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by Fran on Tue May 5th, 2009 at 01:41:38 PM EST
World Agenda: India and China wrestle for Nepal - Times Online

On the surface, the political turmoil engulfing Nepal this week stems from a struggle for control of the army dating back to the peace deal that ended a decade-long civil war in 2006.

Pushpa Kamal Dahal, alias Prachanda, the former Maoist rebel leader, resigned as Prime Minister on Monday after the President, from a rival party, overturned his decision to sack the army chief for refusing to admit Maoist troops to the army.

But the dispute masks a much grander -- and potentially destructive -- tussle between Nepal's two giant neighbours, India and China, as they vie for influence in South and Southeast Asia.

India signed a friendship treaty with Nepal in 1950, and has poured aid and investment into the country partly as a buttress against China, with whom India fought and lost a border war in 1962.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Tue May 5th, 2009 at 02:02:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Egypt: Israeli nukes 'greatest threat' to security

Western policies based on pressuring Iran to give up its nuclear program will fail because they disregard Israeli nuclear capabilities, which is "the first and greatest threat to security in the region," an Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Monday.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor categorically rejected that classification.

"If he can quote at least one occasion in which Israel has threatened any of its neighbors with the alleged nuclear weapon, then his statements would gain him credibility," Palmor said. "Unless he produces evidence to support his claims, these kinds of remarks are completely out of line."

Spokesman Hossam Zaki, in a declaration to editors accredited with the ministry, said Egypt's position on disarmament and nonproliferation aimed to safeguard Egyptian security and to address the threats that undermine security and stability in the Middle East, according to Egypt's official Middle East News Agency.

by Fran on Tue May 5th, 2009 at 02:04:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting news from the Caribbean:

CHARLESTOWN, Nevis -- World Bank representatives were in Nevis on April 30th. to assess West Indies Power's proposed submarine electrical transmission of geothermal power from Nevis to other islands in the Caribbean.


"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Tue May 5th, 2009 at 02:50:53 PM EST
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BBC NEWS | Americas | DC approves same-sex marriage law

Washington DC city council has voted to recognise same-sex marriages conducted in other US states.

Because Washington DC is not a state, the decision will now have to be approved by Congress before it can become law.

Four US states - Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Iowa - now permit gay marriage, and legislation to allow it is in progress in other states.

The resolution was passed in the council by 12 votes to one.

Council member David A Catania - one of two openly gay members of the body - explained his reasons for supporting the measure during the debate.

"This issue is whether or not our colleagues on a personal level view me and [Council member] Jim Graham as your equals," he said.

"If we are permitted the same rights and responsibilities and obligations as our colleagues. So this is personal. This is acknowledging our families as much as we acknowledge you."

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Tue May 5th, 2009 at 02:59:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
US Afghan strikes 'killed dozens' - BBC
US air strikes in Afghanistan on Tuesday killed dozens of civilians including women and children, officials from the Red Cross have said.

Afghan officials in the western province of Farah told the BBC as many as 100 civilians might have died.

The civilians were said to have been hit while sheltering from fighting.

...snip

International Committee of the Red Cross observers who visited the site of the air strikes saw houses destroyed and dozens of dead bodies, including women and children, a spokeswoman said.

"We can absolutely confirm there were civilian casualties," Jessica Barry said.

"It seemed they were trying to shelter in houses when they were hit."

Exactly the thing which I condemn Israel for in the Gaza conflict. Nothing new, but it's way past time I spoke up against this.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Wed May 6th, 2009 at 10:39:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Meanwhile...
Pakistani President Tries to Assure U.S. on Taliban - NYT
Pakistan's leaders began an arduous campaign here on Tuesday to convince the United States that they will repel recent incursions by Taliban militant groups, secure their own nuclear arsenal and make good use of American military and economic assistance.

The first audience for the pitch was Congress, as President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan met privately for 90 minutes with members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Several of its members are wary of the Obama administration's request for additional military and economic aid to Pakistan, at a time when its confidence in the government is ebbing.

Mr. Zardari's presentation, however, left some members confused and disappointed, according to a person who attended the meeting. He said little about how the Pakistani government planned to regain momentum in the fight against the militants. And when he asked for financial assistance, he likened it to the government's bailout of the troubled insurance giant, American International Group.

So Zaradi meets with chairman of the House Committee on foreign Relations Howard Berman (D-CA. Whose new hobbyhorse is how to impose "crippling sanctions" on Iran by a blockade of gasoline shipments - Iran has little or no refining capacity of its own) and ranking minority member Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), who feels pretty much the same. Is it any wonder, then, that there wasn't a perfect mind meld? With those two running the foreign relations debate in the house, AIPAC feel relieved that they've got the house locked up, and the focus remains on the global war on terrorism.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Wed May 6th, 2009 at 10:52:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
AIPAC may feel relieved


"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire
by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Wed May 6th, 2009 at 10:55:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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