Well in accordance wid an idea given to me by miss mahima im posting newws in different sections now hope it will be helpful for u alll
my own basic personal objective is to keep u up to date wid the latest know how in the world thankuuu
US to review use of air power in Afghanistan, by Robert Gates
The US military will review its operations and use of air power in Afghanistan to try to reduce the risk posed to innocent civilians, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Thursday.
Gates said newly appointed military commanders in Afghanistan face the challenge of balancing the need to protect NATO-led forces through air strikes with the need to avoid civilian casualties.
Air power would still be required in cases when coalition troops needed help and were under attack but a revised approach might be possible when it comes to offensive operations, Gates told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
"And it really boils down to are we on defense or are we on offense? And on defense, I don't think we should make any changes.
"We need to protect our troops," Gates said, when asked whether an influx of more than 21,000 US troops might reduce the demand for air strikes.
"But if we're on offense, that's where I think we need to take a closer look at the operational concept and our planning and how we're going forward with this in a way to minimize the chance of innocent civilian casualties."
About 40 per cent of air missions are carried out to protect allies and not US troops in Afghanistan, said Gates, without elaborating.
The killing of civilians in anti-insurgent operations has become a growing source of friction between the Kabul government and the tens of thousands of foreign forces deployed here to help tackle the Taliban-led fighters. The Afghan government says 140 civilians, including 95 under the age of 18, were killed in recent US air strikes in the west. The US military says it is investigating the incident but only said that "a number" of civilians were killed.
Tensions over the issue peaked in August last year when civilians were killed in US air strikes in the western province of Herat.
Gates and military officers say the Taliban intentionally operates among civilians as part of its strategy to undermine public trust in the coalition forces. US officials worry that civilian casualties are undermining military and civilian efforts to bolster the Kabul government and handing a propaganda victory to insurgents.
Mitchell prepares to make landmark visit to Syria
US Middle East envoy George Mitchell and aides have applied for visas for a landmark visit to Syria, Al-Hurra television reported Friday, as the Obama administration steps up engagement with Damascus. "Senator Mitchell and his team sent their passports to us today for obtaining visas to visit Syria," Syrian Ambassador Imad Mustapha told the US-funded Al-Hurra TV.
"Mr. Mitchell did not visit Syria yet and we did not discuss with him yet the role that he thinks he wants to play for achieving peace," the ambassador said in Arabic.
President Barack Obama's administration has been cautiously pursuing diplomatic engagement with Syria, which has long had strained ties with Washington, in a bid to promote Arab-Israeli peace. Mitchell's expected trip raises US engagement a notch.
Jeffrey Feltman, the acting assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, and National Security Council Senior Director Daniel Shapiro visited Damascus earlier this month. It was their second visit to Damascus since Obama took office in January pledging to engage with all Middle Eastern countries, including Washington's foes such as Syria and Iran.
Ties between Washington and Damascus worsened sharply after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the assassination of Lebanese leader Rafiq Hariri in 2005 which was blamed on Syria.
Washington recalled its ambassador in February 2005 following Hariri's murder and no decision has yet been taken on his replacement. Damascus has denied any involvement in Hariri's killing, but withdrew its troops from Lebanon two months later, ending almost three decades of domination.
The United States accuses Syria and its non-Arab ally Iran of giving material support to the radical Palestinian movement Hamas and Lebanon's Hezbollah in their conflicts with Israel. It also charges that Syria has turned a blind eye to Islamist militants entering Iraq through its border.
Sudan accuses Chad of air raids
Sudan has accused its neighbour Chad of launching two bombing raids on its territory, describing the attacks as "an act of war".
The accusation on Friday comes a week after Chad said Sudan had sent armed groups across its border, raising fears of the collapse of a recent peace deal.
"They attacked. They bombed and there were casualties," Ali Youssef Ahmed, the head of protocol at Sudan's foreign ministry, said.
"This was an act of war from Chad. The Sudanese leadership and the Sudanese army are assessing the situation. Sudan has the right to defend its territory."
Ahmed declined to comment on whether Sudan planned to retaliate, saying: "We are considering all options."
Chad late on Friday hit back at Sudanese accusations saying Khartoum was "the robber who cries thief".
Mahamat Hissene, a government spokesman, told reporters that Chad "is surprised to learn that the regime in Khartoum is protesting against action by the Chadian air force on Sudanese territory.
Hissene said that any confrontations would be "simply the consequence of the attack on Chad organised by Sudan, using mercenaries armed, trained, financed and directed by satellite by the Khartoum regime".
Both countries have regularly accused each other of backing fighters bent on overthrowing their respective governments.
