Monday, July 31, 2006
The Japanese government has assessed that North Korea’s test firing of a long-range missile on July 5 was a “complete failure”. The Taepodong-2 missile, one of seven missiles fired by North Korea into the Sea of Japan (East Sea), fell in waters off the North Korean coast, the Mainichi Shimbun said. Japan had originally estimated that the missile flew about 640 kilometers (398 miles) towards Japan, Yomiuri Shimbun said. The United States has told Japan that its satellite information indicated the Taepodong-2 exploded in mid-air within 1.5 kilometers of the launching pad, Kyodo News said, citing Japanese government sources. The Japan Defence Agency would file an analysis report as early as this week to say “the launch was a complete failure,” the Mainichi said.Washington and Tokyo have assessed that the first phase of the missile did not separate properly and debris was seen falling around the Musudanri missile base in northeastern North Korea, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) said. Of the remaining six missiles, four were are believed to have been short-range Scud ballistic missiles, with two mid-range Rodong ballistic missiles, Kyodo and Mainichi said. Since the latest North Korean missile tests, Japan has banned a major North Korean ferry link, visits by diplomats and charter flights. Japan’s reaction has been strongly criticised by South Korea, which is atempting to reconcile with its communist neighbor and remains bitter over Japan’s bloody colonial rule. North Korea tested a Taepodong-1 in 1998 that flew over Japan into the Pacific Ocean, stirring widespread jitters here. North Korea is widely reviled in Japan for kidnappings Japanese civilians during the 1970s to 1980s.
Civilians Blown Up By Hizbullah
Senior IDF officers told reporters a short time ago that there is a contradiction in the timing of the bombing of the village of Kana and reports of the explosion that killed more than 50 civilians and set off world-wide condemnation of Israel. Brigadier General Ido Nehushtan left open the possibility that Hizbullah terrorists blew up the building with civilians inside in order to blame Israel.He explained that recorded information shows that Israeli Air Force planes bombed targets between midnight and 1 a.m. and again at 7:30 a.m. but that the targets which killed civilians were up to 500 yards away during the second attack, when the building was demolished. "It is not clear what happened," he said. The IDF pointed out that more than Hizbullah terrorists have fired more than 150 rockets from the village of Kana since the beginning of the war.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Illegal Ice Cream Trucks Infest Minneapolis
The hot weather could be putting local children at risk from a source most people wouldn’t think of – the ice cream truck. Inspectors in Minneapolis say there has been a rapid increase in the number of illegal and non-licensed ice cream trucks driving the streets. Rachid Khallaf, an ice cream truck driver with Big Bell, says some other drivers try to sell in Minneapolis with St. Paul licenses. "I know some people who work here – have a license in St. Paul and work in Minneapolis,” he says, “It's not good."Minneapolis mobile license inspector Rich Tuffs is asking police and parents to look for any trucks without the green sticker that allows them to sell in the city. ”There are major safety issues for the community, health issues,” Tuffs says. On Thursday, Minneapolis police stopped an ice cream truck driver with a revoked driver’s license. Additionally, the truck did not have a health or vehicle inspection, no green sticker and a cooler in violation of health codes. "I did tell him that the vehicle is off the street until the inspection's done,” Tuffs says. “If I find it again, I'll impound it."
Saturday, July 29, 2006
South Korea Launches Satellite That Can Spy On North
South Korea sent a satellite into space primarily for geographical surveys but also for possibly spying on North Korea, which raised regional security concerns by launching missiles earlier this month. The 900-kg (2000 lb) Arirang-2 satellite, launched in Russia, can take high-resolution pictures of the earth's surface, a government agency said. Experts said it would be the country's most advanced surveillance satellite. "The high-definition MSC (multi-spectral camera) will be able to give real-time visual data on North Korea's missile launch preparations or military activities, which would be otherwise unavailable," South Korea's Overseas Information Service said.At present, South Korea mostly relies on U.S. spy satellites and planes for aerial reconnaissance of North Korea. North Korea defied international warnings by firing off seven missiles in July, including its long-range Taepodong-2, which destructed after about 40 seconds in the air. The Arirang-2 satellite gives South Korea the ability to identify objects on the ground one meter in diameter, the information service said. The satellite will mostly work on mapping and help search for natural resources. The launch had been planned for several months. The Russian rocket with the satellite blasted off from a launch pad in the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, approximately 800 km (500 miles) northeast of Moscow, the information service said.
Friday, July 28, 2006
Russia To Sell Arms To Venezuela
Hugo Chavez has sealed a massive arms deal to buy Russian fighter jets, officials said on Thursday as the Venezuelan leader met President Vladimir Putin on a tour that is being seen as a snub to the United States. The two leaders focussed on Russian energy investment in Venezuela and Venezuelan arms purchases from Russia at their Kremlin meeting. “There has been extraordinary progress in our military technology cooperation. I want to thank President Putin for his strong support,” Chavez said after the meeting. The head of Russia’s arms export agency, Sergei Chemezov, told reporters after the meeting: “Some contracts for three billion dollars have been signed over the last year and a half” including “for 24 Sukhois and 53 helicopters.” Chavez said Russian weapons were badly needed by his country following a US government ban on sales by US manufacturers of defence products to Venezuela.
