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News in Brief

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  • Zafar Khan
    Woman. Muslim. American. http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=15501311&BRD=2318&PAG=461&dept_id=484045&rfi=6 The car had been following Sarwat Husain for
    Message 1 of 530 , Nov 5, 2005
      Woman. Muslim. American.


      The car had been following Sarwat Husain for more than
      10 miles, from near downtown where she had attended a
      meeting about the Patriot Act at the Esperanza Peace &
      Justice Center, almost to Loop 1604. No matter how
      Husain detoured or doubled back, the car shadowed her.
      At a stoplight, the car pulled alongside hers. "I just
      kept looking straight ahead, but I could tell they had
      rolled down the window and were screaming at me."

      Britain isolated over role in Afghanistan


      Britain is locked in an intense dispute with its
      European allies in Nato over a plan, fraught with
      political and security problems, to take control of
      peacekeeping in Afghanistan. British military
      involvement in the country is to be stepped up early
      next year when it assumes command of the Kabul-based
      International Security Assistance Force (Isaf), and
      sends troops to a hostile southern province known for
      opium cultivation.

      Muslim graves desecrated in Birmingham cemetery


      Hundreds of police officers were drafted on to the
      streets of Birmingham last night after dozens of
      Muslim grave headstones were damaged at a city
      cemetery, triggering concerns about fresh race riots.
      The desecration was discovered yesterday morning by
      relatives visiting the Muslim part of Handsworth
      Cemetery in Birmingham.

      Father and sons found guilty of honour killing


      A father and his two sons are facing life in prison
      after they were found guilty yesterday of the honour
      killing of a university student who was stabbed 46
      times. Chomer Ali, 44, ordered his two sons, Mohammed
      Mujibar Rahman, 19, and Mamnoor Rahman, 16, to kill
      his daughter's boyfriend, Arash Ghorbani-Zarin, 19,
      last November after he discovered that she was
      pregnant. Manna Begum, 20, had been dating the victim
      against the wishes of her father, who had set up an
      arranged marriage and he was killed "to vindicate the
      family's honour".

      Scores killed as ferry capsizes off Pakistan


      At least 60 people on their way to a memorial died
      today when their overloaded ferry capsized in the
      Arabian Sea off southern Pakistan, a navy spokesman
      said. The accident occurred near the remote coastal
      town of Kharo Chao, about 110 miles southeast of the
      port city of Karachi, said navy Lt. Cmdr. Salman Ali.

      10,000 protest against Bush


      Around 10,000 protesters chanted "Get out Bush!" today
      on the streets of the Argentinean resort which is
      hosting the Summit of the Americas. Celebrities
      including the Argentinean soccer legend Diego Maradona
      are among the demonstrators who have gathered at the
      resort of Mar Del Plata, where the two-day summit
      starts later today.

      There are more Muslims that some numbers tell


      In my neighborhood in far western Pembroke Pines, two
      of my favorite supermarket clerks are Muslim. A Muslim
      family runs the neighborhood dollar store. A neighbor
      pasted an Arabic greeting near his front door, while
      women wearing hijabs walk in the neighborhood. And the
      closest house of worship? A mosque being built in a
      Pembroke Pines pasture. As Ramadan comes to an close
      this week, I think of all the Muslims I now know --
      and how many are probably not being counted in various
      religious studies.

      The aid honeymoon is over, so what next for Aceh's


      The anniversary of the Boxing Day disaster is looming,
      but government inertia has left the village the
      Guardian has been monitoring playing a reconstruction
      waiting game. The community noticeboard in Nusa is
      conspicuously underemployed. There are no updates on
      reconstruction programmes and the only bulletin on
      livelihood is a dog-eared one from June. The only
      recent notice advertises monthly distribution of rice,
      cooking oil, noodles and sardines to those who lost
      their homes in December's tsunami. Nearby, on the wall
      of a barrack - as temporary accommodation has been
      dubbed - are five designs from which the refugees must
      choose their replacement homes.

      Palestinians hit by sonic boom air raids

      · UN condemns night noise attacks as indiscriminate
      · Agencies say they cause trauma and miscarriages


      Israel is deploying a terrifying new tactic against
      Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip by letting
      loose deafening "sound bombs" that cause widespread
      fear, induce miscarriages and traumatise children.

