisonment leading to death. Religious authorities have barred him from celebrating liturgy until the probe is complete.
The nun was this week found dead, gagged and chained to a cross after fellow nuns called an ambulance.
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