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Archive for the ‘UE’ Category

There has been 600 people killed or dissapeared in North Korea as a result of the floods. There are also thousands of hurt people.

Iraq’s PM Maliki vs. H. Clinton:

Hillary Clinton and Carl Levin are democrats but they don’t respect democracy. They speak about Iraq as if it were their property”, Malike said in a press conference. He added that both senators “have never lived controversies like the ones we are knowing in Iraq. When they speak, they don’t know what reconciliation means”.

Maliki reacted like that to some statements made by Carl Levin and Hillary Clinton -favourite of his party to the 2008’s presidential career in USA- who asked the Iraqi MPs to choose another person to leader a national unity government, after the extinction of the Iraqi coalition government.

He also critisized Bernard Kouchner, French FM, who visited Iraq some days ago, and whose visit was considered a success at first.

Bernard Kouchner had also advised him to resign. But he has said France is ready to make an apology about this:

Last week Mr Kouchner said the Iraqi government was “not functioning” and was quoted saying he had told the US that there was strong support in Iraq for Mr Maliki to resign and he “has got to be replaced“. 😯

In an interview with RTL radio on Monday, Mr Kouchner said: “I think that he [Mr Maliki] misunderstood, or that I was not clear enough that I was referring to comments I heard from Iraqis I talked to.” [Do you really think he was misunderstood???].

“If the prime minister wants me to apologise for having interfered so directly in Iraqi affairs, I’ll do it willingly,” he said.

Mr Kouchner visited Baghdad last week to promote France’s role in efforts to solve the Iraq crisis and mend relations with Washington damaged by France’s opposition to the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.

So what do Iraqis think about the intervention? h/t Desde el Exilio.

America should finish what it started.

Spanish National Library’s President, old Rosa Regás, is now a fan of Chávez -well, err, not now, this is something which we have known in Spain for so long-:

Her article is compulsory. Her analysis is a panegyric to Chávez, with numbers very far from reality, which nowadays does not belong to the Venezuelan people as it never happened in the last 50 years, sunk in the most cruel misery, where a citizen dies each half an hour killed by gangs, with a record of being one of the most corrupt places in the world, no.170 these days, according to the Corruption Perception’s index. An expert regime in manouvring to sell lies, while at the same time it’s proclaiming himself the poors’ saviour.

[…] When Rosa Regás tells us “Why against Chávez?” with the conviction that she does it, with a bad tempered arrogance, it looks like, with Zapatero, the Spain of democracy and progress is menaced. I’m convinced that she does not wish this country to be reflected in Venezuela’s mirror.

I should say that depends on who was going to exert power… I really believe some of them, at least, think, that just as Franco was 40 years in power, they have a right (non-written one) to be another 40 years, whatever the means for that. I’m not saying even that all Socialists think that, not even that the majority of them think it, but some of them do -of course, they never say that publicly…-.

At the same moment, two world maps of 1482 have been stolen from the institution she is in charge. 😡 And she has presented her dimission because she “does not feel the new Minister of Culture, César Antonio Molina, trusts her“. 😈 These are good news, indeed…

In Egypt the dictatorship creeps each day to a more frightening stand h/t Desde El Exilio:

On Aug. 8, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights reported that it had confirmed more than 500 cases of police abuse since 1993, including 167 deaths — three of which took place this year — that the group “strongly suspects were the result of torture and mistreatment.” The organization previously found that while Egypt‘s population nearly doubled during the first 25 years of Hosni Mubarak‘s regime, the number of prisons grew more than fourfold and that the number of detainees held for more than one year without charge or indictment grew to more than 20,000.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have corroborated chilling accounts of torture in Egyptian prisons. The independent daily Eldestour recently published two important facts: that the annual budget for internal security was $1.5 billion in 2006, more than the entire national budget for health care, and that the security police forces comprise 1.4 million officers, nearly four times the size of the Egyptian army. “Egypt has become a police state par excellence,” the paper’s editor noted.

For the people who uses bloglines, there is a new beta version for you to try.

More about Iranian Government’s savages, go and see the photos that Stephania has posted.

Al Fatah uses now the Lion King to attack Hamas. And Disney still says nothing about this.

The new cause of anger in Aghanistan: a ball with the Saudi flag. You know, the one with the Islamic declaration of faith?

A demonstration has been held in south- east Afghanistan accusing US troops of insulting Islam after they distributed footballs bearing the name of Allah.

The balls showed the Saudi Arabian flag which features the Koranic declaration of faith.

The US military said the idea had been to give something for Afghan children to enjoy and they did not realise it would cause offence.

Last news from Venezuela: now Chávez wants to move the country’s time zone to “offer a more equitable distribution of sunlight“. The socialism of XXIth century also distributes the sunlight in a more equitable way… This sounds like the Galizian Nationalist Party asking to change the time zone of Galizia as if Spain was the USA and had huge need of several time zones… 😈

A very interesting post: On “racial” profiling:

Islamism, Islamist militancy, and Islamist militant terrorism are very adept at converting people to Islam and to Islamist terrorism. And so not only do we need to worry about the usual suspects, so to speak, but also those who have been converted. Our obliviousness to this is exploited by Islamist terrorists, as can be seen by a number of the people involved in the plot by Britons to attack American and British trans-Atlantic flights from London. One was even a white (that is, British) pregnant woman, someone who would not register on anyone’s counter-terrorism radar.

[…] My suggestion is that while focusing on the usual suspected ethnicities or people of suspected ethnic origins (Arab, especially Saudi, and South Asian, especially Pakistani), we need to watch for suspicious behavior by any and all people. Besides, Islamist terrorism is not the only threat: some people are simply deranged and up to no good. We should, thus, be able to stop not only Islamist terrorist attacks but also attempts by anyone, for any reason, to conduct lethal attacks of any sort. And, who knows, maybe by cracking down on people who show an inordinate interest in information and data regarding our infrastructure, we might be able to help counterintelligence efforts as well. Preventing Iran, Russia, China, or any of the host of our enemies from getting intelligence will help The Republic.

Well, in my case, I do not think this is a problem of ethnicity nor do I consider this an ethnic problem. It’s an IDEOLOGICAL one: it’s based on an ideology that wants to rule the world, using a religion. I’m not going to discuss now if this is the religion in itself or it’s being used, but clearly not all Muslims are terrorists or want to rule the world. The problem, as I have said before, is that if the extremers are supported -as it’s happening in most of the West-, the people who are not, do not feel supported at all, in the end, that’s going to cause a surge in support for extremism in both sides.

