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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Apr 8th, 2012 at 10:44:08 AM EST
U.S. Withdrawal a Blessing and a Curse for Afghans - IPS ipsnews.net
KABUL, Apr 7, 2012 (IPS) - Though the United States' announcement to pull its troops from Afghanistan by 2014 was celebrated by most Afghans as the imminent end of a protracted and controversial foreign occupation, there are lingering questions about the outcome of such a withdrawal.

Specifically, experts and lay people alike are asking whether it will make the country safer for democracy or more vulnerable than ever to violence and extremism. Others are sceptical that the country will ever be free of U.S. presence in a geographically strategic country, close to Iran, Pakistan and Central Asia.

More than ten years since the arrival of foreign troops to `fight terrorism', Afghan people are openly questioning the U.S' 'real goal' when it entered the country.

"The goal of the (U.S) was not to fight terrorism, even though they killed (former Al-Qaeda chief) Osama bin Laden. Al-Qaeda is still here and spreading throughout the region (into Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, etc), which is useful for the U.S. because they will be asked for help and can use it as an excuse to remain in the region," Naseer Fayaz, a renowned journalist, told IPS.

Though U.S. President Barack Obama announced the withdrawal of a portion of the stationed troops by the end of 2014, few are hopeful that this will lead to any lasting change on the ground.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Apr 8th, 2012 at 11:10:02 AM EST
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Afghanistan and US sign 'night raid' deal - Central & South Asia - Al Jazeera English

The Afghan government has reached a crucial deal with the US to take control of controversial night raids from American forces.

During a meeting of his national security council on Sunday, President Hamid Karzai approved a memorandum of understanding on "Afghanisation of special operations on Afghan soil," the president's office said in a statement.

The document was signed on Sunday by General Abdul Rahim Wardak, Afghan defence minister, and the US commander of NATO forces, General John Allen.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Apr 8th, 2012 at 11:16:02 AM EST
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New Leaders in Yemen, Same Old System - IPS ipsnews.net
WASHINGTON, Apr 6, 2012 (IPS) - A new report released by Human Rights Watch (HRW) Friday contends that the dearth of meaningful reform in the protection of human rights and the rule of law in Yemen threatens political stability as the fledgling transitional government copes with a deteriorating economy and continued violence.

"While Yemen's new government has taken several promising steps, the repressive security apparatus of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh remains largely intact," said Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW's Middle East and North Africa director, after observers met for two weeks in Sanaa.

"Civilian leaders reiterated that they cannot move forward on accountability and reform of the security services so long as Saleh continues to play a hand in directing various security forces there," Whitson added.

Since last December, when Saleh and his political supporters were granted legal immunity in exchange for a new government under President Abu Rabu Mansur Hadi, the progress made thus far is insufficient, according to the report.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Apr 8th, 2012 at 11:11:50 AM EST
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Southern Kordofan: Unfinished Business - Crossroads Sudan - Al Jazeera English

Southern Kordofan is region that used to be the geographical centre of Sudan, but when the south won independence, it found itself on the southern border.

At its heart is the Nuba Mountains where some 50 black African tribes have lived for thousands of years.

There was heavy fighting in the region during the north-south civil war, but the comprehensive peace agreement that ended the conflict never resolved its status.

In a special show, Al Jazeera investigates a hidden war in the remote state of Southern Kordofan in Sudan where rebels are fighting to defend their people against what they say is "genocide".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Apr 8th, 2012 at 11:14:30 AM EST
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Syria wants 'guarantees' for troop pullout - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Syria's government appears to be pulling back from a United Nations peace plan, saying it wants "written guarantees" that opposition fighters will lay down arms before it implements a troop pullback agreed by President Bashar al-Assad, a demand refused by the main rebel group.

Hours after the government's demand on Sunday, Colonel Riad al-Asaad, the leader of the rebel Free Syria Army told the Associated Press news agency that his group did not recognise Assad's government and for that reason they would not give guarantees. 

Colonel Riad al-Asaad said that if the regime abided by UN-Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan's six-point plan to end the violence, his group would cease fire. He said that the government should withdraw its forces to bases and remove checkpoints from the streets.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Apr 8th, 2012 at 11:15:06 AM EST
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BBC News - Colombia Farc rebel leader says group is not weakened

One of the leaders of Colombia's biggest rebel movement, the Farc, says it remains ready for battle.

The leader, known as Ivan Marquez, denied claims by the Colombian military that the guerrillas had been weakened.

In a video message, he defended the Farc's actions and rejected accusations that they were acts of terrorism.

