Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 13th, 2010 at 10:47:15 AM EST
RFI - Gbagbo dissolves government and electoral commission
Côte d'Ivoire's President Laurent Gbagbo dissolved the country's government and electoral commission on Friday. Speaking on national television he called on Prime Minister Guillaume Soro to form a new government before next Monday evening.

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Gbagbo said the country's peace process was "once again, broken" and his comments came one day after Soro announced the suspension of voter registration.

Voting in the country's presidential election, repeatedly postponed since 2005, was due to take place at the end of February or early March.

Gbagbo's announcement was strongly criticised by by Niamkey Koffi of the PDCI (Parti démocratique de Côte d'Ivoire) who said the President had undone progress in the country's peace process and had "sawn off the branch on which he was sitting".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 13th, 2010 at 11:29:50 AM EST
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RFI - First casualties as 15,000 troops enter Marjah
Thousands of troops have launched an offensive, dubbed "Operation Mushtarak", in the Marjah district of Afghanistan's Helmand province. Nato's International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) says a combined force of 15,000 soldiers is being led by US marines, but also incorporates Afghan soldiers.

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Five Taliban fighters were killed on Saturday in two separate locations after the offensive began, according to Afghan officers.

US and British troops were dropped into the town by helicopter ahead of ground troops, said Lieutenant Josh Diddams, a US marines spokesperson. He said troops were meeting "minimal resistance" as they moved forward on the ground, but that they had come under fire from Taliban fighters.

Helmand Governor Mohammad Gulab said troops transported by 60 helicopters had taken 11 "strategic areas", but that there were "a lot of mines in the area", which are being defused.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 13th, 2010 at 11:31:13 AM EST
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News Analysis - Afghan Offensive Is New War Model - NYTimes.com
KABUL, Afghanistan -- For all the fighting that lies ahead over the next several days, no one doubts that the American and Afghan troops swarming into the Taliban redoubt of Marja will ultimately clear it of insurgents.

And that is when the real test will begin.

For much of the past eight years, American and NATO forces have mounted other large military operations to clear towns and cities of Taliban insurgents. And then, almost invariably, they have cleared out, never leaving behind enough soldiers or police officers to hold the place on their own.

And so, almost always, the Taliban returned -- and, after a time, so did the American and NATO troops, to clear the place all over again.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 13th, 2010 at 11:54:17 AM EST
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New? Is this not the strategic hamlet in new packaging?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Sun Feb 14th, 2010 at 07:28:33 AM EST
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US-HAITI: The Loan that Wasn't - Part 1 - IPS ipsnews.net
It is an unusual combination of optimism and realism that is driving development experts to try to shed the blemished history of international aid to Haiti, rid the issue of a generation of devastating politicisation, and think way outside the conventional development paradigm.

The fate of one particularly important project is emblematic of factors that have consistently and severely reduced the effectiveness - even the existence - of viable development projects.

Eric Michael Johnson of the Department of History at the University of British Columbia in Canada told IPS, "The U.S. role towards Haiti can best be understood as a kind of abusive paternalism, at times condescending and at others domineering depending on how fully Haitian governments obey the patriarch's dictates."

To illustrate his point, Johnson told IPS what happened after the first coup d'etat and reinstatement of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in late 1994 to a term that ended in 1996. This was followed by five years of René Préval (who is president today).

In 2000, Aristide once again won overwhelmingly in the Haitian elections. Aristide's second election did not please the new U.S. president, George W. Bush.

Johnson then recounts how the Bush administration conspired to cut off funds already appropriated for a vital infrastructure and public health project.

An award of 146 million dollars from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) had already been approved, but at U.S. insistence was not being disbursed. Some 54 million dollars of this loan was intended for desperately needed water and sanitation projects.

"This decision likely resulted in the needless deaths of an untold number of poor Haitians," Johnson said.

In 2006, the Robert F. Kennedy Center filed a Freedom of Information Act Request to force the U.S. to release documents related to this decision.

According to the documents, "there was clear evidence that the United States blocked the loans because they objected to the election of Aristide," Johnson said.

The IDB approved these loans between 1996 and 1998, and Haiti paid around 10 million dollars in interest even before the loans were dispersed. By 2001, there was no reason for the IDB to continue blocking these loans. But block them they did.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 13th, 2010 at 12:15:17 PM EST
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Rasmussen calls for NATO redirection NEW EUROPE - The European News Source

In the continuous struggle to decide what role NATO plays in international stability, the alliance's chief said this week that the entity may need to undergo a "cultural revolution" and serve as an international forum on global security in order to move forward as an organization. Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a video blog that NATO should serve as a global security forum where members can consult with partner countries on threats around the world. Rasmussen called this step "a necessity." "NATO must actively be engaged where threats arise," he said. "In today's globalized world we must realize that territorial defense begins beyond our borders and we need to act in close cooperation with other players and partners on the international scene." The comment comes at a time when NATO is trying to redefine its strategic concept for the 21st century. Former U.S. State Secretary Madeleine Albright is leading a group of experts to figure out where the alliance stands.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 13th, 2010 at 12:25:51 PM EST
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Eight die in India's first big attack since Mumbai | Reuters

PUNE, India (Reuters) - A bomb ripped through a packed restaurant in the Indian city of Pune on Saturday, killing at least eight people including four foreign women in the country's first big attack since the 2008 Mumbai massacre.