And when I say Westerners are supporting several madnesses/extremisms, it’s because it’s true:

Academia’s fixation on cultural sensitivity is changing the debate around female genital mutilation, with a growing number of professors and women’s rights activists becoming hesitant to condemn the practice.

Where feminists rallied against the operation from the pages of Ms. magazine in the 1970s, today’s critics are infinitely more cautious, with most suggesting that the Western world butt out until Muslim African communities are ready to reconsider what they are doing to their daughters.

The shift in attitudes about the practice– which in the worst of cases involves the carving out of a woman’s clitoris and inner labia and can cause lifelong urinary tract infections, sterility and even death — comes at a time when high-profile victims of the operation such as writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali and model Waris Dirie, both Somalis, have launched very public campaigns against the practice.

To know more about this practice, click here. It’s a shame someone cannot or doesn’t comdemn that practice.

A reward is offered in Greece to capture the culprits of the fires which were provoked and which had already killed at least 60 people.

Fire in the countryside and smoke surrounding Athens.

Statue of Victory at Olympia surrounded by smoke.

Map of the fires.

More about the Greek fires by Paolo. Impressive the NASA’s satellite image of the fire he has posted. Last news are that there are two possibilities: the first being it was caused by organised criminality, the second being it was international terrorism to influence in Greek elections, in which the center-right’s margin has been slightly reduced these last weeks. So a prosecutor on Monday ordered an investigation into whether arson attacks could come under Greece’s anti-terrorism and organized crime laws. (CNN).

An update about the fires: From Infidels are Cool, I reach this post from a Greek blogger:

There were at least a couple of instances where the ones trapped called the TV and radio stations, got on the air, said their final goodbyes to their families, and then were burned alive. While the stations were doing their best to send aid, the fact that the emergency reponses are streched so thin made rescue efforts near impossible.

My grandmother’s village was completely burned down. It was one of the worse hit and there is nothing that remains. The local authorities say that it’s completely erased off the map.

[…] There is a video of two men setting one of the fires. That is now fishy since we now know that the fires were started remotely via cell phone bombs.

More here by Pastorius.

How affects Jewish self-criticism to the actual view of International affairs:

I have dealt with the problem of hyper-Jewish self-criticism repeatedly in the past, including issues concerning the Alvin Rosenfeld Controversy. Among other things, I emphasized the role of a kind of “prophetic” criticism that uses high rhetorical excess to “whip” the Jews/Israelis into the right path. When combined with a desire to “please” fellow, non-Jewish progressives by showing how “non-tribal” one is, this produces a lethal combination, documented by Rosenfeld, that makes some Jews willing to confess to anything (racism, apartheid, Nazism, the illegitimacy of the State). They do this not only to urge their fellow Jews to mend their ways, but also to pursue a kind of “therapeutic” dialogue where, if they are sufficiently magnanimous in accepting blame, then maybe their enemies, say, the Palestinians, might also respond by being a bit more self-critical.

Hmm, yes, I understand this very well. And I mean it. Well, the result is just the opposite: whatever the Israelis do in this direction, is not going to grant them anything but even more problems.

Read it all: another great post from Richard Landes.

Private clinics are profiting from abortions in Spain:

In response to the refusal by gynecologists of the public health care system of Andalusia to perform abortions, a considerable number of women are being sent to private clinics that have agreed to collaborate with the Council for Health Care.

I wrote some months ago about a platform whose objective is to send Aznar to the International Criminal Court because of “his support to the illegal Iraqi war”. Another platform, called “Aznar for ICC” is preparing a “hot autumn“, as United Left’s MP from Andalucia’s Autonomous Community Antonio Romero has said. He added:

Neither Aznar, nor Bush nor Tony Blair can go away without punishment after causing an illegal and immoral war, which has produced the death to 700.000 Iraqis, the majority of which were civil, more than 2 million of people in exile, the complete destruction of the country’s infraestructures, of its historical and cultural heritage and the absolute looting of its natural resources, specially, of oil”.

For you to consider the personality of this man: he was condemned some years ago, because in a strike, he beat, insulted and menaced an old man, owner of a little cafeteria, and one of the clients because he did not want to go on strike. He shouted at both: “fascist, son of a bitch, asshole”, after yelling at them “you’re going to shut whether you like it or not, or you’re going to shut por cojones“. You know, a peaceful, respectful and calm guy… But the best is what he said: “I only wanted to defend their rights -whether they liked it or not-, telling him how marvellous it was to close all the shops for Andalucia’s rights“.

Gül has been elected Turkish President. Oh, my!!! 😦 He was elected in the third round as was predicted some weeks ago. The Turkish military has spoken: Secularism is under attack:

“Nefarious plans to ruin Turkey’s secular and democratic nature emerge in different forms everyday,” Buyukanit said in his statement. “The military will, just as it has so far, keep its determination to guard social, democratic and secular Turkey.”

Russian man detained in Afghanistan carrying 500 kilos of explosives and, in a rapture of manliness, wearing a burqa. His two other companions were also wearing a women’s clothes. If they like so much being a woman, why they do not change their sex? Yes, I think that, for these chavinist male … individuals, that would be a good punishment. Imagine Bin Laden … 😈 There was a joke here some years ago: the worst fate for Bin Laden would be to catch him -US SEALs could be employed for that-, transport him to a clinic, change his sex and then set him loose in Saudi Arabia. Je. With an inside camera to see his reaction: “Hey, I’m Bin Laden”.

Gordon Brown will not allow a referendum about the EU Constitution, after he promised to do so. He faces 120 Labour MPs who have rebeled against him, although David considers that Brown will not allow it, “as he knows he can lose it“.

Read also this post by Angel: A planned Ar-abic-themed public school in Brooklyn has prompted polarized reactions. Critics warned Monday that students could be “indoctrinated” with radical Is-lamic beliefs and supporters called such statements “racist”.

Some weeks ago I discovered a very good blog called Modestly Yours, entirely written by women (where I discovered a book I would like to read…, when I have finished reading all I have to read now, but the title is promising: “Girls gone Mild. Young Women Reclaim Self-Respect and Find that it’s not Bad to be Good“). Well, just read about the “Sexy Crazy Cancer” movie:

The film itself actually looks quite interesting. As described on her website, the idea for the documentary came about in 2003 after the “31-year-old actress/photographer…was diagnosed with a rare and incurable cancer. Weeks later she began filming her story. Taking a seemingly tragic situation and turning it into a creative expression, Kris shares her inspirational story of survival with courage, strength, and lots of humor.”