Just hours after the message was uploaded, Farc rebels killed at least six soldiers at a military checkpoint in north-western Choco province.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Apr 8th, 2012 at 11:17:49 AM EST
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BBC News - Oklahoma murders: Police hold two in Tulsa

Police in Oklahoma have arrested two white men after three people, all black, were shot dead on Friday.

Two other black victims are in a critical condition in hospital following the shootings in Tulsa.

The suspects have been named by police as Jake England, 19, and Alvin Watts, 32.

They are expected to face three counts of first-degree murder and two of shooting with intent to kill.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Apr 8th, 2012 at 11:20:58 AM EST
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Dont they have the "Stand your ground" law in Okie then ?

I mean, if you wanted to go around shooting people, you'd go to a place where it was legal

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 9th, 2012 at 03:08:36 AM EST
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The Persian knot - Joschka Fischer| New Europe

BERLIN - The negotiations between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, plus Germany, over Iran's nuclear program are entering a new, and probably decisive, stage. The negotiations have been going on for almost a decade, with long interruptions, and whether a breakthrough will come this time is anyone's guess. But the situation has never been as serious as it is today, and peace hangs in the balance.

After the recent visits by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to Washington, DC, and by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Tehran, a foggy situation is nonetheless becoming clearer. It appears that US President Barack Obama has won time by drawing a line in the sand - the start of an explicit Iranian nuclear-weapons program - and by assuring Israel of America's readiness for military action should negotiations fail.

Moreover, in view of the danger of a military confrontation, the United States, together with Europe and other partners, has implemented tough new "smart" sanctions aimed at Iran's oil exports - its main source of income - while largely isolating the Islamic Republic from the international payment system. Iran urgently needs the oil revenue, and, without participation in the payments system, its international trade is grinding to a halt. Barter transactions and suitcases full of cash are not a viable alternative. So Iran's economy is being shaken to the core.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Apr 8th, 2012 at 11:50:38 AM EST
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Special report: the documents that prove Britain initiated rendition | World news | The Guardian

Bouchar, then aged 30, had become a victim of the process known as extraordinary rendition. She and her husband, Abdel Hakim Belhaj, a Libyan Islamist militant fighting Muammar Gaddafi, had been abducted in Bangkok and were being flown to one of Gaddafi's prisons in Libya, a country where she had never before set foot. However, Bouchar's case is different from the countless other renditions that the world has learned about over the past few years, and not just because she was one of the few female victims.

Documents discovered in Tripoli show that the operation was initiated by British intelligence officers, rather than the masked Americans or their superiors in the US. There is also some evidence that the operation may have been linked to a second British-initiated operation, which saw two men detained in Iraq and rendered to Afghanistan. Furthermore, the timing of the operation, and the questions that Bouchar's husband and a second rendition victim say were subsequently put to them under torture, raise disturbing new questions about the secret court system that considers immigration appeals in terrorist cases in the UK - a system that the government has pledged to extend to civil trials in which the government itself is the defendant.

This year, the Crown Prosecution Service announced police had launched an investigation into the "alleged rendition and alleged ill-treatment" of Bouchar and Belhaj, and a second operation in which a Libyan family of six were flown to one of Gaddafi's prisons.

It appears inevitable that Scotland Yard's detectives will want to question the man who was foreign secretary at the time - Jack Straw.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Apr 8th, 2012 at 12:12:25 PM EST
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Nobody will be the least bit surprised. Jack Straw is the most arrogant of men and will, as he did with the rendition aircraft landing at glasgow, simply deny he knew anything even when documantary evidence is waved under his nose.

It's the governmental "so what are you gonna do about it?" excuse. He knows he won't be charged cos no government will press charges on a predecessor for illegal policies in case it is subsequently done to them.

Nothing will happen.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 9th, 2012 at 03:12:49 AM EST
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Mugabe battling for life in Singapore, cabinet meetings suspended - Zimbabwe News Daily at your fingertips -

The coalition government is rocked by the news that another cabinet meeting scheduled for tomorrow has been suspended again amid reports that President Mugabe is battling for his life in Singapore, sources in government revealed last night.

A senior Zanu-PF official whose identity cannot be revealed said the President is undergoing intensive treatment in Singapore and he also comfirmed that some members of his family have since joined him after boarding a chartered private jet on Saturday evening.

Mugabe reportedly went to Singapore to oversee university postgraduate studies arrangements for his daughter Bona, but this has not helped quell speculation that the president had health issues to contend with.

Questions have been raised as to whether it was necessary for Mugabe to personally oversee Bona's registration or aides could have done that on his behalf.

Singapore University registration starts in September.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Apr 9th, 2012 at 07:46:33 AM EST
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