Hugo Chavez and Vladimir Putin“We would like to thank you for freeing us from a blockade,” Chavez told Putin. “We were practically disarmed,” Chavez said, referring to Venezuela’s problems getting spare parts for its existing fleet of US-built F-16 fighter jets. The United States had called on Russia earlier this week to reconsider the sale of the Su-30 fighter jets, which earlier reports said would amount to 30 such jets. At Thursday’s meeting Putin also welcomed plans for Russian energy firms to develop energy deposits in Venezuela. “Venezuela for us is a natural partner,” Putin said. “These (reserves) represent colossal potential, and I’m very happy that our companies are working to find joint solutions in the energy sector.” Chavez said the Russian firms Lukoil and Gazprom were both considered important partners. Putin also gave his backing to Venezuela’s bid to join the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member, something which Chavez is hoping to win support for on his world tour. “We will support Venezuela’s candidature to become a non-permanent member of the Security Council ... We are for a multipolar world,” Putin said. The Russian business daily Vedomosti said on Thursday that Chavez was also planning to buy Russian Tor-M1 short-range surface-to-air missile systems designed to shoot down planes, helicopters and cruise missiles.
8 Countries To Hold Talks Without North Korea
The U.S. and other regional powers will meet Friday to discuss Asian security concerns after North Korea refused to talk with negotiating partners on its nuclear and missile programs, officials said. The decision by the United States and seven other nations including North Korean allies China and Russia signals the communist regime's deepening isolation less than a month after the U.N. Security Council condemned its missile tests. The U.S. and other nations have been trying to convince a defiant North Korea to end its nuclear arms program. The North deepened the standoff when it recently tested a long-range missile believed capable of reaching the U.S., along with six other short- and medium-range missiles.Besides U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, participants at Friday's meeting will also include South Korea and Japan, as well as Australia, Malaysia and Canada, whose foreign ministers are all attending a regional meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. "The eight countries will exchange views on regional issues that they are concerned about," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu, adding that they will be represented by the foreign ministers including Rice. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill also separately confirmed the eight-party talks, adding that the U.S. side had "zero plans to meet with the North Koreans." "We do not have any intention of engaging them bilaterally, until they are back in the diplomatic game," he told reporters. By not accepting the six-party talks, Hill said North Korea "had made a decision that they want to be isolated. I think it's fair to say that they should be careful what they wish for." Many had hoped the six-party talks would be revived on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum. Jiang refused to go into details of what would be discussed in Friday's expanded discussions, saying that as the host nation, Malaysia would set the agenda.North Korea has refused to negotiate since November to protest a U.S. crackdown on its alleged financial wrongdoing and indicated Thursday it had no intention of dropping its demand for Washington to end the sanctions. "Six-party talks can happen only after the United States lifts sanctions against us," said North Korea's spokesman, Chong Song Il, after a late-evening dinner Thursday of the foreign ministers. "I don't know anything about nine-party talks or eight-party talks. I haven't heard about that," he said. Asked whether North Korea would be willing to meet one-on-one with U.S. officials, Chong said. "if America wants bilateral talks, we are willing to accept that." The remarks were made hours after North Korean Foreign Minister Paek Nam Sun arrived in Kuala Lumpur for the ASEAN conference, attended by 25 countries and the European Union.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Senator Norm Coleman's Father Cited For Lewd And Disorderly Conduct
Norm Coleman Sr., the father of Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman, was cited for lewd and disorderly conduct after police officers reported finding him engaged in a sex act in a car near a pizzeria on E. 7th St. in St. Paul. A police report said officers were called to Savoy Inn at 7:40 p.m. to investigate a report that two people were having sex in a car. The police report stated a woman, Patrizia Marie Schrag, 38, also was cited for lewd and disorderly conduct. The elder Coleman, 81, raised his son in New York City. He has since moved to Minnesota, and public records indicate he lives in St. Paul.
Norm Coleman with his father, Norman Coleman Sr.Sen. Coleman issued a statement after learning of the citation against his father. "I love my father dearly," the senator said. "I do not condone his actions or behavior, and I am deeply disturbed by what I have learned. He clearly has some issues that need to be dealt with, and I will encourage him to seek the necessary help."
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
'Zombies' Terrorize Downtown Minneapolis
Six friends spruced up in fake blood and tattered clothing were arrested in downtown Minneapolis on suspicion of toting "simulated weapons of mass destruction."