As the author says, I don’t know how the sexy thing fits in there.

There is another very good blog post called: “The War on Vulgarity“. Thank God, someone is saying this loudly. Looks like it’s better to be vulgar and really there is no need. There are people who consider that to be manly (I must be tough), to speak out better the truth (that is, to be more sincere) or just because it sounds much more direct. For me, that is only foul language… 😈

Lastly, after the scandal surrounding Sarkozy about his lack of fitness, look at this cartoon. 😆

Looks like Sarkozy is menacing Iran: Either Iran suspends the uranium enrichment or will be bombed! Well, this is unexpected… Will be continued!

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I wrote some days ago about the possibility of Hamas imposing Sharia Law and how it was feared both by Israelis and Palestinians. Well, it is happening just now:

WorldNetDaily: Christians warned: Accept Islamic law

Christians can continue living safely in the Gaza Strip only if they accept Islamic law, including a ban on alcohol and on women roaming publicly without proper head coverings, an Islamist militant leader in Gaza told WND in an exclusive interview.

The militant leader said Christians in Gaza who engage in “missionary activity” will be “dealt with harshly.”

The threats come two days after a church and Christian school in Gaza was attacked following the seizure of power in the territory by the Hamas terror group.

“I expect our Christian neighbors to understand the new Hamas rule means real changes. They must be ready for Islamic rule if they want to live in peace in Gaza,” said Sheik Abu Saqer, leader of Jihadia Salafiya, an Islamic outreach movement that recently announced the opening of a “military wing” to enforce Muslim law in Gaza.

Jihadia Salafiya is suspected of attacking a United Nations school in Gaza last month, after the school allowed boys and girls to participate in the same sporting event. One person was killed in that attack.

“The situation has now changed 180 degrees in Gaza,” said Abu Saqer, speaking from Gaza yesterday.

“Jihadia Salafiya and other Islamic movements will ensure Christian schools and institutions show publicly what they are teaching to be sure they are not carrying out missionary activity. No more alcohol on the streets. All women, including non-Muslims, need to understand they must be covered at all times while in public,” Abu Asqer told WND.

“Also the activities of Internet cafes, pool halls and bars must be stopped,” he said. “If it goes on, we’ll attack these things very harshly.”

Abu Saqer accused the leadership of the Gaza Christian community of “proselytizing and trying to convert Muslims with funding from American evangelicals.”

Read all…

Anyway, West offers cash and talks to keep Abbas in charge as partner for peace-News-World-Middle East-TimesOnline

America and the European Union moved swiftly to shore up Palestinian moderates yesterday, releasing millions of dollars for the new Government based in the West Bank.

Washington and Brussels announced the lifting of economic sanctions after Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, sacked all members of Hamas, the militant Islamic group, which staged last week’s bloody takeover of the Gaza Strip. In a telephone call yesterday President Bush told Mr Abbas that the US would support “Palestinian moderates”.

Later Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, reaffirmed America’s commitment to the “two-state solution” for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, first promised by Mr Bush five years ago. Palestinians faced a choice, she said, between pursuing more violence or peace and a better life.

The US has recognised Mr Abbas and his new Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, as the legitimate leaders of the West Bank and Gaza. Dr Rice promised yesterday that this meant the US would resume normal “government-to-government contacts”.

And from Infidel Bloggers Alliance: Stupid request of the day:

B’Tselem demands that perpetrators of war crimes in Gaza be tried and warns against revenge attacks in the West Bank
The Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem today calls on the Palestinian leadership of Hamas in the Gaza Strip to investigate all war crimes that may have been committed during the clashes in the Gaza Strip, and to bring all suspects to criminal trial.

This happens as Abbas’ aide Yasser Abed accused Iran of being responsible of fomenting the Hamas seizure in Gaza. h/t Desde el Exilio.

UPDATE: GayandRight: Christians under attach in Gaza… Who is going to defend this people??

Father Manuel Musalam, leader of the small Latin community in the Gaza Strip, said masked gunmen torched and looted the Rosary Sisters School and the Latin Church.

The masked gunmen used rocket-propelled grenades to storm the main entrances of the school and church,” he said. “Then they destroyed almost everything inside, including the Cross, the Holy
Book, computers and other equipment
.”

Musalam expressed outrage over the burning of copies of the Bible, noting that the gunmen destroyed all the Crosses inside the church and school. “Those who did these awful things have no respect for Christian-Muslim relations,” he said.

When are going to be the next outraged Christian riots when we will burn Hamas flag? 😦 This is despicable…

(Reuters) – Israel plans to tighten a financial clampdown on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip that would choke off all but humanitarian and basic supplies, senior Israeli and Western officials said on Tuesday.
While opening the funding taps to the Western-backed emergency government set up by President Mahmoud Abbas in the occupied West Bank,
Israel and the United States want to isolate Hamas financially, diplomatically and militarily in the Gaza Strip, which the Islamist group seized by force last week.
To that end, two senior Israeli officials said the plan was to bar Palestinian tax funds transferred to Abbas from reaching Gaza to run Hamas-led agencies and pay workers.
Gaza is a terrorist-controlled entity now,” said one of the Israeli officials, who is working with U.S. officials to isolate Hamas. “No financial assistance can go to any entity or person with connections to the Hamas-run administration in Gaza.”

The humanitarian crisis is going to be outstanding. After last year 14.000 Palestinians flee, now Gazans stream to crossing with Israel – Yahoo! News

Hundreds of terrified Gazans fleeing Hamas rule were trapped at a main crossing with Israel on Tuesday, hoping to gain permission to pass through Israeli territory to sanctuary in the West Bank.

Fearing death or persecution, Gazans began flocking to the Erez passage after Hamas militants wrested control of the coastal strip from Fatah security forces late last week. Israel, which has no interest in letting masses of Gazans pass through its territory and possibly destabilize the quieter West Bank, has refused to let most of them in, saying their lives were not in danger.
By Tuesday, about 600 people were holed up in the long, concrete tunnel that leads to the Israeli side of the crossing. Around 100 people belonged to Fatah security forces, but the rest were civilians, seeking a better life in the West Bank.
Women, children and young men sat between two high concrete walls about 10 yards apart, looking tired and sweaty. Suitcases and trash were strewn on the ground. Some families sat on mats, others on bare concrete. A breeze barely stirred between the walls, and the tunnel, which has no toilets, reeked of urine and sweat.
On Monday, gunmen allied with Hamas disguised themselves as fleeing civilians and hurled hand grenades at Israeli soldiers and Palestinians at Erez, killing a relative of a slain Fatah warlord, and injuring 15 other Palestinians.