Ahmed said Sudan's foreign ministry had called in Chad's ambassador to demand an explanation for the two sorties and had informed the Khartoum-based ambassadors of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.
"Three warplanes have crossed the borders to an area south of El Geneina [the capital of Sudan's West Darfur] which is 60km inside Sudanese territory," Ahmed said earlier on Friday.
"It happened at 10.30am and 1.30pm ... It is a violation of our territorial sovereignty. Sudan is in a position to defend its territory," he said.
Chad accused Sudan of backing an armed incursion into its territory last week, after the two countries had signed a pact in Doha, Qatar, in which they had agreed to normalise relations and reject any support for rebel groups hostile to either of them.
Chad said it had stopped the advance, after clashes that killed 125 fighters.
Sudan denied involvement in the raid, saying it was a confrontation between Chad's government and "opposition groups".
Chad and Sudan resumed shaky diplomatic ties in November after cutting them in May 2008.
Sudan has accused Idriss Deby, the president of Chad, of being involved in an attack on the Sudanese capital by Darfur rebels on May 11, 2008.
Britain rocked by parliamentary expenses scandal
Britain has seen its share of sex and sleaze scandals over the years, but few have tarnished all three of the country's main political parties in a single stroke.
Leaked lawmaker expenses for chandeliers, pornography, moat upkeep on country estates and other claims have enraged voters - many of whom have lost jobs and homes during Britain's deepening recession.
Talk show lines buzzed Friday with irate callers. Web sites flashed reader comments comparing politicians to greedy bankers. And commuters clenched newspapers with such headlines as: "Parliament's Darkest Day" and "House of Ill Repute." Many politicians were being heckled during events that had been scheduled long before the leak.
"It's not just one or two rotten apples, it's the whole lot," said Randy Wallace, 41, an unemployed London electrician. "Our Parliament used to be the envy of the world. Now, it's a laughing stock."
Thousands of pages of expense claims were leaked to the Daily Telegraph more than a week ago. Although around 80 of the 646 House of Commons lawmakers have been named so far, the newspaper says it will continue to roll out details as it plows through the rest of the documents. The Labour Party, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have all been damaged by the data.
A poll released Friday showed that 65 percent of the population want early elections because of the expense scandal, while 64 percent want some lawmakers to resign. Commissioned by the BBC, the London-based polling company ComRes conducted the telephone poll of 1,011 voters Wednesday and Thursday. There was a margin of error of 3 percentage points.
Labour lawmaker Shahid Malik stepped down as justice minister early Friday after data showed that he claimed more than 65,000 pounds ($98,000) in housing costs over three years despite having discounted rent.
Brown's aide on climate change, Elliot Morley, was also suspended after he billed taxpayers' 16,000 pounds ($24,000) for mortgage interest payments on a loan that had already been paid off. Morley says he's now paid the money back.
The latest revelation came late Friday with another Labour lawmaker claiming thousands of pounds (dollars) of taxpayer money for interest on a non-existent mortgage. David Chaytor said he would pay back 13,000 pounds ($18,000) after continuing to submit bills on his paid mortgage.
Troops on border with Pakistan need to be reduced, US Senators
Hoping for policy changes from a new Indian government following the just-concluded elections, top US senators on Foreign Relations Committee have underscored the need for New Delhi and Islamabad to reduce troops on the Kashmir border to allow Pakistan to fight militants on its Afghan border more effectively.
“Once the elections in India are over and completed, I believe the dynamics will shift so that there can be some redeployment on both sides. That will help the Pakistanis to begin to deal with this (extremist threat) themselves,” Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the panel, said.
The seasoned lawmaker, who has introduced a bill to expand US assistance for Pakistan to $ 1.5 billion annually for five years as a way to strengthen the democratic government, was arguing against American footprint on the Pakistani soil in an interview with National Public Radio Friday. Instead, he called for empowering Pakistan to take actions itself against the Taliban and al-Qaeda militants operating on its Western border, adding that redeployment of troops by both India and Pakistan from their border and Kashmir will facilitate Islamabad’s greater focus on the Afghan border.
“No. American footprint on the ground is counterproductive. It’s not the way to proceed. We have to empower the Pakistanis,” Kerry said when asked about America being able to use fire power to take out militants on the Pakistani side of the Afghan border. “They have a very good army, they have a strong army. Their army, however, is fundamentally trained to fight India. And too many of them are deployed on the Indian border, and Kashmir border. You have to change that,” the Massachusetts senator continued in the context of reciprocal moves by both New Delhi and Islamabad.