Jamie Lee JonesPolice said the group were allegedly carrying bags with wires sticking out, making it look like a bomb, while meandering and dancing to music as part of a "zombie dance party" Saturday night. "They were arrested for behavior that was suspicious and disturbing," said Lt. Gregory Reinhardt, a police spokesman. Police also said the group was uncooperative and intimidated people with their "ghoulish" makeup. Jessica Rae BaribeauOne group member said the "weapons" were actually backpacks modified to carry a homemade stereos and were jailed without reason. None of the six adults and one juvenile arrested have been charged. Jake Benjamin Sternberg"Given the circumstance of them being uncooperative ... why would you have those (bags) if not to intimidate people?" said Inspector Janee Harteau. "It's not a case of (police) overreacting." Christian Alexander UtneHarteau also said police were on high alert because they'd gotten a bulletin about men who wear clown makeup while attacking and robbing people in other states. Kate Kibby, one of those arrested, said previous zombie dance parties at the Mall of America and on light-rail trains have occurred without incident. Marie Katyanne KibbeLast fall, nearly 200 people took part in a "zombie pub crawl" in northeast Minneapolis. Kibby said they were cooperative and followed the two officers to the station where they were questioned and eventually loaded into a van and booked into jail. Raphi Rechitsky"It was clear to us that they were trying to get a rise out of us," KIbby said. Members of the group could face lesser charges like disorderly conduct, police said.
Ahmadinejad Stirs the Pot
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned that the conflict between Lebanon and Israel could trigger "a hurricane" of broader fighting in the Middle East. Ahmadinejad's nation is a major backer of the Hezbollah militant group and a sworn enemy of Israel. In his comments, he referred to a proverb that says: "He who raises the wind will get a hurricane." "That proverb fully relates to the Middle East, which is a very volatile region," he said. "And it will be a strong hurricane which will strike really hard." Ahmadinejad made his comments after meeting with Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov. The two leaders signed a joint statement declaring "that the use of force against Palestine and Lebanon is unacceptable." "All issues of international security must be resolved through dialogue, because force does not bring a solution," the Iranian leader said. "The use of force will only exacerbate the situation."Ahmadinejad and Rakhmonov called for a cease-fire and urged international organizations to seek the swiftest possible settlement of the conflict. Tajikistan is an impoverished but strategically important former Soviet republic because of its border with Afghanistan. Tajik and Iranian officials signed agreements Tuesday meant to boost trade and cooperation on cultural issues, labor, justice, and tourism. The Tajik language is similar to Farsi, Iran's main language.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Congressman Steve King Proposes 100 Percent Solution For Mexican Border
Rep. Steve King believes he has an answer to the United States' southern border security problems. During a hearing before two subcommittees of the Homeland Security and Government Reform Committee, King, R-Iowa, presented a model he created for a barrier that would follow the U.S.-Mexico border. While King said his proposal wouldn't be suitable for all terrain, sealing the border is the key to stopping the flow of undocumented workers and illegal drugs across the border. "I'm for expanding the border patrol and giving them all the technology that they need, but I'm for a 100 percent solution, one we can make a business case for," he said. The barrier would be constructed of 10-foot wide concrete panels placed in concrete foundations sunk 5 feet in the ground. The wall would stand 12 feet tall, with wire strung along the top that could be electrified.King, who owns a construction company, said the foundation and panels for the wall could easily be installed by workers at a pace of up to a mile per day, costing about $1.3 million per mile. The U.S.-Mexico border is more than 1,900 miles long. "You pick them up with a crane, lift them up and just drop them in," King said, demonstrating with a desktop model made of wood and cardboard. "In fairly short order, you'll end up with a wall that would be quite effective and relatively economical." After making four visits to the border this year, King said a wall would keep out illegal immigrants and drug traffickers. "I have been known to sit down there sometimes at 2:30 in the morning, listening to border patrol agents who will talk to me only in obscure places where their identity can be kept confidential," he said. "You will not stop this human traffic unless you put a physical presence and a wall there."
Monday, July 24, 2006
Terrorists Running Out Of Rockets
IDF Military Intelligence (MI) believes the army has 10 days left before diplomatic pressure puts an end to operation Change of Direction against Hizbullah, The Jerusalem Post learned on Sunday. In addition, MI - reflecting its latest strategic assessment - believes that the Islamist group has already been dealt a severe blow by the IDF operation launched 12 days ago, and that within a month it will run out of Katyusha rockets to fire at Israel. Hizbullah is organized along military lines, with regional commands in southern, northern and central Lebanon. The unit in the south, called the "Katyusha Unit" by the IDF, consists of some 1,000 fighters who have been responsible for most of the rocket attacks on communities north of Acre and Amiad. The unit has been able to recruit reserves, but MI has noticed that it has run into difficulty convincing members of the terror group who reside in northern Lebanon to travel south to participate in the fighting.