UPDATE 3: More about Palestinians fleeing from Israel: My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Palestinians run as they try to cross to the Israel side at the Erez Crossing, in the northern Gaza Strip, Saturday, June 16, 2007. Dozens of Palestinians converged on the Erez crossing with Israel on Saturday, trying to leave the Gaza Strip following Hamas’ takeover. At the same time, hundreds of people looted police positions on the Palestinian side of Erez, and at one point Israeli troops fired in the air to keep the crowd at bay. The looters walked off with furniture and scrap metal. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

UPDATE 4: Also read Jules Crittenden’s “Enemy of my Enemy” h/t Abdul in Freedom’s Zone. Abdul writes:

Conveniently, the word Fatah (or Fath) was a specific label Muslims ascribed to the bloody and barbaric expansion of Islam by the sword over its first hundred years (Hmmmm – there’s aclue here somewhere as to their intentions). As an organization, Fatah is one of many borne out of the Muslim Brotherhood. Fatah logo contains two crossed assault rifles superimposed on the land of Israel covered in Islamic green. Qur’anic slogans on the graphic depiction of Fatah’s mission encourages jihad. These days, Fatah conducts its terrorist missions under the name al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades. As one writer phrases it, if Fatah was Nazism, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades would be the SS. For those who have lived in a cave since WW-II, this is not something that denotes love and kindness, and tolerance of Jews and infidels that don’t follow the radical line.

UPDATE 5: Don’t laugh: Catholic World News : Gaza convent sacked; Hamas condemns action

Gaza, Jun. 19, 2007 (CWNews.com) – On June 14, a school administered by the Sisters of the Holy Rosary was demolished in the Gaza Strip. In the chapel adjoining the sisters’ convent, the crucifix and a statue of Christ were broken and prayer books burned.

Father Manuel Mussallam, the only Catholic priest currently living in Gaza, denounced the sacking of the school and convent, describing it to AsiaNews as a “barbaric act.” The incident occurred during the course of fighting between two Palestinian factions: al Fatah and Hamas.

Although the school and convent are located near a police station, a spokesman for Hamas– which now controls the Gaza Strip– said that the group was not responsible for the violence against the Catholic nuns. Salah Bardawil said: “The Christians are our brothers in Gaza and everywhere, and we will protect their holy places and school, as we do our Islamic schools.”

We will protect every Christian in the earth the moment they submit. In the meantime, we will ransack their places… to remind them who is in charge…

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h/t Confessions of a Closet Republican.

Also read the Project of the Muslim Brotherhood h/t Desde el Exilio and the Turkish Islamist party’s project for Europe h/t Free Thoughts.

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After considering the state in which some political prisoners are in Cuba (for example, this same week we have known about Guido Sigler Amaya’s condition which is very grave but does not have any kind of medical support), we have known today that:

  1. European Union FM are asking to renew the dialogue with Cuba. Only United Kingdom, the Checz Republic, Ireland or Belgium have opposed to it. In the text they include in the dialogue, subjects like political sphere, human rights, economical, scientific and cultural questions and “the support for a peaceful transition in Cuba“. They also maintain that the mutual relationship should be based on “reciprocity and no-discrimination“. Now, can someone tell me how on earth Europe was discriminating Cuba before? Not maintaining good relations with a dictator is not discriminating, it’s just a way to tell the world you oppose him firmly.
  2. Contrary to all the promises of reform issued last year, the proposal released today by Council President Luis Alfonso de Alba targets Israel for permanent indictment under a special agenda item: “Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories,” which includes “Human rights violations and implications of the Israeli occupation of Palestine and other occupied Arab territories”; and “Right to self-determination of the Palestinian people.” No other situation in the world is singled out — not genocide in Sudan, not child slavery in China, nor the persecution of democracy dissidents in Egypt and elsewhere. Moreover, the council will entrench its one-sided investigative mandate of “Israeli violations of international law”—the only one not subject to regular review after a set term—by renewing it “until the end of the occupation.” To sum up, the UN Human Rights Council is going to punish Israel but not Belarus, Cuba, China or Iran.

My question is: what do these organizations, which supposedly are fighting for Human Rights, do to really support them?

I answer: nothing. They are only bashing democracies, where they know their pathetic speeches can have some effect in part of the population. But not doing so against the dictatorships where they are not going to receive anything but disdain and reproaches. And we do not want that from China, Saudi Arabia, Cuba or Iran, do we?

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A friend of mine has sent me the link to these two videos in You Tube. They are about a debate hosted by Digital TV Libertad Digital about Cuban situation today and the country’s prospects. Really interesting -debate is in Spanish though-.

Primera parte:

Segunda parte:

El blog de Jorge Moragas (Popular Party MP): Los 300 de Cuba.

Patético, vergonzoso y humillante para todos los demócratas cubanos, españoles y europeos. En el útimo minuto la dictadura cubana se mofó de España. En la rueda de prensa final, el Canciller cubano Pérez Roque hizo saltar por los aires el compromiso que un ingenuo o incapaz Moratinos nos pretendía vender como un éxito:Así, del acordado y raquítico mecanismo político bilateral para hablar de Derechos Humanos entre España y Cuba quedaban excluidos manu militari los presos políticos y de conciencia cubanos que se pudren en las carceles de los Castro. A Zapatero y a su Gobierno que se ha ido de Procesión de Semana Santa a Cuba les han tomado el pelo como a unos pringadillos en viaje de fin de curso al Caribe. Ellos sólos se han metido en la trampa de la dictadura y su soberbia terminal y su fascinación por la ingeniería social castrista les ha empujado ignorar los llamamientos no sólo del PP y de Mariano Rajoy a la cabeza, sino de otros como: los mismos disidentes, Reporteros sin Fronteras, Amnistía Internacional, las Damas de Blanco, Oswaldo Payá y el Proyecto Varela, el Comité Internacional de Protección de Periodistas(Openheimer, Conkrite, Amanpour y otros fachas…) así como de ese Corazón de Europa que debería ser el Parlamento Europeo. Todos ellos, todos nosotros somos simples voces que claman en el desierto moral de este insensible Gobierno hippypiji.

El blog de Gustavo de Arístegui (Popular MP): Cuba, Venezuela y el populismo.