Senator Richard Lugar, the Ranking Republican on the Committee, shared the view on border troop reduction and felt there could be lesser use of American firepower to take out militants. “I agree. And I think we are headed in the direction of reducing that footprint,” he stated in the joint interview. The two senators last week introduced the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009, a bipartisan bill that authorizes - 7.5 billion in direct support to the Pakistani people every year over the next five years and recommends to extend to another five years. Lugar disagreed with the proposition of having a greater American footprint on the Pakistani soil.
“This is one reason why we are in training exercise with the Pakistanis.”
On reports of US sharing some drone strategy with Pakistan, Lugar said, “they (the Pakistanis) are fully capable of comprehending that.”
Senator Kerry underlined that the US goal should be to empower the civilian Pakistani government itself to build a relationship with its own people.
“The new strategy (to aid Pakistan) is the best available under some very difficult choices… What is the option? The option if you decide not to do anything is to just turn it over to the Taliban, to abandon the government,” Kerry said rhetorically to opponents of the idea of robustly aiding Pakistan.
Continuing, he added, “It’s just an unbelievably damaging message to huge parts of the world, so our struggle here is to help a fledgling democracy be able to try to develop.”
Both lawmakers felt it is crucial that the United States acts to continue to strengthen its relationship with Pakistan. They also said they want clarity where the money – intended to go to education, health and development sectors - under the bill is spent.
166131 IDPs(Internally Displaced Persons) registered during last 24 hours
The influx of Internally Displaced People from Malakand Division, Buner, Dir and Swat districts continued as 166131 IDPs were registered during last 24 hours in various relief camps, said NWFP Minister for Information Mian Ifitkhar Hussain on Friday. “During last 24 hours, a total of 166131 displaced persons have been registered in and outside of the camps that increased the total number of IDPs to 17,16,026 including 1181541 migrated from Swat, Buner, Dir and Malakand Agency,” Mian Iftikhar told a press conference here.
He said that around 1,00,000 people were trapped in Mingora while about two to three lakhs displaced people were still waiting to out from other parts of militancy-hit Swat valley.
In addition of sending 135 busses, Mian Iftikhar said that 115 trucks were sent to the conflict areas to takeout the trapped people from the conflict zones.
Up till now, 162632 registered displaced persons belonged to Swat, Buner, Dir and Malakand Agency were living in camps while the strengthen of the out of camps rose to 1018909 while the newly registered in and out of camps mounted to 1181541, he said. Mian Iftikhar said that the number of registration points has been increased from 38 to 75 in Mardan, Swabi, Charsadda, Kohat, Nowshera, Kohat and Peshawar while two mobile registration teams have been constituted to provide quick relief to their needy brethrens. The strength of the camps have been increased from 22 to 25 while work on establishment of five more camps is underway, he said.
In addition to providing free electricity to these IDPs camps, the NWFP government spokesman said that 4000 mattresses, 4000 plastic sheets and 3500 kitchen sets have been provided while NOC has been issued to ORA NGOs for installation of 60 tandors for facilitation of IDPs in camps.
Mian Iftikhar Hussain said that provincial ministers and MPAs have been directed to visits IDPs camps from time to time to appraise themselves regarding problems of the affected population.
Special directives have been issued to the concerned DCOs of the affected districts and Director Foods to provide meals and water facilities to the trapped people. To a question, he said that government schools in plain areas will remain close from May 16 to August 31 due to summer vacations.
Military Conflict vs. Propaganda War?
The Sri Lankan government, which has come under heavy fire for the massive humanitarian crisis in the country's war zone, is winning the 25-year-old military conflict but is on the verge of losing the propaganda war overseas. "It is a very stressful time here," says Sri Lanka's Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona, a former chief of the U.N. Treaty Section.
Although the military has scored unbelievable gains, he said, the last ditch effort by the rebel group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), is painful. In an interview with IPS, Kohona said: "The LTTE is trying to save its neck by surrounding itself with reluctant civilians – 'lambs to the slaughter' - and throwing Kalashnikov-armed children and old people against the army."
"People are getting killed. But not in the numbers highlighted by the LTTE propaganda machine," he added. During the past few weeks, LTTE supporters overseas have organised huge demonstrations in Western Europe, Canada and the United States accusing the government of war crimes. Human rights groups have strongly criticised both sides, and urged the government to permit access to U.N. humanitarian teams trying to reach the besieged civilians.
Walter Kalin, the U.N. representative for the Human Rights of Displaced Persons, said Friday that at least 50,000 people are still trapped in the conflict zone and they are "exposed to great danger and without access to sufficient humanitarian access." They are caught in the crossfire between the Sri Lankan military forces and the LTTE, which is using them as human shields.