      Palestinians 'terrorised' by sonic boom flights


      Human rights groups launched a High Court battle to
      stop the "physical and mental harm" to Gaza's civilian
      population they say is caused by Israel's new weapon
      against militant attacks: the sonic boom. Miscarriages
      have increased sharply and children have been driven
      to panic by Israeli jets systematically breaking the
      sound barrier over Gaza, according to a petition filed
      with the court yesterday.

      Albania protest halts Greek visit


      The Chams say they were badly treated by Greece
      Greek President Karolos Papoulias has cut short a
      visit to neighbour Albania, after a minority group's
      protest which Athens described as disruptive. Up to
      200 demonstrators from the Albanian Muslim Cham clan
      gathered outside a hotel where Mr Papoulias was due to
      meet counterpart Alfred Moisiu.

      Amnesty International on terror laws: Dangerous.
      Ill-conceived. An assault on human rights


      Tony Blair's plans for tough new anti-terror
      legislation have been subjected to a damning critique
      by Amnesty International, as MPs prepare to debate the
      measures today. In a submission to MPs, Amnesty
      International denounced the proposals to increase
      police powers of detention and make a new offence of
      the glorification of terrorism. It called them
      "ill-conceived and dangerous" , amounting to an attack
      on "the independence of the judiciary and the rule of

      Iranian envoys sacked as hardliners' influence grows


      Five Iranian ambassadors have been sacked as the
      country's hardliners tighten their grip on foreign
      policy following the election of the conservative
      president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Iran's ambassador to
      Britain, Seyed Mohammad Hossein Adeli, is among the
      casualties of the purge. A press spokesman for the
      Iranian embassy said: "The ambassador's term has been
      terminated after one year of serving in London."

      Pakistani rape victim is Glamour's woman of year


      Mukhtaran Bibi, a Pakistani rape victim, is to receive
      a "Woman Of the Year" award today from the US magazine
      Glamour. The 31-year-old Punjabi villager will also
      receive $20,000 (£11,350) at a ceremony in New York's
      Lincoln Centre alongside 11 other nominees including
      Catherine Zeta-Jones. "This is a story that I think is
      going to shock everyone who hears it," said Cindi
      Leive, editor-in-chief of Glamour.

      Turkey told to speed up reforms


      The pace of reform in Turkey over human rights, free
      speech and freedom of religion has slowed to an
      unacceptable level, the European commission will tell
      Ankara next week. A month after European leaders
      hailed the start of Turkey's EU membership talks as
      "historic", Ankara is to be criticised for failing to
      meet its side of the bargain by intensifying reforms.

      Israel dragging heels over Gaza agreements

      · Security cited as crossings closed and goods blocked

      · Palestinians reject call for monitoring of borders


      The Israeli government is de-stabilising Gaza and the
      Palestinian Authority by closing down its links with
      the outside world, according to the Palestinian
      minister in charge of negotiations with them. Ghassan
      Khatib said that Israel was making the current
      situation worse by imposing a closure on Gaza and
      deliberately slowing vital negotiations.

      Inmates killed as troops end prison rebellion


      At least four inmates were killed when Kyrgyz police
      and troops stormed three prisons to quell unrest.
      Police killed two others at a prison colony in
      Moldovanovka and a further two at a jail in Petrovka,
      both outside the capital, Bishkek, said the deputy
      justice minister, Sergei Zubov.

      Israeli clampdown amid rise in 'sonic bombs'


      The Israeli defence ministry has barred foreign
      journalists from entering the Gaza Strip in an
      apparent attempt to limit reporting on the killing of
      Palestinian civilians, the firing of artillery shells
      and the use of "sonic bombs" to terrify the local

      Basra explosion kills 20 among festive crowds


      · Car blast in market area as end of Ramadan nears
      · Second attack close to British army base

      Made in Iran: A film about three Britons who went to
      Afghanistan and ended up in Camp X-Ray


      Two American guards are shackling a shaven-headed
      prisoner in a Camp X-ray orange boiler suit, putting
      him in goggles and ear muffs. He wails as if in real
      pain. But this is not Cuba, it is Iran, seen more
      often in the West as the sort of radical theocracy
      evoked by its President's comment last week that
      Israel should be "wiped off the map". And next to the
      cages where prisoners loll against wire mesh, the
      British director Michael Winterbottom is squinting
      through a camera lens, a small crew hovering near by.