Es simplemente insultante que el ministro de Asuntos Exteriores diga que se va a hablar de todo, incluso de derechos humanos sin que se haga mención alguna a los presos políticos y de conciencia de Cuba. Nadie ha contestado desde el gobierno socialista a la repugnante declaración del ministro de exteriores cubano Pérez-Roque tildando a los presos políticos de mercenarios y terroristas.

Es triste, patético y escandaloso que el gobierno haya llegado hasta este nivel de entreguismo y claudicación. Convendría recordarle al gobierno socialista que hoy España bajo gobierno socialista no va a poder jugar papel relevante alguno en la transición cubana –palabra por cierto proscrita y maldita por el régimen cubano, lo que confirma su inmovilismo. Los disidentes rechazan de plano la vergonzosa política del gobierno socialista hacia Cuba, el Régimen cubano nos desprecia y nos da por descontados y los Estados Unidos (Republicanos y Demócratas por igual) desconfían del actual gobierno de España.

Related posts: Anti-Castro website launches an anti-Spain campaign.


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Allegations Iran is arming Afghan rebels are aired publicly by US officials for the first time.

Source: US accuses Iran of supplying arms to Taliban

More about this in Freedom’s Zone. According to the latter Richard Boucher, US Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asian Affairs, in a meeting with EU officials in Brussels, said Iran was a “developing issue of concern.”

His comments come only a day after Pentagon’s top general Peter Pace said coalition forces in Afghanistan had intercepted Iranian-made mortars and explosives destined for the Taliban.
“We don’t know exactly who is doing this and why, but we know that these have been Iranian origin weapons that have shown up in the hands of the Taliban,” Boucher said. “We have been seeing a series of indicators that Iran is getting more involved in an unhealthy way in Afghanistan,” the US official warned.
Boucher insisted that the “military defeat of the Taliban was not the “key task.” The focus was on building Afghan democracy and strengthening the outreach of the government.
“This is where terrorism originally came from,” said Boucher referring to Al-Qaeda’s use of Afghan territory. He said a democratic Afghanistan would therefore play a vital role in stabilizing the region.
“There is an historic opportunity to change the dynamic in this region and create an area of stability between Asia and the Middle East,” he said.

Varios oficiales EEUU han declarado que Irán está armando a los talibanes. No saben cómo lo hacen, pero sí que han interceptado armas de fabricación iraní (morteros y explosivos) con destino los talibanes. Boucher, asistente de la Secretario de Estado EEUU para el Asia central y del sur, ha añadido que “Irán cada vez está implicado de peor de manera en Afganistán“, que “allí se ha ido a defender la democracia y no tanto a sólo derrotar a los talibanes” y que es una oportunidad histórica de crear un área de estabilidad en la zona.

Hmm, qué sorpresa, ¿no? Irán, la perfecta democracia islámica ayudando a los talibanes… que muy pacíficos no parecen:

Afghans face suicide attacks, beheadings and abductions by the Taleban, says an Amnesty International report.

A report by Amnesty International says that attacks on civilians are widespread and systematic, and are used by Taleban rebels to instil fear.

The report says that scores of civilians have been deliberately killed by the Taleban in the past two years.

It accuses the Taleban of “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity”.

‘War crimes’

Targets between January 2005 and March 2007 have included women’s rights activists, election candidates, clerics, government and health workers and teachers.

Taleban fighters in Zabul

The Taleban are accused of treating some civilians as the enemy

At least 183 schools were burned in arson attacks across the country between 2005-2006.

Amnesty say that most victims of Taleban violence are apparently branded as “spies” or “collaborators”.

In one “brutal” incident cited by the organisation last week, an Afghan journalist was killed by the Taleban, reportedly by having his throat slit. –and they write “brutal

Ajmal Naqshbandi, 25, had been taken hostage in March along with an Italian reporter, Daniele Mastrogiacomo, and their Afghan driver, Sayed Agha.

While Daniele Mastrogiacomo was released in a prisoner exchange, Sayed Agha was beheaded.

Amnesty say that the Taleban’s military rulebook, or Laheya, explicitly sanctions targeting and killing civilians.

Link to Taleban ‘war crimes’ on Afghans

Of course, the charitable Talibans have rejected the report h/t Clarity and Resolve.

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La ONG Amnistía Internacional ha denunciado a los talibanes por las numerosas atrocidades que están cometiendo frente a los civiles. Mujeres defensoras de sus derechos, políticos, periodistas o simplemente civiles que estaban en el lugar equivocado han sido asesinados deliberadamente por los talibanes. Previamente los consideran “espías” o “colaboradores”. Así, la semana pasada un periodista fue asesinado por espía, como dirían los antiguos, por el método de “cortarle el pescuezo“. También fueron asesinados de esta forma el intérprete y el chófer de Mastrogiacomo, el periodista italiano al que los talibanes liberaron porque lograron que el Gobierno afgano pusiera en la calle a 5 talibanes peligrosos.

Por supuesto, los pacíficos insurgentes-militantes-rebeldes lo han negado, diciendo que sólo mataban “a los y a los que los ayudaban“. Claro, el chófer de Mastroiacomo era un peligroso agente internacional que quería infiltrarse entre los talibanes… Pero ¿quién le mandaba a él ser chófer? Debería haber comenzado una fabulosa carrera como espiritual y pacífico talibán.

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cooperantes_afganistanWe also have to add that today there are two French from an NGO kidnapped by the Talibans:

The Canadian TV CBC has shown some images of the two French NGO workers, kidnapped 10 days ago in the south-East of Afghanistan, in which both of them tell the camera they are fearing for their lifes.

In the images we can also see three Afghans, the driver and two interpreters, also kidnapped, and their kidnappers, strongl armed, as the TV has stated, while at the same time adding they were not going to show the images.

The images are proof that both of them can be alive by now.

The French President, Mr. Chirac, asked on Friday (a week ago) to Afghan President, Karzai, to make “all possible efforts” to achieve the liberation of the 2 kidnapped French, apparently by the Taliban. Chirac asked for an effort to Karzai and underlined the importance of the mutual support between the authorities of both countries.

This Chirac… has he considered what the taliban have said about the Mastroiacomo’s liberation?

Dadullah, the Taliban’s top operations commander, made the claim to a Pakistani journalist shortly after the Afghan government traded the five militants for Daniele Mastrogiacomo of La Repubblica.