Police officers stand next to a rocket removed from the site of an attack by Hizbullah guerrillas at the train station in HaifaOnce the unit exhausts the missiles currently in its possession, it will, MI believes, have difficulty acquiring more, since most of the roads and supply routes have been destroyed by the IDF. Several Syrian and Iranian attempts to send supplies to Hizbullah have been thwarted by the IDF. North of the Litani River, Hizbullah operates a unit called the "medium-range rocket unit" believed to be responsible for firing Katyushas at Haifa and Israel's northern coast. Most of that unit's missiles were supplied by Syria prior to the current conflict. This unit is also believed to have an arsenal of long-range rockets - Iranian-made Fajr 5 and Zelzal missiles capable of reaching targets 200 km. away. Hizbullah still has several functioning military command centers in different regions in Lebanon, according to MI assessments. Officials in these centers are still able to command Hizbullah's men in the field. Military Intelligence has set up a team to oversee targeted killings of Hizbullah officials, but the unit has had limited success. MI does not believe that killing Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah would necessarily end the conflict.MI believes that Hizbullah has been dealt a "critical blow" to its image in Lebanon and throughout the Arab world. Lebanese leaders blame Nasrallah for provoking Israel and "bringing a disaster upon their country," MI believes. Hizbullah also reportedly has three units charged with intelligence operations. One unit is in charge of espionage against Israel, including the recruitment of agents who gather intelligence on IDF bases and other strategic installations. A unit called "1800" is reportedly responsible for the recruitment of Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. There is also reportedly a third unit, in charge of counter-intelligence operations.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
4 Killed In Attack In The Philippines
Rebels attacked a police station in a port town southeast of Manila before dawn Saturday, and at least three guerrillas and a coastguard officer were killed and seven others were wounded, officials said. About 80 new people's army guerrillas, arriving in land vehicles and motorboats, fired on officers at the police station and nearby coast guard office in the town of Matnog, about 400 kilometers (250 miles) southeast of Manila, national police chief Oscar Calderon said.Government volunteer troops and a group of soldiers waiting for a ferry ride backed police in repulsing the assault, forcing the guerrillas to withdraw after a two-hour gunbattle, local army commander Brig. Gen. Arsenio Arugay said. At least three rebels and a coast guard officer were killed, he said. Calderon said a coast guard officer, five policemen and a civilian were wounded.
Jewish Men & Women lLeave Homelands To Join Israeli Military
On Friday, he sold his silver Pontiac. On Saturday, he left his Boca Raton apartment. Today, he expects to be in Israel, ready to take arms as a soldier. "I'm needed by my country," said Jonathan "Yoni" Charust, 22, who holds dual citizenship in the United States and Israel. Israel has been engaged in a battle with Hamas and Hezbollah for more than a week. Israel has pounded Hezbollah targets in Lebanon while Hezbollah has lobbed rockets into northern Israeli cities. The numbers of foreign recruits may not be many, a few hundred in an Israeli Army that is estimated by the U.S. Department of Defense in published reports to have about 625,000 troops. Nevertheless, Jews from abroad leave their homes in the United States, Canada, England, South Africa and the Ukraine, among others, to come to Israel and serve. "They bring their hearts and minds, and we are proud and happy that they come to be part of our country," said Aaron Sagui, consul for political affairs at the Israeli consulate general's office in Miami.A New Jersey native, Charust's family moved to a suburb of Haifa when he was 8. Last year, he decided to take advantage of his dual citizenship and came back to the United States to work. He lived with an uncle in Tamarac for a few months and then rented a Boca Raton apartment. A computer technician, he returned to America to find prosperity and take a break from the daily tensions of living in the Middle East. The kidnapping of 19-year-old Israel soldier Gilad Shalit by Hamas changed his plans. With one tour of duty in the Israeli military in his past, Charust said the kidnapping convinced him to serve again. He booked his flight about the same time he received a draft notice from the Israeli military. To serve in the Israeli military, the main requirement is to be a citizen -- all Jews are eligible for citizenship under the government's 1950 "Law of Return." Those who come from distant lands earn the same token pay as other soldiers -- just a few hundred dollars a month -- and eat the same hard bread, eggs and cottage cheese for breakfast in the mess hall. They all go through the same basic training. "They didn't come to save us," Sagui observed. "They are young guys who come to strengthen us."Assaf Regev lives on a kibbutz about a half hour from Haifa along with 20 other soldiers from abroad, including those from New York, South Africa and Europe. He left his home last year in unincorporated Miami-Dade County near Aventura to serve in an Israeli combat unit. Regev's grandmother survived Auschwitz. It helped shape his feelings of Israel's need for survival as a safety net for Jews. He said he grew up in a house that preached that the country was his Jewish homeland. "I love America and I will be going back, but this is a place I can always feel at home," he said, when reached by telephone in Israel. Last year, he graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in sports management. His plans to attend law school are now on hold. He said he has the respect of the Israelis in his unit, although he gets teased. "They say `what are you doing here? You're from Miami.' …This is the place that has saved the Jewish people. This is something that if I could do it, I should do it."Service in the Israel Defense Forces is mandatory for Israelis, the only exceptions made to those not physically or mentally well, or the ultra-orthodox if they prove that they are in school. Women serve two years; men serve three. Then, men are called about three weeks a year for exercise and training until age 40. And until age 40, they are in the reserves and can be called back for active duty any time during war. Because soldiers from abroad often immigrate at a later age, they often don't serve the full three years, Sagui said. Serving in the Israeli military does not mean Americans have to give up their citizenship. Two years ago, David Blum left his house in North Miami Beach to go on a 10-day tour to Israel. He found a new home instead. "I'm Jewish and if it wasn't for Israel there wouldn't be any Jews," he said from Israel. His military service, training recruits and engineering in combat situations, will be over in three months and at age 22 he plans to return and work in his father's lighting business in Hallandale Beach. When he joined the Israeli military, Blum said he didn't speak much Hebrew. Now he is fluent in the language, a requirement in the Army because it's the only language in which commands are given. Blum said he is proud of his decision. "I don't consider myself Israeli, I am Jewish, this is a Jewish country, this is my home, I'm going to protect my home."