      Anti-Prophet Danish Cartoons on OIC Summit Agenda


      COPENHAGEN, November 5, 2005 (IslamONline.net & News
      Agencies) –Caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
      recently published in Denmark's main daily, which have
      triggered an outcry among Muslims in Denmark and
      abroad, will be high on the agenda of the upcoming
      Islamic summit in Saudi Arabia. "We have been informed
      by our foreign minister that this caricature affair
      will be on the agenda at a special summit of the
      Organization of Islamic Conference," Mohab Nasr
      Mostafa Mahdy, Egypt's deputy ambassador, told Agence
      France-Presse (AFP).
    • Zafar Khan
      Allah s name in Kashmir Sky http://www.islamawareness.net/Miracles/miracle_allah_sky.html ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ West Embraces Sham
      Message 530 of 530 , Feb 3, 2008
        Allah's name in Kashmir Sky


        West Embraces "Sham" Democracies


        CAIRO — Europe and the United States increasingly
        tolerate autocrats posing as democrats in countries
        such as Pakistan, Kenya, Nigeria and Russia out of
        pure self-interest, Human Rights Watch said on
        Thursday, January 31.
        "It's now too easy for autocrats to get away with
        mounting a sham democracy," Kenneth Roth, the HRW
        executive director, said in a press release.

        "By allowing autocrats to pose as democrats, without
        demanding they uphold the civil and political rights
        that make democracy meaningful, the US, the EU and
        other influential democracies risk undermining human
        rights worldwide."

        The watchdog's World Report 2008 said the US and
        Europe do not press governments on the key human
        rights issues that make democracy function such as a
        free press, peaceful assembly and a functioning civil

        It separately reviewed rights situations in more than
        75 countries, identifying many troubling cases such as
        atrocities in Chad, Colombia, the Democratic Republic
        of Congo, Ethiopia's Ogaden region, Iraq, Somalia, Sri
        Lanka, and Sudan's Darfur region.

        The report voiced concern at closed societies or
        severe repression in Burma, China, Cuba, Eritrea,
        Libya, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam.

        It accused the Bush administration of failing to push
        for all governments to respect human rights.

        "The Bush administration has spoken of its commitment
        to democracy abroad but often kept silent about the
        need for all governments to respect human rights."

        In 2003, shortly before the invasion of Iraq, Bush
        advocated democracy in the Middle East in a series of
        bold statements and speeches.

        But the reform tone died down as Washington was
        getting deeper and deeper into the Iraq quagmire,
        needing the help of repressive regimes in the region.

        In 2005, Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
        again played the democracy tune, vowing support for
        "the democratic aspirations of all people."

        Little has changed since then.

        Israeli Embassy in Mauritania Attacked


        NOUAKCHOTT — Gunmen opened fire on the Israeli embassy
        in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott early Friday,
        February 1, wounding five people, amid growing public
        anger at the stifling Israeli blockade of the Gaza

        "At 2:20 this morning, there was shooting at the
        Israeli embassy in Nouakchott," Israeli ambassador
        Boaz Bismuth told Reuters.

        "It only happened a few hours ago, but a shooting on a
        foreign embassy is a very serious incident."

        Bismuth said all the embassy staff, Israeli and
        Mauritanian, are safe.

        Witnesses said six men wearing boubous – long flowing
        African gowns – and turbans got out of a vehicle and
        walked towards a restaurant near the embassy.

        After a few minutes "they said loudly in Arabic 'let's
        go' then shouted 'Allah Akbar' (God is Greatest) and
        opened fire" at the embassy, said one witness, who was
        at the restaurant when the attack took place.

        Footage showed the embassy undamaged, but there were
        three bullet holes in the windscreen of a vehicle
        parked outside.

        The gunmen also sprayed bullets at a nightclub about
        50 meters (yards) from the embassy on the same street.

        Five people, including a French woman, were injured in
        the two attacks.