He said he felt so happy that he would take a rest and let his brother take the reins for a while,” said Rahimullah Yusufzai, a veteran reporter from Peshawar, who interviewed Dadullah by phone. “He said that any western journalist who does not seek permission is going to be arrested.”

The deal has triggered a heated debate across Europe. Italian opposition politicians and some newspapers accused the prime minister, Romano Prodi, of caving in to terrorists. In London, a Foreign Office spokeswoman said the swap sent “the wrong signal to prospective hostage-takers”.

Taliban plan more kidnappings after Italian deal | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited

Hmm, what a profitable industry, hein?

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La cadena de televisión canadiense CBC ha obtenido imágenes que muestran a dos cooperantes franceses secuestrados hace diez días en el suroeste de Afganistán, en el que los dos rehenes expresan temor por su vida. En las imágenes también se ve a los tres rehenes afganos el conductor y dos traductores con los ojos vendados, y los secuestradores que les custodian fuertemente armados, según ha explicado la cadena, que ha decidido no emitir las imágenes.

La mujer secuestrada suplica por su vida mientras que su colega, que se identifica como Erik, también hace un llamamiento similar. Según informa la televisión canadiense en su página web, el canal ha decidido no emitir las imágenes, consideradas una prueba de que los dos trabajadores humanitarios de la organización no gubernamental Terre d’Enfance y los tres afganos que viajaban con ellos cuando fueron secuestrados pueden continuar con vida.

El presidente francés, Jacques Chirac, pidió el viernes a su homologo afgano, Hamid Karzai, que se hagan “todos los esfuerzos” posibles para conseguir la liberación de dos cooperantes franceses secuestrados el 3 de abril pasado, aparentemente por los talibanes. El presidente francés pidió un esfuerzo a Karzai y subrayó la importancia del apoyo mutuo entre las autoridades de ambos países con el objetivo de liberar a los activistas humanitarios, según un portavoz oficial.

Source: Tizas – Los taliban exhiben a los cooperantes secuestrados

Y es que hace unos días ya lo anunció Dadullah, el jefe Talibán, que iban a continuar con los secuestros y que después del de Mastroiacomo, estaba tan feliz que se iba a tomar unas vacaciones.

Como decíamos en el colegio: estaba más feliz que una lombriz, aunque en este caso, sea un insulto para la pobre lombriz…

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Another proof of the violence against civilians is the killing of girls’ teachers:

Police in Afghanistan’s southeastern province of Khost say Taliban militants shot dead the headmaster of a girls’ school in eastern Afghanistan on April 17. Authorities say Ghulam Haider, of the Kundi girls’ school, was killed while walking to a mosque for morning prayers.

Another headmaster was killed in a similar shooting on April 15 in the province’s Gorboz district.

Afghan Education Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar said more than 40 Afghan teachers have been killed in Taliban attacks against schools and colleges during the past year.

Source: Clarity & Resolve: Afghanistan – Jihad Against Girls’ Education

La policía de la provincia de Khost (Sur de Afganistán) han dicho que los militantes talibanes han matado a disparos al director de un colegio femenino el 17 de abril. Las autoridades han añadido que a Ghulam Haider, del colegio femenino Khundi, le asesinaron mientras iba caminado hacia la mezquita para las oraciones de la mañana.

A otro director de escuela le mataron de forma semejante el 15 de abril en Gorboz.

El Ministro de Educación afgano dijo que los talibanes han asesinado a más de 40 profesores afganos en ataques a colegios y escuelas durante el pasado año.

Si es que es lo que tienen los insurgentes talibanes. ¿Para qué van ellos a respetar algo tan occidental como los Derechos Humanos?

Así que el Comandante USA del Gobierno Central de las Fuerzas en Afganistán está pidiendo a la OTAN que se implique más y envíe más tropas. No sólo es por cuestiones militares si no sobre todo para ayudar a los civiles.

NATO needs to provide more forces to assist in ongoing security and reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, the commander of U.S. Central Command said during his testimony at a Congressional hearing today. The top U.S. military commander in Iraq, Army Gen. Dan K. McNeill, has asked NATO headquarters for more troops, Navy Adm. William J. Fallon told House Armed Services Committee members. McNeill took command of more than 30,000 NATO and U.S. troops in early February. McNeill “is on record as asking the alliance in Brussels for additional assets“, Fallon said.

He needs them not only in terms of military forces and capabilities such as rotary-wing lift to move these forces in the field, but he also needs some help in the civilian world.

Today, there are about 26,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Around 14,000 U.S. forces are under McNeill as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force. The other 12,000 American forces in Afghanistan fall under U.S. command and are conducting special operations and Afghan army training missions.

Source: More NATO Help Needed in Afghanistan, Fallon Says

Are the Euroweenies going to send more troops? Are we going really to defend the Human Rights of this poor Human Beings, trapped in the same place with such bastards? Or not?

Related news: 24 Taleban fighters killed in Afghan battle. (According to yahoo, the Taliban dead had been 27).

Afghan troops have torn down part of a new anti-Taleban fence being erected by Pakistan on the border between the two countries, officials in Kabul say.

They say the move led to fighting between Afghan and Pakistani troops. But Pakistan has denied the fence claim, saying the clashes started after one of its patrols came under fire. It was the first such fighting since Pakistan announced plans earlier this year to fence and mine sections of the border to restrict Taleban fighters. The Afghan government says the plan will endanger civilian lives and separate Pashtun tribes and families.

Source: BBC NEWS | World | South Asia | Afghanistan ‘border fence’ clash

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Las tropas afganas han partido una valla anti-talibanes que había erigido Pakistán en el borde entre ambos países, según las autoridades de Kabul. Dijeron también que esta era la primera vez que esa valla había dado lugar a luchas entre ambos.

Paquistán ha negado la protesta diciendo que la lucha se produjo cuando una de sus patrullas fue atacada. El gobierno de Afganistán dice que el plan va a poner en peligro vidas civiles y a separar tribus y familias Pashtún.

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The spring has come to Afghanistan but that has not been a good and bucholic sight but one in which the Taliban are attacking the NATO-UN forces with a much more important danger for the coalition troops. Including SPANISH troops. Yes, I know that our Army is guided as if it were a NGO (what in Spain some people consider a Srta.Pepis Army), but, whatever the Government says, the mission has everything to do with WAR. Yes, it involves protecting the weak, but it also involves attacking and defending them and the military from the Taleban. Something that is carefully forgotten both by political bodies and MSM bienpensants because that is not modern…

So the offensive against the Taliban has started in the South of Aghanistan. And the 1st day has produced, as a result, the caught a Taleban leader who was fleeing disguised in a burqa!

