Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

News in Brief

Expand Messages
  • Zafar Khan
    Iraqi weapons expert unmasked as a fraud By Sadie Gray Published: 03 November 2007 http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/article3124366.ece The Iraqi
    Message 1 of 530 , Nov 3, 2007
    • 0 Attachment
      Iraqi weapons 'expert' unmasked as a fraud
      By Sadie Gray
      Published: 03 November 2007


      The Iraqi defector whose claims regarding Saddam
      Hussein's biological warfare capabilities were central
      to the US government's case for the 2003 invasion,
      despite repeated warnings that they were dubious, has
      been unmasked by a television documentary.

      The informer, codenamed Curveball was Rafid Ahmed
      Alwan who, in 1999, turned up at a refugee centre in
      Germany seeking political asylum. He went on to
      convince the Pentagon he was a brilliant chemist who
      had helped develop mobile biological warfare

      His role in the build-up to war was exposed in a
      detailed investigation by the Los Angeles Times, in
      which he was dismissed as an "out-and-out" fabricator
      who should have aroused scepticism in the CIA. The LA
      Times said Curveball was the brother of a senior aide
      to Ahmed Chalabi, then leader of the Iraqi National
      Congress, and reported that neither the Pentagon nor
      the CIA knew exactly who he was.

      But he is named for the first time in an edition of
      the US network CBS's documentary 60 Minutes to be
      broadcast tomorrow. The report is already on the
      programme's web pages. The documentary assumes he is
      still living in Germany, under a false name.

      Mr Alwan claimed to have been a highly-regarded
      chemical engineer working on the production of mobile
      biological weapons at a plant in Djerf al-Nadaf.

      Curveball's claims were discredited in 2002 by senior
      officials in the German intelligence service, the BND,
      who wrote to the CIA warning his account was vague,
      second-hand and impossible to check. They also thought
      he was psychologically unstable.

      Gaddafi turns screenwriter for $40m epic about Italian
      By Peter Popham in Rome
      Published: 03 November 2007


      The mercurial dictator of Libya has reinvented himself
      yet again. He has been a pariah of the West; a sponsor
      of terrorism; the maverick autocrat with his corps of
      female bodyguards; the man who comes to Brussels for a
      summit, erects his tent and puts his camels out to
      graze in the local park.

      Thirty years ago with his little Green Book and his
      "Third Universal Theory", he proposed himself as the
      Mao Zedong of the Middle East, fashioning what he
      claimed to be a new ideology from the patriarchal
      customs of his clan.

      But today Libya is in a different place. The worst of
      its diplomatic headaches are behind it – Lockerbie
      dealt with, the nuclear plants dismantled, the
      Bulgarian nurses ransomed – and the world is keen to
      do business. And now the ruler is trying on a new hat.
      Meet Muammar al-Gaddafi: screenwriter.

      A series of impressionistic sketches he has written
      evoking his country as it was on the eve of invasion
      by Italy in September 1911 – placid, rustic,
      traditional – and then as it roused itself to fight to
      expel the foreigners, is to become the basis for a
      film costing at least $40m (£19.1m) which begins
      shooting in Libya next year.

      Aimed principally at a non-Arab audience, and entitled
      Dhulm – Years of Torment, it will tell the story of
      Libya's traumatic experience at the hands of Europe's
      Johnny-come-lately imperialists.

      To the other European powers, it was hard to take
      Italy seriously as a colonial force. Its first
      adventure, against the supposedly easy target of
      Ethiopia, ended in the worst defeat ever suffered by a
      European army in Africa. Libya, just across the pond
      from Sicily, was thinly defended by a small Turkish
      garrison, at a time when the Ottoman Empire was on its
      knees. It was expected to be a pushover.

      Instead, after quick early success, Italy found itself
      embroiled in an insurgency that dragged on for the
      next 20 years. The Libyans became the first people in
      the world to know the terror of air bombing, among the
      first to be gassed from the skies, and were early
      guinea pigs for the concentration-camp concept. Unable
      to break their spirit, Italy resorted to driving them
      across the border into Egypt and Chad. Ramzi Rassi,
      the Lebanese producer of the new film, says that by
      the time the Italians fled home in 1943, one-third of
      the Libyan population had been killed and one-third
      forced into exile.

      In his treatment for the film, Gaddafi describes the
      beauty of his land before the coming of the new
      Romans. "Tripoli ... a string of white buildings
      painted with the local lime ... Behind it stretches
      the deep blue sea, its light waves shimmering, and
      much clearer in the distance the wide open horizon..."

      Seen from the other side of the Mediterranean it all
      looked so different. For Italy, unified for a bare
      half century, the invasion of the Ottoman province of
      Tripolitana e Cirenaica was a chance to prove its
      worth as a martial country. "The great proletarian
      nation has stirred!" declared Giovanni Pascoli, the
      Italian poet, as the invasion got under way.