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Dutch Army Kills 18 Rebels In Afghanistan
At least 18 enemy combatants have been killed during a special operation by Dutch special forces in the Afghan province of Uruzgan, the commander of the Dutch armed forces general Dick Berlijn told reporters. In the last ten days the Dutch commandos, working with US troops, carried out an offensive operation after a “clear threat” against the Dutch army bases near Tarin Kowt and Deh Rawod in Uruzgan, Berlijn said.There were no Dutch casualties. The Dutch troops have been involved in several clashes in recent months while serving in the south-eastern province of Uruzgan, where a 400 to 500 strong Dutch contingent is deployed. In all there are around 1,000 Dutch soldiers in Afghanistan. The planned arrival of new troops that would bring the total to 1,400 in August as part of the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) in Afghanistan.
Friday, July 21, 2006
Minnesota Governor Calls For Two-Year Ban On Drug Ads
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty went after what he called "silly" prescription drug ads, calling for a two-year moratorium while federal regulators toughen their oversight. "These advertisements in many instances are really ridiculous - in my opinion, silly," Pawlenty said at a Capitol news conference, poking fun at commercials for an impotence drug that shows a middle-aged man throwing a football through a tire swing.
Minnesota Governor Tim PawlentyThe Republican Governor said the ads contain little useful information but lead consumers to misguided self-diagnosis. He blamed the ads for rising prescription drug costs. Pawlenty said he would support an outright ban if it would hold up in court. At the state level, he also proposed legislation allowing state employees to police drug advertising and requiring drug makers to report how much they spend on advertising in the state. Attorney General Mike Hatch - a Democrat who hopes to unseat Pawlenty this fall - said the proposal wouldn't do enough to cut drug costs. Regulating prices and expanding purchasing pools would lower costs more effectively than banning ads, Hatch said. He said Pawlenty didn't support a drug marketing disclosure bill that failed in the 2004 Legislature.Opposition also came from Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, which issued a statement saying a ban would make it harder for patients to learn about new drugs. The ads lead patients to ask doctors for sleep aids, constipation remedies and other drugs when measures such as regular bedtimes or more fiber, water and exercise might suffice, said Dr. David Luehr, president of the Minnesota Medical Association. "When patients see an ad that is more a brand than a cure, it gets in the way," he said.
Longer Fence on Mexican Border Debated
Lawmakers grappled with whether to build a fence along hundreds of miles on the nation's southern border, weighing combating illegal immigration against a costly barrier that alone might not stop migrants. Layered fencing stands on about 75 miles of the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border, mostly in cities like San Diego, El Paso, Texas, and Nogales, Ariz. In an election year fixated on illegal immigration and border security, Congress is considering proposals to put fencing on up to 850 miles on the border, costing billions of dollars. "San Diego was a no-man's land when we built that fence,'' Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., told a House panel examining border barriers as a way to stem illegal immigration. He said immigrant gang-related murders, drug traffic and human smuggling have dropped dramatically since a fence just south of the city was built in 1996. "The fence did work,'' Hunter said. But Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, a former top U.S. Border Patrol official, said fencing could cost as much as $2.2 billion and might not be effective in all areas."There are, in my opinion, no one-size-fits-all solutions for border security,'' Reyes said. "I think it wastes money. I think it's not a good investment of taxpayer dollars.'' The Border Patrol last year arrested 1.2 million illegal immigrants who crossed into the United States at the Mexican border. But agents estimate that two or three migrants go undeterred for every one who is stopped. Border Patrol senior associate chief Kevin Stevens said fences have stopped, or at least slowed, illegal migrants. But he questioned whether fencing would be effective where there are natural barriers, like mountains or deserts. He wouldn't talk about specific plans to extend the fence to any length. "Can you look the American people in the eye and say this is needed? And that it's the most practical use of taxpayer dollars?'' asked Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md. "We need an appropriate mix,'' Stevens answered. "It's not about fencing. It's not about Border Patrol agents. It's not about technology. It's about all of those things.'' Critics said little will stop illegal immigration while jobs are so readily available for migrants. The Homeland Security Department recently began cracking down on employers who hire immigrants - many of whom work for cheaper wages and with fewer benefits. But the Bush administration is pushing Congress to approve a temporary worker program that would let illegal immigrants have some legal status.Conservative Republicans, particularly in the House, largely oppose such a program, which they view as giving amnesty to criminals. An estimated 12 million illegal immigrants already live in the United States. "As long as illegal immigrants can readily obtain employment in the United States, neither barriers nor increased staffing will discourage millions of impoverished people from crossing our borders annually,'' said T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, a labor union that represents about 10,500 U.S. Border Patrol agents.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
US Plans Missile Interceptors At Japan Base