"The separatist LTTE is preventing civilians from leaving the area and placing military installations close to them, while the government has been using heavy weapons such as mortars in the conflict zone in recent days," Kalin said.
Asked whether Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon plans to respond to the Sri Lankan invitation to visit the war zone, U.N. deputy spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters: "The secretary-general is seriously concerned about the well-being of the people on the ground, and he is seriously considering such an invitation, if it's going to save lives on the ground."
Meanwhile, the secretary-general has sent his Chief of Staff Vijay Nambiar to Sri Lanka - the second time in less than four weeks - to assess the ground situation and report back. After a closed door meeting of the Security Council Wednesday, the Council president, Ambassador Vitaly Churkin of Russia, issued a press statement, approved by all 15 members, expressing "grave concern over the worsening humanitarian crisis in north-east Sri Lanka."
The members "strongly condemned" the LTTE for its acts of terrorism over many years and for its continued use of civilians as human shields. While acknowledging the legitimate right of the government of Sri Lanka to combat terrorism, the statement expressed "deep concern" at reports of continued use of heavy calibre weapons by government forces.
Asked about the negative reports coming out of the war zone, Kohona told: "I am surprised that the international media and certain national leaders, who do not seem to share the agony of Baghdad and the Swat Valley, have swallowed the LTTE propaganda hook line and sinker." "I have been assured from the highest levels that the Sri Lankan army does not use heavy weapons and aerial bombs," he said. He also said the government has "intercepted LTTE messages to the Tamil diaspora asking it to keep up the propaganda blitz because liberal minded Western countries will be forced to intervene".
Unfortunately, he said, "the diaspora which has invested much in the Eelam illusion (of a separate state for the minority Tamils in Sri Lanka) will maintain the rage until the end, and the hostages will be forced to pay the price with their lives - just as other people's children were recruited to die in mosquito-infested jungles while the diaspora wrote out cheques every month to salvage its conscience and placate the ghosts of 1983 (the year of ethnic riots in Sri Lanka)."
Asked about the proposal for a safe passage to the LTTE leadership in order to save civilian lives, Kohona said: "A suggestion has been made that the families of the leadership will be given safe passage, if they surrender."
Responding to widespread criticism that humanitarian organisations and the international media are being shut out of the war zone, the government has relented. According to Kohona, about 52 international organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are operating in the camps housing internally displaced persons (IDPs).
"I have been to the camps and hospitals three times," he said, pointing out that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) are present at Omanthai, the screening centre, when IDPs arrive in government controlled areas.
"The ICRC takes food and medicines to the LTTE enclave every three days. We actually feed the cadres who are fighting us," he said. Asked about access to the media, he said that so far, 114 media groups have been given access to the camps and the front line.
Singh to resign on May 17
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is most likely to resign on Monday after the Lok Sabha (House of People) results are declared on Saturday. But until a new government assumes office, he will be asked to continue as caretaker premier by President Pratibha Patil.
The prime minister's office announced on Friday that Singh has called for a Union Cabinet meeting on Monday at 10 a.m. to consider the one-point agenda of tendering resignation of his council of ministers to the president.
He is expected to call on the president the same day to tender the resignation of his council of ministers. As per normal procedure, the outgoing government steps down after the announcement of the poll verdict even if the same alliance gets a majority. He is also likely to address the nation when he is expected to highlight the government's achievements in the last five years and list the tasks ahead for the new government.
McChrystal was Cheney's chief assassin
Seymour Hersh says that Dick Cheney headed a secret assassination wing and the head of wing has just been named as the new commander in Afghanistan.
In an interview with GulfNews on May 12, 2009 Pulitzer prize-winning American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh said that there is a special unit called the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) that does high-value targeting of men that are known to be involved in anti-American activities, or are believed to be planning such activities.
According to Hersh the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) was headed by former US vice president Dick Cheney and the former head of JSOC, Lieutenant General Stanley McChrystal has just been named the new commander in charge of the war in Afghanistan.
McChrystal, a West Pointer who became a Green Beret not long after graduation, following a stint as a platoon leader in the 82nd Airborne Division, is currently director of Staff at the Pentagon, the executive the Joint staff to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Most of what General McChrystal has done over a 33-year career remains classified, including service between 2003 and 2008 as commander of the Joint Special Operations Command , an elite unit so clandestine that the Pentagon for years refused to acknowledge its existence.
On July 22 2006, Human Rights Watch issued a report titled “No blood, no foul ” about American torture practices at three facilities in Iraq. One of them was Camp Nama, which was operated by the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), under the direction of then Major General Stanley McChrystal. McChrystal was officially based at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, but he was a frequent visitor to Camp Nama and other Special Forces bases in Iraq and Afghanistan where forces under his command were based.