        Friday's attack also came just weeks after the 2008
        Lisbon-Dakar rally, which was due to have passed
        through Mauritania, was cancelled due to a security
        alarm caused by two December attacks claimed by

        Al-Qaeda's North African branch claimed responsibility
        for the killings last month of a number of Mauritanian
        soldiers and four French tourists.

        Public Anger

        The attack comes as pressure increases within
        Mauritania against the presence of an Israeli embassy

        The president of the national assembly, Messaoud Ould
        Boulkheir, called Sunday for the country to
        "reconsider" its "shameful" relations with Tel Aviv
        following its blockade of the Gaza Strip.

        It was up to parliamentary "deputies and the
        Mauritanian people to urge the government to
        reconsider the shameful ties with an entity that kills
        our brothers, occupies their land and keeps them under
        the blockade," Ould Boulkheir told the National
        Assembly earlier this week.

        "Gaza is aching at the massacres of its sons and at
        the blockade," he told the opening of a special
        parliamentary session, referring to Israel's total
        lockdown since January 17 of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

        Ould Boulkheir, who is constitutionally the most
        powerful man in the west African country after the
        head of state and Senate president, became the first
        senior politician publicly and officially to question
        relations established with Israel in 1999, under the
        regime of Maaouiya Ould Taya.

        The speaker is the leader of the Progressive Popular
        Alliance, now in power, which has always called for
        Mauritania to break off those ties sealed with the
        Hebrew state, in solidarity with the Palestinians.

        Domestically, the government of President Sidi Ould
        Cheikh Abdallahi has pursued a policy of freeing up
        the press and working for reconcilation among the
        traditional rulers and the black African population.

        Last week, leaders of parties in an increasingly
        active opposition and some allied with the government
        sent a letter to Abdallahi calling on him to sever
        relations with Israel.

        US Army Suicides Spike


        WASHINGTON — The number of US army soldiers committing
        suicides after deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan
        continued to spike in 2007, hitting levels not seen in
        more than a quarter century, army data has shown.

        "We are perturbed by the rise despite all of our
        efforts," Colonel Elsbeth Ritchie, psychiatric
        consultant to the army's surgeon general, told Agence
        France-Presse (AFP).

        Ritchie was part of a team that reviewed suicide
        prevention efforts in Iraq in October after Lieutenant
        General Raymond Odierno raised concerned about
        suicides among deployed soldiers.

        Data released by the army Thursday, January 31, show
        the numbers of suicides and attempted suicides spiked
        in 2007 with 89 confirmed suicides and another 32
        deaths awaiting confirmation as suicides.

        In 2006, 102 active duty soldiers committed suicide,
        almost double the number in 2001.

        According to the figures, more than 2,000 soldiers
        tried to take their own lives or injure themselves in
        2006, compared to about 375 in 2002.

        Most suicides are young males between the ages of 18
        and 24, but the army experts are also starting to see
        higher numbers of suicides among older soldiers and

        Ritchie said 11 female soldiers killed themselves in
        2006. "That's the highest number of females we've ever
        seen," she said.

        Conflict spells disaster for whole of East Africa


        Kenya's political meltdown is threatening its economic
        lifeline to Somalia and other neighbouring countries
        and disrupting the supply of desperately needed relief

        The economies of landlocked states such as Uganda,
        Rwanda and Burundi, which rely on Kenya's trade links
        via its Indian Ocean port of Mombasa, are already
        being hit by the effects of the unrest.

        Goods are piling up in Mombasa amid fears of blockages
        along the main road to Nairobi. Other arteries
        including the roads from the capital to the western
        city of Kisumu and the highway between Nakuru and
        Eldoret have also been blocked. Guillermo Bettocci,
        the Somalia representative of the UN High Commissioner
        for Refugees, expressed concern about the cancellation
        of flights at Nairobi airport, which is used to fly
        out supplies to Somalia.

        He described the situation in Somalia, where fierce
        fighting has resumed between Islamic fighters and
        Ethiopian forces sent to prop up a transitional
        government, as "the world's worst humanitarian
        disaster" which he said had now overtaken Darfur in
        terms of a humanitarian emergency. A total of one
        million people have been displaced inside Somalia by
        the conflict, including 250,000 in Mogadishu alone.