Japan says the United States will start deploying missile interceptors at a key air force base in Japan. Japanese Foreign Ministry officials say its part of efforts to deal with the threat of North Korea's missile arsenal. The ministry says the US military will install surface-to-air interceptors at its Kadena Air Base on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa from September. It plans to make them partly operational by the end of the year. The deployment at Kadena, the largest US air base in the Asia-Pacific region, will be the first at a US facility in Japan.Japan says the timing of the deployment, soon after Pyongyang's test-firing of seven missiles on July 5, is a coincidence. The interceptors are designed to shoot down incoming ballistic missiles at their terminal phase, shortly before they reach their targets, by firing interceptor missiles at them. Japan plans to launch a satellite in September that will spy on neighbouring North Korea. It is believed the information-gathering satellite will be able to differentiate objects a metre or more in diameter. An official at Japan's Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Centre says it will be launched from southern Japan on September 10. Japan planned its spy satellite program following North Korea's 1998 launch of a ballistic missile that flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific Ocean.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Turkey Providing Humanitarian Aid To Palestinians
Turkey sent 35 trucks carrying 630 tons of flour to the Palestinians on Tuesday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said. It was the first batch of humanitarian aid provided by the Turkish Red Crescent in Ankara, said the ministry in a statement, adding that the organization would provide a total of 10,000 tons of flour to the Palestinians. Turkey was working on sending urgent food aid worth 1 million U. S. dollars to the Palestinians through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, the statement added. In addition, the Turkish non-governmental organizations were also exerting efforts to meet humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people, it said.Turkey would also donate 1 million dollars to the Palestinian people by the end of 2006 for the development of small and medium scale industries in the Palestinian territories, according to the statement. Humanitarian agencies have warned of a humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian territories as the Israeli army continued a three- week-old massive air and ground offensive in the Gaza Strip to free an Israeli soldier kidnapped by Palestinian gunmen. Daily necessities and fuel were running out in the Gaza Strip as Israel shut down all Gaza border terminals after the 19-year- old tank gunner Gilad Shalit was captured on June 25.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
The Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) has opened two new biodiesel fuel pumps at NEX gas stations at Naval Station Norfolk and Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.The two Biodiesel 20 (B20) pumps are open seven days a week, offering the fuel for sale to the fleet and the general public. This B20 fuel is soy-based and made from a mixture of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent regular petroleum-based diesel.The Navy Exchange also operates alternative fuels at NEX Quarters K near the Pentagon, NEX Jacksonville, Fla., and NEX Mayport, Fla. These facilities offer alternative fuels to anyone who can enter the base.
Monday, July 17, 2006
Hezbollah Terrorist Sleeper Cell Suspected In U.S.
While many U.S. government officials are deeply concerned over Iran’s nuclear program, according to recent reports, investigations by Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department revealed last May that the Lebanon-based terrorist group Hezbollah may be plotting attacks. These attacks may be launched by their sleeper cells in New York and several other US cities. According to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Jewish organization B'nai B'rith, Hezbollah's largest headquarters outside of the Middle East is located in Toronto. In a national news story law-enforcement and intelligence officials were quoted as saying that though there is no imminent threat of any attacks, security has been stepped up after the reports of a meeting between Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and leaders of Hezbollah and other terror groups during his recent visit to Syria.The Iranian Mission to the United Nations in New York City is being kept under surveillance by federal and local intelligence officers, according to reporters. The New York City Police Department possesses one of the largest intelligence divisions in the world. Hezbollah, or God's Party, grew out of the Lebanese civil war in the early 1980s and quickly became the region's leading radical Islamic movement. Their primary goal was to drive Israeli and American troops out of Lebanon. For many years, Hezbollah was synonymous with terror, suicide bombings and kidnappings. In 1983, militants who went on to join Hezbollah's ranks carried out a suicide bombing attack that killed 241 US marines in Beirut, which lead to President Ronald Reagan's withdrawal order for all US military peacekeepers. In May 2000 -- due to the success of the party's military arm -- one of its main aims was achieved. Israel's military was forced to end almost 20 years of occupation in southern Labanon. Hezbollah now serves as an inspiration to Palestinian factions fighting to liberate more territory. The party has embraced the Palestinian cause and has said publicly that it is ready to open a second front against Israel in support of the intifada.Hezbollah's political rhetoric's central theme is the total annihilation of the state of Israel. Its definition of Israeli occupation has also encompassed the idea that the whole of Palestine is occupied Muslim land and it has argued that Israel has no right to exist. Hezbollah's spiritual head Sheikh Fadlallah is close to Iranian government and is believed responsible for the vitriolic speeches of the Iranian president. Hezbollah is funded, armed and trained by the Iranians and given free reign by Syria's ruling Ba'athist Party. Its international network, according to terrorism analysts, is believed to include at least 15,000 operatives in cells in the US, Canada, Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, most of Western Europe, Indonesia, Malaysia, and throughout Africa. Western intelligence sources estimate Hezbollah's annual budget to be approximately $400 million, including almost $100 million annually from Iran. Other sources of funding include Syria, charitable organizations, individual donations, legitimate business, and illegitimate businesses such as illegal arms trading, cigarette smuggling, currency counterfeiting, credit card fraud, theft, operating illegal telephone exchanges, and drug trafficking. Recently two men were convicted of running a criminal operation that helped to fund Hezbollah.Hezbollah's growing international terrorist activity has raised concerns that the terrorist group may be emerging as a more serious threat than previously considered. Its global terrorist reach has serious policy implications for Democratic countries. However, there are international organizations that continue to insist that Hezbollah is a legitimate political party in Lebanon and that it does not warrant the designation of "terrorist group."