The explosion comes only a day after India and Pakistan agreed to meet for high-level talks in New Delhi on February 25. New Delhi suspended a four-year-old peace process with Islamabad after the Mumbai attacks, blamed on Pakistani-based militants.

At least 33 people were wounded on Saturday, police said. No-one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

"There has been a bomb blast," senior police official Rajendra Sonawane told reporters. "There was an abandoned bag which seems to have contained some IED. (improvised explosive device)."

The explosion at German Bakery occurred in the evening, when the restaurant was packed with tourists and foreigners. "Four women foreigners were killed. Their nationality is not known." Dilip Band, a senior police official, told CNN-IBN television.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 13th, 2010 at 12:44:42 PM EST
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Wen warns of challenges as China welcomes new year | Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao warned his people to keep a "sober mind" about the challenges ahead in the new year as the country welcomed the arrival of the Year of the Tiger with noisy celebrations on Saturday.

"In 2010, China will face a more complicated situation, both at home and abroad," the state news agency Xinhua paraphrased Wen as saying, in remarks carried in major newspapers.

People must "keep a sober mind and an enhanced sense of anxiety about lagging behind," the premier added.

Priority should be given to "persistence in taking economic development as the central task, forcefully promoting reform and opening up ... and doing a better job responding to the global financial crisis, in order to keep steady and relatively fast economic development."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 13th, 2010 at 12:46:50 PM EST
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Gaza sources: Sole power plant to halt over Israel fuel blockade - Haaretz - Israel News
Gaza's sole power plant will cease functioning within hours, the Palestinian Ma'an news agency said on Saturday, quoting the Strip's Energy Authority.

The Gaza Energy Authority wrote in a statement that while of the power plant's generators has been shut down, the remaining amount of fuel will only suffice to to continue the plant's electricity output for a few hours longer.

"The power plant's output decreased to 30 megawatts and Gaza will experience blackouts as a result of an energy deficit of 50%," the statement added.

According to the Ma'an report, the Strip-based authority also claimed that the reduction of fuel transfers into Gaza continued, with the first week of February seeing 1,600 cubic meters of fuel entrring the costal enclave instead of the 2,200 cubic meters decided upon in an Israeli court decision.

Authorities appealed to international and humanitarian organizations, as well as Arab states and the Organization of the Islamic Conference to end the ongoing electricity deficit in Gaza.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 13th, 2010 at 01:13:18 PM EST
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What Gaza needs is a solar thermal power plant.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Feb 13th, 2010 at 10:40:54 PM EST
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great idea!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Feb 14th, 2010 at 04:22:14 AM EST
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The Israelis would just bomb it.  Electricity is terrorism, donchya know.
by IdiotSavant on Sun Feb 14th, 2010 at 08:01:01 AM EST
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Sad but true.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Feb 14th, 2010 at 09:41:01 AM EST
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News | About Vancouver | Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games | CTV Olympics

Riot police with batons, bullet-proof vests and some with machine guns clashed with masked protesters dressed in black in Vancouver Saturday, the first full day of the Vancouver Winter Games.

Vancouver Police say a group of more than 200 masked protesters have amassed in the downtown core, kicking and vandalizing cars and businesses. Lions Gate Bridge has been shut down in both directions.

Organizer Harsha Walia says there were several hundred protesters gathered in the downtown and witnesses say the windows of the HBC Olympic superstore were smashed.

Alissa Westergard-Thorpe, of the Olympic Resistance Network, disavowed her group from the vandalism and violence, saying that the protest was "a day of autonomous actions, independent groups, with a diversity of tactics around the Olympics.''

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Feb 13th, 2010 at 03:22:58 PM EST
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Reuters AlertNet - Israel general doubts power to hit Iran atom sites
ERUSALEM, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Israel may lack the military means for successful preemptive strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities, its former top general said on Saturday.

While endorsing international efforts to pressure Tehran into curbing sensitive nuclear technologies, Israel has hinted it could resort to force. But some analysts say Israeli jets would be stymied by the distance to Iran and by its defences. Asked in a television interview about Israeli leaders' vows to "take care" of the perceived threat, ex-general Dan Halutz, who stepped down as armed forces chief in 2007, said: "We are taking upon ourselves a task that is bigger than us."

"I think that the State of Israel should not take it upon itself to be the flag-bearer of the entire Western world in the face of the Iranian threat," Halutz, whose previous military post was as air force commander, told Channel Two.

"I'm not some passer-by ... I've filled a few positions that give me a different level of information to the average person," he said without elaborating.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Feb 13th, 2010 at 03:41:49 PM EST
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Oh! Oh! What can poor Israel do? Besides using the US$1 billion aid per year to bribe or intimidate even more US politicians to get the US to bomb, bomb, bomb...

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Feb 13th, 2010 at 10:44:22 PM EST
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Palestinian protesters pose as Na'vi from "Avatar" - Yahoo! News

JERUSALEM - Palestinian protesters have added a colorful twist to demonstrations against Israel's separation barrier, painting themselves blue and posing as characters from the hit film "Avatar."

The demonstrators also donned long hair and loincloths Friday for the weekly protest against the barrier near the village of Bilin.

They equated their struggle to the intergalactic one portrayed in the film.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Feb 13th, 2010 at 08:23:08 PM EST
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Imaging Imperial Washington  H/T Naked Capitalism

Link to original where blurbs appear when the cursor is passed over a figure.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Feb 13th, 2010 at 11:48:19 PM EST
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