Europe continues its (ours) whinning about war, as if US and Israel were the warmongers (never us!). Of course, that is why we have not sent more troops to Aghanistan. Of course, that makes easier blaming them for all the bad things in this world.

But the major symptom of this illness of pacifism, it’s -apart from our dear President-, the one shown by Italian Senate. The lower House of Italian Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Afghan mission, after some days of uncertainty which have involved the Parliament voting against PM Prodi, his dimission -accepted by the President of the Republic Napolitcano- and his acceptance (again) as head of the Government. But some of the Italian bloggers do not agree with the decission of the liberals and right-wingers, who has voted with the Prodi’s Socialists.

For example, Paolo di Lautreamont from Le Guerre Civile, says “E’ inaccettabile che la Cdl voti con Prodi il rifinanziamento alla missione italiana in Afghanistan. Non è questione di immagine, ma di fatti concreti. L’approvazione significherebbe, in realtà, dover subire una rete di ricatti, blocchi, dinieghi, degli antiliberali”. Translation: “It’s not acceptable that Cdl -Coalizioni di Liberali- voted with Prodi the refinancing of the Italian mission in Afghanistan. This is not a question of image, but of concrete acts. The approbation will mean, really, to support the antiliberals” -liberal in Europe means the ones fighting for freedom, not leftits-.

But he adds something very important for Spain:

Ciò aggraverebbe la strategia e il ruolo dei nostri soldati, costretti a ridurre -di fatto- la loro capacità difensiva/offensiva, questo mentre lo stesso Zapatero sta aumentando effettivi armamenti delle truppe spagnole, come ricorda Gianandrea Gaiani su Libero di oggi.

This is going to worsen our soldiers (the Italian ones), because their capacity, both offensive and defensive, is going to be reduced, just at the same momment in which Zapatero is increasing the weaponry effectiveness of the Spanish troops, as Gianandrea Gaiani points out in Libero di oggi.

So, why is he increasing the effectiveness if Afghanistan is so peaceful and quite and we are there in a peaceful and humanitarian-only mission?

Mariosecchi.net also looks at the paradox of the right-wingers, who are supporting the Prodi’s Government in three basic issues: foreign policy (Afghanistan), economic policy (pensions) and institutional matters (electoral reform).

Taliban claimed they have kidnapped an Italian journalist, Mastroiacomo, from La Reppublica, because he was “spying for British” and that they are interrogating him. I guess they are doing a civilizations’ alliance-way-of-interrogation, that is, a very desagreeable one. I am not suprised that Massimo D’Alema is worried about him (thanks to La Pulce di Voltaire). His release is not going to be immediately obtained, it seems.

As Canadian blog The Black Rod tells us (via Dust my Broom), the Taleban claim that they have arrested between 60 and 70 people and many of them had been killed, charging them with “spying for UN and NATO troops”. But they are not actually spies: they are simply people who work for the government, aid groups or NATO military.

And now a new problem can be considered: the day-by-day growing pressence of the Taliban in Pakistani region of Waziristan, which borders with Afghanistan. So important is this presence, that US expert in terrorism, Bill Roggio, writes in his blog: “Taliban losses in Afghanistan, gains in Pakistan“:

The Talibanization of western Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province and Baluchistan has an impact of the situation in Afghanistan. The tribal agencies of North and South Waziristan are openly referred to as Talibanistan. Bajaur is a operational base and staging area into Afghanistan for mid-level al-Qaeda commanders, and senior al-Qaeda command (bin Laden and Zawahiri) are believed to be operating from nearby Dir.

Now, the question is: What is doing Pakistan at his respect? Till US Vice-President Cheney’s visit, it sounded as nothing (well, it really was nothing). But after his visit, Mullah Omar’s deputy Obaidullah (left) was captured by Pakistani security forces. Of course, Pakistan has denied this arrest has something to do with Cheney’s visit:

The official, however, said the arrest of Mullah Obaidullah, who was defence minister in the ousted Taliban regime, had no link with Mr Cheney’s visit and the action which led to his arrest had been planned in advance based on good intelligence.The official declined to give further information but said that two others, who were captured along with Mullah Obaidullah “could be” Amir Khan Haqqani, a Taliban commander in Zabul, and Abdul Bari, the former governor of Helmand province.

Anyway, I made referrence some days ago to the annual report of the International Narcotics Control Board. If you read it, there is a surge in poppy (opium) production. There has been some calls from both the World Bank and the UN because this could make even more difficult the reconstruction, as people are more interested in opium business as they are earning more money. The UN (and US) is also worried because of the “dramatic increase” in cannabis growing, which begins a “new and disturbing trend“.

And, even if you are going to laugh, Face the Truth reports that radical left has proposed to buy the Afghan opium to use it to make pharmaceutical substances. The problem is they are going to buy it from Taleban and warlords. So, they are considering to finance the same people who are killing our troops. These things make me wonder if human beings are as rational as we tend to think ourselves…

[NOTE: do not tell this proposal to Joan Saura, Catalan Conseiller of Interior, who said that he was for the legalization of all drugs… He would jump of joy]

Lastly, I want to finish this post pointing out the high number of conversions into Evangelical Christianity from Afghan Islamic people (among other Middle East countries). Of course, TIME magazine has called them radical, even if this people are facing death for their conversion.

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Resumiendo el peaso post sobre Afganistán, en este país la primavera trae las flores, la alergia y… el ataque de los talibanes. Precisamente, como se sabe que el buen tiempo iba a “mejorar” las condiciones para este ataque, la OTAN había pedido refuerzos, refuerzos que fueron negados principalmente por Italia, Francia y España.

Italia, especialmente, se encuentra en otro momento, vamos a decir, dífícil. El voto del Senado de hace escasas semanas, en contra de que las tropas italianas estuvieran en Afganistán, hizo que Prodi, actual Presidente del Gobierno italiano, tuviera que dimitir. Sin embargo, poco después, Napolitano, el Presidente de la República, volvía a ofrecer a Prodi formar Gobierno, lo que il Professore aceptó. Así que era necesario volver a votar la presencia de las tropas italianas en Afganistán.

La Cámara Baja votó mayoritariamente que sí, porque Prodi no fue apoyado por los de su Gobierno (hmmm) si no por Berlusconi y los liberales. Este voto ha sido muy criticado por distintos blogueros italianos que consideran que, de esta forma, están realmente manteniendo a sus enemigos políticos en el Gobierno.