Sunday, July 16, 2006
The Useless United Nations Okays Sanctions On North Korea
North Korea said that it “totally rejects” a U.N. resolution imposing sanctions for its recent missile tests, and vowed to continue the launches to bolster its self-defense. North Korea's U.N. Ambassador Pak Gil Yon accused the U.N. Security Council of trying to isolate his country, known officially as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, or DPRK.“The delegation of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea resolutely condemns the attempt of some countries to misuse the Security Council for the despicable political aim to isolate and put pressure on the DPRK and totally rejects the resolution which was adopted at the current meeting of the Security Council,” he said. The Korean People's Army “will go on with missile launch exercises as part of its efforts to bolster deterrent for self-defense in the future, too,” he said.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Israel Gives Syria Ultimatum
The London-based Arabic language newspaper Al-Hayat reported that “Washington has information according to which Israel gave Damascus 72 hours to stop Hizbullah’s activity along the Lebanon-Israel border and bring about the release the two kidnapped IDF soldiers or it would launch an offensive with disastrous consequences.” The report said “a senior Pentagon source warned that should the Arab world and international community fail in the efforts to convince Syria to pressure Hizbullah into releasing the soldiers and halt the current escalation Israel may attack targets in the country.” Al-Hayat quoted the source as saying that “the US cannot rule out the possibility of an Israeli strike in Syria,” this despite the fact that the Bush administration has asked Israel to “refrain from any military activity that may result in civilian casualties.”The report also mentioned that President George W. Bush has repeatedly put much of the blame for the recent escalation on Syria. “It is no coincidence that the Hizbullah operation comes at a time when the international community is working to impose sanctions on Iran due to its nuclear program and settle the score with Syria by establishing an international court to try those behind the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri,” the Pentagon source said. According to the source, Hizbullah made the same mistake as Hamas when it did not predict the ramifications of its actions and ignored the regional and international changes since the fall of Saddam Hussein. The source said that Israel has indicated that it “will not end its military activity until a new situation is created that will prevent Syria and Iran from using terror organizations, such as Hamas and Hizbullah, to threaten its security.”
Venezuelan Governmant Halts Citgo Gas Shipments
Citgo Petroleum announced today it will stop distributing gasoline to nearly 1,800 independently owned stations in the US. The company, which is owned by the Venezuelan government, will stop selling gasoline in ten states by the end of March 2007. Currently, Citgo has to purchase 130,000 barrels of oil per day from outside sources to meet its service contracts. The company will now only sell to retailers the 750,000 barrels of oil it produces at its three US refineries.
Well, Do Tell...
Well do tell its hot over here on po me, the Sun God is angry.Now, about politics and the Middle East crisis. All Christians and those who profess to be a Christian should be watching what is going on in the Middle East conflict. The end of times, the end of days is at hand, see the book of Revelations and recall the War Of Armageddon (Har-Magedon) Rev:16:14-16, there is talk about the Bear, the Eagle,The Lion,The Dragon,and the Scarlet Whore,and those who take side with Israel will be destroyed at that great battle. Now, The Lion is England, The Bear is Russia,The Dragon is China,The Eagle is America, the scarlet whore is Rome and the catholic church, did I upset you,sorry 'bout that. I beg you to look at the symbolics names of those countries or their emblems or symbols. Look at where the war is being played out today, and just about thirty miles from the ancient city or plains of Megiddo in Israel where Egypt was defeated in Biblical times by the army of Israel. Now, don't think that I am right, I will not say that I am right, but I am trying to get you to think critically and to form your own ideas and opinions about these current events. I am saying to you do not let the world media make you think that those who are hell bent on destroying the world for some sick belief are right and just. If you look at the media spin with a blind eye and a closed mind you will come to believe that Israel is the bastard, they are occupies of Arab lands, well when I checked the Bible Israel have just as much right to the land as the Arabs,start with Genesis and come on down to the New Testament and Jesus, now you see that Israel is not a new kid on the block. The U.N said Israel's attacks against transportation infrastructure violate international law and is totally disproportionate, so did France,China and a few others. Now the March 11 2004 train bombing in Madrid,Spain by Muslim radicals killed over 200 people. The London train Bombing on July 12,2005 by Muslim radicals killed more than 100. The October 12,2002 bombing in Bali by Muslim radicals killed over 200, the Mumbai, India train bombing on July 11,2006, by Muslim radicals killed over 200. The theater shooting of over 100 innocent people watching a movie on March 11,2004 in Chechnya,Russia by Muslim radicals, the November 4,2005 riots, killing,looting, and burning of Paris,France by Muslim radicals,on August 7, 1998, the United States embassies in the East African capital cities of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya, were severely damaged in nearly simultaneous truck bomb attacks, by Muslim radicals, over 250 innocent people killed, the World Trade Center bombing on September 11, 2001 by Muslim radicals killed over 3000 innocent people, now tell me is Israel attack