UN: Situation in East Africa escalating

UN: Situation in East Africa escalating

Sun Jul 31, 2011 10:37PM GMT

A child from southern Somalia walks in rain water at a refugee camp in Mogadishu, Sunday, July 31, 2011.

The United Nations has warned that the drought and famine crises in East Africa are escalating, endangering the lives of “an entire generation.”

“More than 12 million people in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti are in urgent need of help. And the number is growing daily,” Valerie Amos, the UN emergency aid coordinator, was quoted by dpa as saying on Sunday.

In Somalia where tens of thousands of people have already died of hunger, hundreds of thousands face starvation in one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes in the world, Amos said.

Current fighting between Somali government forces and al-Shabab fighters has severely impeded the delivery of aid to people in areas under control of the anti-government group.

However, the UN official reiterated that they have “to reach the people, where they are, and that without delay.”

Amos added that their only aim is to save lives.

Al-Shabab group has said organizations, such as the World Food Program (WFP), that were previously banned by the group are not allowed to get back on the Somali soil. Fighters say these groups have “ulterior political motives.”

The WFP says it cannot reach 2.2 million Somalis who live in territory controlled by al-Shabab in south-central Somalia.

The UN has made a new appeal for another billion dollars on top of the same amount promised by the UN member states, Amos said. …


Obama's hollow claim of commitment to Israel's security

Obama’s hollow claim of commitment to Israel’s security



For a year, Obama prohibited any new US sanctions to stop Iran developing nuclear weapons Ð a looming existential threat to both Israel and the US.

Is President Barack Obama committed to Israel’s security? Reassuring bromides to that effect in his recent speeches are nullified by specific statements that spell out dangerous Israeli concessions and disregard for Israeli vital interests. Worse, the administration’s wider Middle East policies further denude those commitments of meaning.

Thus, when Obama said Israel must have secure, recognized borders “different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967,” many missed the point that this means little, when the new borders are to be “based on the 1967 lines, with mutually agreed swaps” and therefore be virtually indistinguishable from those lines. Indeed, with Palestinians unlikely to agree to any swaps, Obama gave the Palestinians a veto over any continued Israel presence beyond the pre-1967 lines.

Moreover, Obama’s unprecedented call for a Palestinian state to have “permanent Palestinian borders with… Jordan” would require Israel ceding the Jordan Valley, whose retention successive Israeli governments have regarded as vitalÐ another first for a US president.

Obama has also become the first US president to suggest that issues of “territory and security” be agreed upon first, before proceeding to negotiations on all other matters, including Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees and their millions of descendants.

Upholding Israel’s basic security would also mean repudiating the repatriation of the refugees and their descendants. Bush did so in his May 2004 letter; Obama has not. On the contrary, he has supported the so-called Saudi peace plan, which demands not only a return to the 1967 lines, but also the return of all refugees and their descendants.

In May, Obama reiterated that the US “will hold the Palestinians accountable for their actions and their rhetoric.”

But he never has Ð nor does he now.

When, in August 2009, Fatah held a conference in Bethlehem, reaffirming its refusal to accept Israel’s existence as a Jewish state, glorifying terrorists, insisting on the so-called ‘right of return,’ and rejecting an end of claims in any future peace agreement, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton astonishingly claimed that the conference showed “a broad consensus supporting negotiations with Israel and the two-state solution.”

When in 2010, the PA named a Ramallah square after terrorist …


Italy calls for emergency UNSC meeting on Syria

Italy calls for emergency UNSC meeting on Syria


08/01/2011 00:29

Italy called for an emergency UN Security Council meeting on Syria late Sunday night, saying that European envoys in Damascus should meet Monday after a bloody crackdown on anti-regime protesters in Hama earlier Sunday left at least 80 people dead, AFP reported.

“We request that the United Nations Security Council hold an urgent meeting and adopt a very firm position,” Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini was quoted as saying in an interview to public broadcaster RAI.

“We have asked for the ambassadors of European Union member states to meet in Damascus tomorrow,” Frattini said, adding, “There has been a horrible act of repression by the regime,” and claiming that over 100 people have died…..


Germany warns of Norway-style attacks

Germany warns of Norway-style attacks

Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:22PM GMT

A top German security official warns that the recent terror attacks in Norway could serve as a blueprint for other anti-Muslim militants across Europe.

“This could serve as a blueprint for copycats, from the point of view of a terrorist; Anders Breivik has meticulously and carefully considered how to avoid coming into the view of the security services. This … is an extreme concern for us right now,” Alexander Eisvogel, vice-president of Germany’s domestic anti-terrorist agency said in an interview with Der Spiegel magazine.

Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in bombing and gun attacks in Norway on July 22, has left a 1,500-page manifesto on the internet regarding how he had planned the bloodshed without attracting much police attention.