        One of Bin Laden's top six aides is killed in
        suspected US strike

        · Abu al-Libi dies in attack on Pakistan compound
        · Leader of Afghan militants targeted Cheney last year


        senior al-Qaida figure in Afghanistan, described by
        Western officials as one of Osama bin Laden's top six
        lieutenants, has been killed, it was reported
        Abu Laith al-Libi was "martyred along with a group of
        his brothers on the territory of Islamic Pakistan"
        according to a statement on Ikhlaas.org, a website
        that often posts communiques from Islamists in
        Afghanistan and Iraq.

        Libi's death may be linked to what is suspected to be
        a US missile strike in Pakistan's North Waziristan
        region earlier this week, in which 12 people - several
        Arabs and central Asians, as well as local Taliban
        members - are believed to have died. Locals told
        reporters that they heard US Predator drones flying in
        the area shortly before the explosion at a compound,
        and a Pakistani daily newspaper, The News, reported
        that the attack was targeted at Libi and another
        senior figure, Obaidah al Masri.

        Pakistani officials said they had "no information"
        indicating that Libi was dead, but the Associated
        Press quoted a "knowledgeable western official"
        confirming the death: "It appears that Al-Libi has met
        his demise."

        Letters: British Muslims
        Muslims should not be surprised at backlash against


        Robert Fisk: The curious case of the forged biography

        When Robert Fisk heard that his life of Saddam Hussein
        was selling well, one thing bothered him: he had never
        written one. His investigation took him to the
        murkiest corners of Cairo


        It arrived for me in Beirut under plain cover, a brown
        envelope containing a small, glossy paperback in
        Arabic, accompanied by a note from an Egyptian friend.
        "Robert!" it began. "Did you really write this?"

        The front cover bore a photograph of Saddam Hussein in
        the dock in Baghdad, the left side of his head in
        colour, the right side bleached out, wearing a black
        sports jacket but with no tie, holding a Koran in his
        right hand. "Saddam Hussein," the cover said in huge
        letters. "From Birth to Martyrdom." And then there was
        the author's name – in beautiful, calligraphic
        typeface and in gold in the top, right-hand corner.
        "By Robert Fisk."

        So there it was, 272 paperback pages on the life and
        times of the Hitler of Baghdad and selling very well
        in the Egyptian capital. "We all suspect a well-known
        man here," she added. "His name is Magdi Chukri."

        Needless to say, I noticed one or two problems with
        this book. It took a very lenient view of the
        brutality of Saddam, it didn't seem to care much about
        the gassed civilians of Halabja – and it was full of
        the kind of purple passages which I loathe. "After the
        American rejection of the Iraqi weapons report to the
        UN," 'Robert Fisk' wrote, "the beating of war drums
        turned into a cacophony..."

        Danish library plans to house cartoons of prophet

        · Controversial works will be secure, says spokeswoman
        · Muslim society vows to ignore 'provocation'

        Robert Tait
        Wednesday January 30, 2008
        The Guardian


        Denmark's national library is to risk re-opening an
        international political storm by housing the cartoon
        images of the prophet Muhammad that provoked violent
        convulsions throughout the Islamic world two years
        The royal library in Copenhagen - founded in the 17th
        century by King Frederik III and home to many historic
        treasures - has declared the drawings to be of
        historic value and is trying to acquire them for
        "preservation purposes".

        The library, widely acknowledged as the most
        significant in Scandinavia, has agreed to take
        possession of the caricatures on behalf of the museum
        of Danish cartoon art, a spokesman told the Art

        UK lacks counter-terror policy, says Musharraf

        · Pakistani president hits back at British critics
        · Your Islamist militants are home-grown, Brown told


        Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, claimed
        yesterday that Britain lacked a long-term
        counter-terrorist strategy and argued that Islamist
        extremism was a home-grown problem for Britain rather
        than his country's responsibility.
        Speaking before meeting Gordon Brown in Downing
        Street, and in response to persistent British
        criticism of his record on counter-terrorism,
        Musharraf set out the shortcomings he sees in the UK's
        efforts to deal with militant young Muslims, pointing
        out that all the July 7 2005 bombers were born in the

        "We have adopted a five-point strategy. You need to
        adopt a similar strategy to curb this kind of tendency
        in youngsters, who tend to become terrorists, because
        merely getting hold of them and punishing them legally
        does not solve the problem or get to the root of the
        problem," he said.
        He listed the five elements of Pakistan's
        counter-terrorist strategy: curbing the propagation of
        extremism in mosques; restricting the publication of
        extremist literature; banning extremist organisations;
        stopping the teaching of militant Islam in schools;
        and bringing madrasas (religious schools) into the

        Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: Why is racial abuse now
        considered acceptable?


