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by Fran on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 11:04:40 AM EST
Criticism grows ahead of top-level Afghan German meeting in Berlin | World | Deutsche Welle | 10.05.2009
Regional security and Germany's role in Afghanistan's reconstruction top the agenda for Sunday's meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, in Berlin.  

The talks between Merkel and Karzai are expected to focus on the reconstruction of Afghanistan, the ongoing fight against the Islamist Taliban and the increasingly dangerous situation faced by German troops in northern Afghanistan.

German news magazine Der Spiegel reported in its latest edition that the Taliban was planning massive attacks on German soldiers to put pressure on politicians as the September general election draws close.

by Fran on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 11:07:12 AM EST
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Germany says US data on Guantanamo inmates insufficient | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 10.05.2009
The German government says it cannot accept any detainees from the Guantanamo prison facility until Washington provides more information on them and answers some key questions.  

In a newspaper interview published on Sunday, Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble complained that Washington had not yet provided sufficient information for Germany to act on resettling Guantanamo detaineees.

Germany's Bild am Sonntag newspaper reported that Washington had provided Berlin with a list of nine Chinese Muslims, members of the Uighur ethnic group, that it hoped Germany would offer refuge to.

"The information that we've received so far from Washington is insufficient for us to take a decision on whether to accept any one of the cases," Schaueble told the paper. 

by Fran on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 11:07:31 AM EST
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Well they must be very busy prosecuting the German officials who cooperated in rendition.
by rootless2 on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 04:36:33 PM EST
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First EU-Pakistan summit as bloc attempts to boost ties | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 10.05.2009
The European Union presidency plans to hold the bloc's first ever summit with Pakistan, in an attempt to help strengthen the country's civilian government.  

That's according to the Czech EU presidency source who released the information. He also said the summit will be held within weeks, with June 17 given as the provisional date.

The fight against terrorism -- including in neighboring Afghanistan -- is expected to top the meeting's agenda, but enhanced cooperation over the rule of law and measures to improve trade relations should also be discussed.

"The EU wants to help strengthen the civilian government in Pakistan by showing strong support on the highest level," the EU source said.

by Fran on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 11:08:21 AM EST
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France 24 | Tens of thousands rally to renew calls for Saakashvili's resignation | France 24
Some 20,000 protesters gathered outside the parliament building in the Georgian capital Tbilisi as opposition leaders pushed for talks with President Mikheil Saakashvili following a month of demonstrations demanding his resignation.

AFP - Thousands of protesters rallied in the Georgian capital Saturday as opposition leaders pressed for a meeting with President Mikheil Saakashvili after a month of demonstrations demanding his ouster.
   
In a show of strength on the one-month anniversary of the start of protests, about 20,000 opposition supporters gathered outside parliament in central Tbilisi, calling for the president to resign by chanting "Misha Go!"
   
The protest came after the government and opposition leaders on Friday failed to make any progress in resolving the political stand-off during their first talks since protests began.

by Fran on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 11:08:44 AM EST
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Saakashvili has apparently agreed to meet with the oppostion today. The positions seemed to be rather locked, so I doubt it'll yield much...

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 03:28:00 AM EST
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Spain clamps down on disco 'auctioning' girls - Europe, World - The Independent

The Granada disco called it an "auction of single teenage girls," and the gawky boys who showed up for this afternoon fiesta were given monopoly money to bid on the lass of their choice. The highest bidder won a free soft drink with his dream date at the VIP lounge.

The disco, Granada 10, said the auction was a common gimmick used by Spanish nightclubs to attract the acne-prone crowd during off-peak hours. But Spain's politically correct Ministry of Equality did not enjoy the joke.

It has called for an investigation by the regional prosecutor on children's affairs to determine whether this teenage romp constitutes gender discrimination and if so, who should be held responsible. "This event is deplorable, sexist, rancid and out-of-date, from another era," said the 32-year-old Equality Minister, Bibiana Aido (pictured right).

by Fran on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 11:10:31 AM EST
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1.    MPs' expenses: Tony Blair facing questions over the £296,000 mortgage - Telegraph
Tony Blair is facing fresh questions over how he funded his multi-million-pound property empire after details of the former Prime Minister's claims were leaked to The Sunday Telegraph.

The documents show that Mr Blair remortgaged his constituency home for £296,000, almost 10 times what he paid for it, months before he bought his town house in London for £3.65 million. Mr Blair was able to claim on his parliamentary expenses for the interest repayments on almost a third of the new mortgage on his constituency home.

The amount loaned was sufficient to cover the deposit on his house in Connaught Square, west London, one of five properties owned by the former prime minister, valued at £10 million in total.

by Fran on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 11:13:07 AM EST
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Emergency plan for independent audit of MPs' expenses - Times Online

MPs' expenses will be scrutinised by a new audit body policed by professional, external accountants under emergency plans being drawn up this weekend, it emerged today.

Sir Stuart Bell, the Labour MP for Middlesbrough who is one of those responsible for the current rules governing MPs' claims, said today: "In all probability tomorrow the Commission will approve a special specific audit unit, hived off from the fees office, independent of the fees office which will verify in future every claim that's made by any Member of Parliament."

He explained that the plans included hiring professional accountants who were "outside individuals" to comb through and verify new expense claims before signing them off.

Sir Stuart also said that he expected that there will be a statement in the House of Commons tomorrow to apologise to the public over the expenses and second home debacle.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 12:53:17 PM EST
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BBC NEWS | Europe | Immigrants hurt in Greek violence

Five immigrants have been injured after far-right demonstrators tried to storm a disused courthouse in Athens occupied mainly by illegal migrants from Africa.

Dozens of protesters hurled stones and fireworks at the eight-storey building on Saturday night, while those living inside threw bricks and masonry slabs.

Police said nine officers were also injured in the violence.

Three youths were arrested over the attack, which came after a march by the anti-immigrant Golden Dawn group.

The protesters waved banners reading "Foreigners mean crime" and "We have become foreigners in our own country".

by Fran on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 11:15:58 AM EST
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