According to his manifesto, he wished to use the killings as an opportunity of “marketing” his extremist views.

Breivik has expressed strong anti-Islam views. He had previously declared having several discussions with the members of the English Defense League, which is a racist and anti-Muslim group based in Britain.

Last Thursday, the German police confiscated weapons and ammunition in a raid on suspected right wing extremists in Germany’s southern state of Baden Wuerttemberg.

Many analysts believe the West is so …




Magnitude 6.2


Sunday, July 31, 2011 at 14:34:50 UTC

Monday, August 01, 2011 at 01:34:50 AM at epicenter

Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones


16.998°S, 171.588°E


23.1 km (14.4 miles)




361 km (224 miles) ENE of PORT-VILA, Efate, Vanuatu

377 km (234 miles) NE of Isangel, Tanna, Vanuatu

503 km (312 miles) ESE of Luganville, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu

2224 km (1381 miles) N of Auckland, New Zealand

Location Uncertainty

horizontal +/- 14.8 km (9.2 miles); depth +/- 5.2 km (3.2 miles)


NST=384, Nph=390, Dmin=692.4 km, Rmss=0.8 sec, Gp= 32°,

M-type=”moment” magnitude from initial P wave (tsuboi method) (Mi/Mwp), Version=9


Magnitude: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)

Location: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)

Event ID



Syrian forces arrest top tribal leader, opposition says

Syrian forces arrest top tribal leader, opposition says


07/31/2011 17:19

AMMAN – Syrian forces have arrested Sheikh Nawaf al-Bashir, head of the main Baqqara tribe in rebellious Deir al-Zor province and a prominent figure in the campaign against President Bashar Assad, opposition sources told Reuters on Sunday.

Secret police agents arrested Bashir, who commands the loyalty of an estimated 1.2 million Baqqara, in Ein Qirsh district of Damascus on Saturday afternoon, they said.

Hours before his arrest Bashir told Reuters he was striving to stop armed resistance to a military assault on the provincial capital of Deir al-Zor and to convince inhabitants to stick to peaceful methods, despite killings by security forces….


'No negotiation on Israeli occupation'

‘No negotiation on Israeli occupation’

Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:58PM GMT

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat has rejected a call by Israel’s

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon to hold a public debate on Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.

“Ending the Israeli occupation is not a point [that] needs to [be] discuss[ed],” Erekat said on Sunday, Xinhua reported.

Ayalon had earlier in the month appeared on a video that circulated online claiming that the West Bank had never been occupied.

“Ayalon’s call doesn’t worth a response … the Palestinians want to build their state on the occupied lands within the pre-1967 borders,” he added.

The Palestinian Authority has frequently insisted that they will not return to talks with Israel unless the regime in Tel Aviv would stop the illegal settlement activities in the occupied West Bank.

Furthermore, the Palestinians will attempt to obtain recognition of a sovereign state when the UN General Assembly meets in September.

The UN membership requires a recommendation from the Security Council and approval by two-thirds of the General Assembly, or 128 countries.

Over 100 countries have so far endorsed the Palestinian 1988 declaration of independence, but the United States has threatened to veto a vote for the UN recognition of Palestinian statehood.

Ayalon has on several occasions warned the PA against seeking ….


Obama 'horrified' as Syrian forces kill at least 80 in Hama

Obama ‘horrified’ as Syrian forces kill at least 80 in Hama



US: Massacre in iconic city “demonstrates true character” of Assad regime; EU spokesman calls reports of violence “appalling”; state news agency says military entered Hama to purge armed groups.

Syrian tanks firing shells and machine guns stormed the city of Hama on Sunday, killing at least 80 civilians in a move to crush demonstrations against President Bashar Assad’s rule, rights activists and residents said.

Assad’s forces began their assault on the city, scene of a 1982 massacre, at dawn after besieging it for nearly a month. The state news agency said….


Global consequences of Japanese quake

Japan’s Congress Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs urges end of nuclear industry

TOKYO, July 31 (RIA Novosti)

A first International Congress of the Japan’s Congress Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs was first held in the city Fukushima, urging also an end to nuclear energy.

A 9.0-magnitude quake off Japan’s northeast coast on March 11 triggered a tsunami and explosions at the Fukushima nuclear power plant (NPP), which caused the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986. Radioactive elements were later found in the water, air and food products in some parts of Japan.

“We should shout ‘No more Fukushima,'” Koichi Kawano, who heads the congress, said. “We have tended to focus on abolition of nuclear weapons while being weak in our campaign against nuclear power plants,” he continued.

The Japanese authorities said earlier in July that it would take decades to decommission the crippled NPP, while environment experts reported higher concentration of radioactive elements in soil and produce from the region…..http://en.rian.ru/world/20110731/165484546.html