An interrogator at Camp Nama known as Jeff described locking prisoners in shipping containers for 24 hours at a time in extreme heat; exposing them to extreme cold with periodic soaking in cold water; bombardment with bright lights and loud music; sleep deprivation; and severe beatings. When he and other interrogators went to the colonel in charge and expressed concern that this kind of treatment was not legal, and that they might be investigated by the military's Criminal Investigation Division or the International Committee of the Red Cross, the colonel told them he had “this directly from General McChrystal and the Pentagon that there's no way that the Red Cross could get in.” In the July 2 2006 report, When Human Rights Watch asked whether the interrogator knew whether the colonel was receiving orders or pressures to use the abusive tactics, Jeff said that his understanding was that there was some form of pressure to use aggressive techniques coming from higher up the chain of command; however neither he nor other interrogators were briefed on the particular source.
"We really didn't know too much about it. We knew that we were only like a few steps away in the chain of command from the Pentagon, but it was a little unclear, especially to the interrogators who weren't really part of that task force."
The interrogator said that he did see Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of U.S. Joint Special Operations forces in Iraq, visiting the Nama facility on several occasions. "I saw him a couple of times. I know what he looks like."
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is the international body charged under international law with monitoring compliance with the Geneva Conventions, and it, therefore, has the right to inspect all facilities where people are detained in a country that is at war or under military occupation.
To hide prisoners or facilities from the ICRC or to deny access to them is a serious war crime. But many U.S. prisons in Iraq have held “ghost” prisoners whose imprisonment has not been reported to the ICRC, and these “ghosts” have usually been precisely the ones subjected to the worst torture. Camp Nama, run by McChrystal's JSOC, was an entire “ghost” facility.
The decision by Obama's administration to appoint General McChrystal as the new commander in charge of the war in Afghanistan and retaining the military commission for US war-on-terror detainees held in the Guantanamo Bay prison are the latest example of new us administration walking in Bush's foot steps with regards to torture and denial of habeas corpus.
Flu could reschedule Meccan Hajj
As if the wild-fire spread of swine flu had not caused enough misery, now it is making itself known in that most swine-free of places - Mecca, the destination for millions of Muslims from across the world.
For, no less than the persons of Egypt's Grand Mufti Sheikh Ali Jumua, and the Grand Imam of the country's al-Azhar Mosque, Muhammad Tantawi, have opined that Muslims might have to be called upon to postpone their annual Hajj pilgrimage due to the danger of the epidemic. The al-Azhar Mosque is the prime source of religious edicts among Sunni Muslims.
Speaking on the BBC's Arabic-language radio on Friday, Dr Ibrahim Negm, an advisor to the Grand Mufti, said that he (the Mufti) believed that a fatwa or religious edict might be called for to describe to Muslims how to postpone the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
Dr. Negm said that, if the World Health Organization (WHO) raised its pandemic alert from five to the maximum six, then Muslim scholars should meet to consider calling for a possible postponement of the pilgrimage.
Every Muslim is required to carry out the pilgrimage at least once in his or her life, subject to certain preconditions, and this year, the annual pilgrimage is set to start in November.
In addition to the main or tamattu' Hajj pilgrimage in the twelfth month of the Muslim lunar calendar, millions of Muslims visit Mecca in Saudi Arabia during other times of the year, in what is known as the 'lesser', or umra Hajj.
Separately, the Mufti of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Abdel Aziz Haddad, has called on Muslims to delay any pilgrimage to Mecca for the next two or three weeks because of the outbreak. He also recommended that Muslims pray in the open air to avoid contracting, or spreading, the swine flu.
So far, there have been no reported cases of the flu in the Persian Gulf littoral states, which include Saudi Arabia, but there is a growing concern among the Muslim clerical and medical bodies that the gathering of millions of Muslims from around the globe could provide the ideal venue for the transmission of the virus.
According to WHO, there are 7,500 confirmed cases of the disease in 34 countries, 1,000 of which were reported in the past 24 hours. At least 65 cases of fatalities have been reported, mainly in Mexico, where the outbreak first started.
ok guys and gals thats alll for today
im extremely tired after the 7 hour job i have to do this also......
i'll last make a post of swine flus update...ok
View more random threads:
- Only Survivor
- Really a shame for Indian news channels
- Picosecond Oscilloscope
- White House protest accuses Sri Lanka of...
- Shareef speaks to Gates..................
- Sri Lanka Stocks Near Record
- What else was paraded in Paris?
- The predictions about U.S.A
- Why Healthcare is so Expensive in USA
- Breaking: PTA to lift Ban on YouTube Today