      Dhulm ("injustice" in Arabic), will tell the story of
      the invasion and the long Libyan resistance through
      the eyes of those who experienced it, based on real
      people. One of the main characters is an extraordinary
      journalist called Francis McCullagh from Dungannon in
      Co Tyrone, who really deserves a biopic all to
      himself. In October 1911, his zest for action unsated,
      he crossed the Mediterranean with the invading
      Italians. "He came over with the invasion force," says
      Mr Rassi, "and later wrote a book about the invasion
      almost in the form of a script. He is one of the
      characters in the film, as an eye-witness of what

      Ethnic divisions threaten Bosnia again as Prime
      Minister quits over 'interference'
      By Vesna Peric Zimonjic in Belgrade
      Published: 02 November 2007


      The Prime Minister of Bosnia-Herzegovina resigned
      yesterday, claiming that interference from the
      international community had made his job impossible.
      The exit of Nikola Spiric, a Bosnian Serb, plunged the
      ethnically divided state into its worst crisis since
      the war ended in 1995. "For 12 years, foreigners have
      run this country and this is not good," Mr Spiric
      said. "I resign and this is the only right decision."

      Mr Spiric's departure comes after Miroslav Lajcak, the
      High Representative to Bosnia appointed by the United
      Nations and the European Union, introduced measures
      aimed at improving the efficiency of Bosnia's
      government. Mr Lajcak, a Slovak diplomat, reduced the
      number of ministers needed to be present to pass laws,
      preventing any one ethnic group from creating a
      deadlock by walking out. He called Mr Spiric's
      resignation "too emotional" and "completely

      The arrival of Mr Lajcak was intended to help Bosnia
      achieve its long-term goal of joining the EU by
      speeding up the decision-making process in the
      country's often fractious central government. Instead
      of consensus, Mr Lajcak introduced the simple majority
      principle, which was fiercely opposed by Bosnian
      Serbs. They fear they will lose influence to the
      country's other ethnic groups and their
      semi-autonomous mini-state within Bosnia-Herzegovina.

      The crippling legislative system was established in
      1995 by the Dayton Peace accord, which ended three
      years of war between the Bosnian Muslims, Croats and
      Serbs in Bosnia. The agreement divided the country
      into two mini-states – a Bosnian-Croat Federation and
      a Serb Republic – each with their own police,
      judiciary, parliaments and governments. In an attempt
      to unite the two factions into one state, centralised
      institutions and a rotating, three-person presidency
      were grafted on top. However, deep ethnic rivalries
      have impeded the work of central government ever since
      and no international effort has been able to glue the
      country together.

      Indian Islamic group attacks BBC film for Bin Laden


      A BBC documentary shown last night came under attack
      from one of India's largest Islamic groups for linking
      their movement to Osama bin Laden and "extremist"
      Muslim groups around the world.
      The Deoband school, whose main madrassa Darul Uloom
      (House of Knowledge) lies 90 miles north-east of
      Delhi, said it had allowed a television crew making a
      three-part documentary called Clash of Worlds into its
      grounds to explain its "message of peace and historic
      role in Indian affairs".

      The seminary is a global centre of Muslim learning
      with 15,000 schools worldwide adopting its sparse and
      dogmatic version of Islam. One report last month said
      almost 600 of Britain's nearly 1,400 mosques are run
      by Deobandi-affiliated clerics.
      However, Muslim scholars in Delhi became alarmed to
      hear the programme's presenters talk of their part in
      the anti-British uprising in the nineteenth century
      being similar to "the role played by Osama bin Laden
      today". Mohammad Anwer, a spokesman for the Deoband
      school, said he had protested to the film's producers
      about the link with Bin Laden and "many other
      mistakes". "We protested at the time but it made no
      difference. We do not advocate violence nor are we
      asking others to do violence," said Mr Anwer.

      Suicide or murder? Iran blames US after 152 dolphins


      When 152 dolphins were washed up on Iran's southern
      coast mass suicide was blamed. Then suspicion was
      shifted to fishermen, who were said to have beaten the
      dolphins with grappling irons after they became
      entangled in fishing nets.
      But now a more familiar target has been accused: the
      US military and its hi-tech hardware and spying
      equipment. Rejecting suggestions that his employees
      may have committed a mass cull, the head of Iran's
      state-run fisheries organisation, Sha'aban-Ali Nezami,
      has alleged that the dolphins were victims of
      experimental US surveillance techniques. He has also
      said they could have been killed by electro-magnetic
      waves from military vessels in the Gulf and Oman Sea,
      where the US and British navies conduct regular

      Some 73 dolphins were found washed up on the beach
      near the southern port of Jask last week. A month
      earlier 79 striped dolphins were discovered in the
      same area, which is rich in tuna and a site of
      industrial-scale fishing.

      Distressing pictures of rows of dead dolphins have
      appeared in the Iranian media, alongside reports that
      they had "committed suicide".

      Only Christian TV station in Holy Land closes


      The only Christian television station in the Holy Land
      has closed after 11 years because of a lack of
      Nativity television, or al-Mahed as it was known in
      Arabic, broadcast a mix of church services, films and
      discussion programmes 24 hours a day from a small
      studio in Bethlehem, not far from the Church of the

      Samir Qumsieh, the Greek Orthodox owner and director
      of the channel, said it had lost around $800,000, half
      of which were his own personal debts. "I have hundreds
      of letters thanking me and gratitude shields thanking
      us from all the churches but nobody translated this
      into financial support," he said. The station closed

      "I reached the point where I couldn't continue any
      more," he said.

      The channel broadcast mostly in Arabic, and Mr Qumsieh
      said he sometimes had Muslims and Jews phoning in to
      talk on discussion programmes.
    • 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
      • 0 Attachment
        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."
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.