against Muslim radicals totally disproportionate. The Muslim radical came across the Gaza border,and the Lebanon border and killed several soldiers of Israel,and kidnapped three soldiers, and Israel did not say lets talk and negotiate and reach a compromise ,rather Israel attacked,and said there is no talking,,just whupping. More importantly, there are several attacks on the 11th of the month that should be taken into consideration, the World Trade Center, the Madrid train bombing, the bombing in India,the Chechnya shooting. There are dots to connect that show that they are all connected and it does not matter if Osama Bin Laden group or Hezbollah, or Hamas did it or not, they are all Muslims and share the same belief, if you are not a Muslim, you die, if you do not live in a cave or mud hut you die, if you do not bath and wash your clothes in a stream you die, if you do not use olive oil lamps to light your homes you die, if you do not use camel dung to heat your homes you die, if you do not ride a camel you die, if you do not cook your meals on a camp fire you die, if you watch MTV you die, if you watch ESPN you die, if you do not use a flush toilet and crap in a hole in the ground behind a bush and wipe with grass you die. Now, for Israel to step up and say enough is enough and lets roll with it,and start to waxing the boards of the terrorists,and taking it home to them, Israel is the devil incarnate, the bastard child and need to be spanked by the United Nation, I think not. I think every one should come on board and support Israel and give the people of Israel a hand for having heart, a hand for doing what the world should have done a long time ago, spank that butt and take it home to them, the terrotists .Now Israel is a coward, but who is hiding behind masks, staging weapons in school yards, hospitals, apartment buildings,caves, holes in the ground, and people places of business, and most of all in someone else country. Israel is right down front and in the open and is unmasked. Now last thing to show you how sick, depraved, and inter connected the Muslims are, check this out, one man in Lebanon, Fadi Haidar, 36, cleaning away broken glass at his appliance shop, which had an estimated $15,000 in damage from an Israeli bombing, said," Israel is our enemy and every Muslim must make a sacrifice. As time goes by, they will all realize that Sayyed Nasrallah, the leader and spokesman for Hezbollah is right and is working in the interest of Muslims all over the world". Is is in the interest of Muslims to kill innocent people all over the world?
Friday, July 14, 2006
Canada Backs Israeli Reprisals
Canada's conservative prime minister has backed Israeli reprisals in Lebanon against the Hizbullah terrorist structure. "I think Israel's response under the circumstances has been measured," Prime Minister Stephen Harper told reporters on his plane on the way to a summit meeting in Russia of the world's top industrialized nations.Canada and the United States are the only major countries who have openly supported Israel's actions in the Gaza area and in Lebanon. Britain abstained on a Security Council resolution condemning Israel for its incursion in Gaza. The United States vetoed the motion.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
New Egyptian Press Law Restricts Free Speech
The Egyptian government should take a close look at its new law imposing curbs on what journalists can write about in that country, said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack at a briefing July 11. “It is essential to have a free press as part of the political dialogue within a country that is wrestling with issues of political as well as economic reform,” McCormack said. The law, which the Egyptian parliament passed July 10, imposes fines on members of the press who criticize the government.A last-minute intervention by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak removed a provision on prison terms for criticizing the financial integrity of public figures, but journalists still can be jailed for stories defaming Egyptian officials and foreign heads of state.“We are strong supporters of freedom of the press, in Egypt as well as elsewhere,” McCormack said.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormackIn published reports, Joe Stork of Human Rights Watch, a nongovernmental organization, said, “Criticizing public officials should not be a criminal offense at all, much less one punishable by prison terms.” Twenty-five independent newspapers in Egypt went on strike July 9 to protest the proposed legislation. Several independent newspapers welcomed Mubarak’s intervention to change the legislation but vowed to continue fighting for additional changes that would eliminate the threat of prison sentences for journalists.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
United States Plan For Cuba Upon Fidel Castro's Death
President Bush is ready to flood Cuba with U.S. cash, food and medicine within days of Fidel Castro's death, hoping to end Communist rule on the island, a government report by the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba. President Bush pledged $80 million to anti-Castro groups over the next two years, followed by millions more in cash and aid once the Cuban leader is dead or incapacitated, the report said. It comes on top of $9 million the government spent on Cuba in 2005."We are offering support for the efforts of Cubans to prepare for the day when they will recover their sovereignty and can select a government of their choosing through free and fair multiparty elections," said Secretary of State Rice. The report outlines a media strategy and assistance program aimed at thwarting a Communist successor or followers of influential leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez from continuing the legacy of Castro, who turns 80 next month. "This critical 180-day period [after Castro's control ends] could mean the difference between a successful transition and the stumbles and missteps that slowed other states as they moved toward democracy," the report says.