Ahora bien, si algo me ha sorprendido (realmente, no…) es que el especialista italiano en cuestiones militares Giani ha afirmado que Zapatero ha aumentado la capacidada tanto ofensiva como defensiva de nuestras tropas en Afganistán. ¿Alguien sabe algo de esto? Porque creo que no ha pedido permiso -o yo no tengo noticia, lo cual con la cantidad de información, no será raro- para ese aumento. Tampoco sé si esto es una consecuencia de un análisi concienzudo de la situación, o simplemente una consecuencia de la muerte de la soldado Idoia Rodríguez hace unos días.

A todo ello, se une la noticia del secuestro del peridista italiano de La Repubblica Mastroiacomo, quien ha sido acusado por los talibanes de “espiar para Inglaterra” y a quien “estamos [por los Talibanes] sometiendo a interrogatorio“. Ni me quiero imaginar cómo deben estarle interrogando.

Sin embargo, no será éste el primero ni el último, porque sólo en este año, los talibanes han secuestrado entre 60 y 70 personas, de las que la mayoría aparecen después asesinadas, acusadas de espionaje. La realidad, es que son simplemente personas que trabajan para la ONU, organizaciones de ayuda humanitaria o las fuerzas de la OTAN.

El problema de esta Primavera en Afganistán es que los talibanes están usando al vecino Pakistán para organizarse y el número de los que allí residen aumenta cada día. La zona, llamada Waziristan, ya es conocida como Talibastán. Durante bastante tiempo, EEUU estaba pidiendo a Pervez Musharraf (ese amigou, que parar tener estos amigous es mejor tener sólo enemigous) que hiciera algo. Pero (¡qué curioso!) no han hecho nada hasta que el Vicepresidente Cheney ha viajado a Pakistán. Entonces han dicho raudos y veloces que habían detenido al diputado/representante del Mullah Omar, llamado Mullah Omaidomar. Claro, ellos han negado terminantemente que tenga nada que ver blah, blah, blah…

También han detenido a otro Talibán que se había disfrazado con un burka. Maravilloso, ¿eh?

Como ya he dicho, en primavera florece el campo y también las amapolas. Y el opio. Y el negocio del opio. Desde hace bastante tiempo las agencias internacionales han venido advirtiendo del incremento exponencial del comercio del opio afgano, con los señores de la guerra y los talibanes repartiéndose el negocio. Ahora, además también ha crecido de manera muy importante el comercio de cannabis/marihuana. Y los radicales de izquierda italianos han pedido que se compre el excedente de opio para usos farmacológicos, sin darse cuenta de que se lo iban a estar pagando a … los talibanes y los señores de la guerra. Que no se lo digan a Joan Clos…

Links used to write this post:

Die Nato hat sie lange angekündigt, nun ist sie da: die Frühjahrsoffensive gegen die Taliban. 5000 Soldaten sind im Einsatz. Die Nato-Verbände sollen in der südlichen Provinz Helmand gegen die Taliban kämpfen und sie »entscheidend schwächen«. Das klingt gut, aber es ist Augenwischerei. Die Taliban lassen sich mit Kanonen nicht entscheidend schwächen. Krieg ist ihr Handwerk.

Source: Afghanistan: Sie m̦gen uns РNachrichten und Analysen auf ZEIT online РInternational (from Kosmoblog)

KABUL, Afghanistan Afghan soldiers caught a senior Taliban commander at a checkpoint who was wearing a burqa, while NATO forces on Wednesday fought Taliban militants in the second day of the alliance’s largest-ever offensive in Afghanistan. Mullah Mahmood, who is accused of helping the Taliban detonate suicide bombs, was caught Tuesday in Kandahar province while wearing the all-encompassing Islamic veil worn here by women, NATO said.

Source: FOXNews.com – Afghan Soldiers Nab Taliban Commander Fleeing in Burka – International News | News of the World | Middle East News | Europe News (HT Lawhawk).

As the spring sets in Taleban fighters in Pakistan’s tribal region of Waziristan, bordering Afghanistan, are increasingly visible. This bodes ill for the coalition forces in Afghanistan. But it also highlights problems for Pakistan’s government. It is faced with the prospect of the Taleban and their allies trying to consolidate their expansion eastwards inside North West Frontier Province (NWFP). They have already carved out two safe havens in NWFP. They were able to do so after signing deals to the west in the tribal districts of South Waziristan and North Waziristan with the Pakistani government in 2004-05.

Source: BBC NEWS | South Asia | Taleban spread wings in Pakistan

The lower house of Parliament voted overwhelmingly Thursday in favor of keeping Italy’s military contingent in Afghanistan, approving a decree that refinances all Italian missions abroad. The measure had caused rifts in Prime Minister Romano Prodi’s center- left coalition, but the Chamber of Deputies gave overwhelming backing to the decree, with a bipartisan 524-3 vote. The decree now goes to the Senate, where the governing center-left commands only a razor-thin majority. Italy’s mission in Afghanistan, involving 1,800 troops, has split Prodi’s forces because some Communist coalition allies oppose the troop deployment. Any defections in the upper chamber of Parliament could lose the vote for the center-left. However, the conservative opposition, led by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, backed the mission in the vote Thursday and is expected to do the same in the Senate, ensuring passage of the measure.

Source: Prodi gets support on keeping troops in Afghanistan – International Herald Tribune

Guerrilla spokesman Qari Mohammad Yousuf said the reporter worked for La Repubblica. Speaking by satellite phone from an undisclosed location, he said the reporter had confessed to spying after being picked up in neighbouring Helmand province yesterday. He added: “He was pretending to be a journalist, but when we investigated we found he’s working for the British troops. “We’re interrogating him and the other two.” The Rome-based newspaper said it has been unable to contact reporter Daniele Mastrogiacomo in Kandahar province since Sunday.

Source: Taliban claimed kidnapped journalist ‘was spying for British’ | Breaking News | News | Telegraph

The United Nations says it fears that Afghanistan may grow even more poppies in 2007 – at a time when current levels are already running at record output. Poppy production rose 25% in 2006, according to the US State Department. The UN says although production of poppies, used to make heroin, has fallen in the north and centre, a sharp rise is likely in the lawless south. It also cites a dramatic increase in cannabis growing, which it describes as a new and disturbing trend.

Source: BBC NEWS | South Asia | UN fears Afghan opium ‘explosion

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