        On the day my beloved son was born at the John
        Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, Margaret Thatcher gave a
        speech on how her kith and kin felt rather "swamped"
        by alien cultures and peoples. My child was branded –
        rejected, I felt – as he took his first breath. I
        never forgave the Iron Lady for inciting animosity
        against us.

        This Wednesday the boy, now a barrister, turns 30. His
        Britain is dynamic, diverse and – in spite of old and
        new fissures – remarkably at ease with itself, as is
        he. Though discrimination blocks talent and top jobs
        still go to white, clubbable chaps, opportunities have
        been prised open and a meritocracy operates in many
        professions. There is nowhere else I would choose to

        And yet, and yet, I see a return to some of the
        attitudes personified by Thatcher and Enoch Powell,
        cultural protectionists who wanted England to be their
        England and only theirs once again. There are also
        ominous signs that racial intolerance is breaking out,
        even among the usually civil middle classes. It is
        hugely upsetting that we blacks and Asians
        increasingly experience spit-in-your-face racism, even
        in London, the city made by strangers.

        Last Monday, I was speaking at an Evening
        Standard/YouGovStone public debate on what we wanted
        from the London Mayor. We were at Cadogan Hall in
        smart Sloane Square. The audience– many well-heeled –
        was lively and keen, a good sign of political
        engagement. Such debates can get fiery and that makes
        them real and exciting. Other panellists were Michael
        Eboda, the ex-editor of The Voice newspaper, the
        prolific and weighty columnist Simon Jenkins, and
        Boris Johnson. All went spiffingly well until I said
        we needed time-limited, affirmative action in
        recruitment and promotion for key institutions such as
        the police forces.

        In Northern Ireland, affirmative action has
        transformed the police force so it reflects the
        Catholic/Protestant population. Mr Eboda then directly
        interrogated Mr Johnson on some of his insulting
        assertions about black people. The Tory MP first
        huffed and puffed and then blew out a timid apology.
        Neither Mr Eboda nor I were rude or aggressive, yet we
        seemed to stir some pretty revolting feelings in a
        number of ladies and gents attending. There was much
        unruly shouting. I was called a "cunt" and told to go
        back to Uganda. Mr Eboda was also racially abused, as
        was anybody else, black and white, who stood up to the
        posh hooligans. Members of the Black Police Federation
        later told me they were actually afraid of the mob
        malevolence. Five years ago, few readers resorted to
        ugly, racist abuse. Now hundreds mug me via email.

        Talk to Al-Qaeda: French Expert


        PARIS — A French expert in terrorism and Islamic
        militancy is calling for a dialogue with Osama bin
        Laden's Al-Qaeda organization to refute its
        "unrealistic" ideologies as the security option has
        proved a "fiasco."
        "In talking to Al-Qaeda and its leaders, I'm sure we
        are able to counter their ideology with facts on the
        ground," Anne Giudicelli told IslamOnline.net in an

        "This will be the first step to face Al-Qaeda."

        Giudicelli, a former anti-terror adviser to the French
        Foreign Ministry, said a quite dialogue with Al-Qaeda
        leaders could help convince them that their ideas,
        like enforcing Shari`ah in European societies, simply
        do not work.

        "An in-depth dialogue will enable us convince Al-Qaeda
        leaders that their ideology is inapplicable and

        Giudicelli regretted European rejection of bin Laden's
        truce offer in 2004 in the aftermath of the deadly
        Madrid bombings claimed by his network.

        Artificial Life Under Fire


        WASHINGTON — An announcement by controversial US
        scientist Craig Venter of taking a major step toward
        creating the first ever artificial life form by
        synthetically reproducing the DNA of a bacteria has
        aroused heated scientific debate over the ethics of
        the lab trial and its success rates.
        "Venter is not God," Helen Wallace, a biologist and
        spokeswoman for GeneWatch UK, told Agence
        France-Presse (AFP).

        Hamilton Smith, from the J.Craig Venter Institute, in
        the study published Thursday in Science magazine, that
        through a five-year research effort showed that
        building large genomes is now feasible so that
        important applications such as biofuels can be

        The move is seen as the penultimate stage in the
        endeavor to create an artificial life in the form of a
        bacteria based entirely on a man-made DNA genome.

        The research has been carried out at the laboratories
        of Venter, who has hailed artificial life forms as a
        potential remedy to illness and global warming.

        The chromosome which Venter and his team has created
        is known as Mycoplasma laboratorium and, in the final
        step of the process, will be transplanted into a
        living cell where it should "take control,"
        effectively becoming a new life form.

        The bacteria, which causes certain sexually
        transmitted diseases, has one of the least complex DNA
        structures of any life form, composed of just 580
        genes. In contrast, the human genome has some 30,000.

        Beirut Blast Kills Senior Officer


        BEIRUT —A senior intelligence officer was killed with
        three other people in a car bombing in the Lebanese
        capital, Beirut, on Friday, January 25, in the second
        bombing targeting an official at the security and
        military establishments in as many as days.
        "Captain Wissam Eid, a member of the Internal Security
        Forces, and his bodyguard were killed in the blast," a
        security official told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

        Desert state channels oil wealth into world's first
        sustainable city
        Lord Foster designs car-free, solar-powered project
        for 50,000 people


        In an expanse of grey rock and dust in one of the
        harshest environments on earth, the United Arab
        Emirates is about to build what is being described as
        the world's first sustainable city, designed by
        British architect Lord Foster.

        The site is far from promising. Miles from a polluted
        sea, a fierce sun raises temperatures to 50C (120F) in
        the summer, and there is no fresh water, no soil and
        no animals. But tens of billions of petro-dollars will
        be poured into these seven square kilometres of desert
        on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi.

        Called Masdar - "the source" in Arabic - the walled
        city is intended to house 50,000 people and 1,500
        businesses. It will have no cars and be
        self-sufficient in renewable energy, the majority of
        which will be solar energy.

        The formal unveiling of the desert eco-city will be
        made today at a summit on future energy sources in Abu
        Dhabi, attended by the UK business secretary, John
        Hutton, and Prince Andrew.

        "It's extremely ambitious," said Gerard Evenden,
        senior partner in Lord Foster's architecture practice
        in London, which has had a team working on the design
        for nine months. "We were invited to design a
        zero-carbon city. In this harsh place we needed to
        look back at history and see how ancient settlements
        had adapted to their environments." The buildings will
        huddle together as in a casbah, and will be cooled by
        wind towers which will collect the desert's breezes
        and flush out hot air. No building will be more than
        five storeys high; the city is to be oriented
        north-east to south-west to give the optimum balance
        of sunlight and shade.

        'To impose democracy from outside is inherently

        Ethiopia's prime minister, Meles Zenawi, tells Simon
        Tisdall in a rare interview that western policy in the
        region is ill-informed and at times arrogant


        Western countries should stop trying to browbeat
        Kenya's warring political leaders into submission and
        do more in practical terms to prevent poverty, lack of
        opportunity, and Islamist terrorism from further
        destabilising the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia's prime
        minister, Meles Zenawi, has told the Guardian.
        "The threat of western sanctions as a response to the
        current crisis in Kenya is very, very misguided,"
        Meles said. "If it is presumed that the Kenyans will
        democratise in order to eat the peanuts of development
        assistance from the European Union, for example, it
        would be a big mistake."

        Placing pressure on resources to influence the
        post-election process, which has degenerated into
        violence amid claims of government-engineered fraud,
        would not work and could be counter-productive, he

        "What it does do is give the impression that Africans
        democratise in response to development assistance and
        all you have to do is close the taps and they will sit
        up and behave like proper schoolchildren. That is very
        unfortunate and quite demeaning."
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