Daily Archives: July 17, 2006

Israel increases attacks


U.S. President George W. Bush, right, gives the thumbs up during a meeting at the G8 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, Monday July 17, 2006. British Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan called Monday for the deployment of international forces to stop the bombardment of Israel from southern Lebanon. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, pool)

ISRAEL ACCELERATED its air attack on Lebanon yesterday, blasting Hezbollah hideouts and hitting central Beirut for the first time. It accused Iran of helping fire a missile that damaged an Israeli warship in an ominous sign the showdown could spread. In all, 34 people were killed in Lebanon on Saturday, police said. That raised the Lebanese death toll in the four-day Israeli offensive to 107, mostly civilians. On the Israeli side, at least 15 have been killed – four civilians and 11 soldiers.
EU considers deployment of peacekeepers to Lebanon
British PM Blair says deployment of international forces along northern border is only way ‘to get cessation of hostilities.’ UN Secretary-General Annan appeals to Israel to abide by international law, spare civilian lives and infrastructure. The European Union said Monday it was weighing the deployment of a peacekeeping force to Lebanon to help end fighting between Israel and Hizbullah.

Blair, Annan Call for Troops in Israel
British Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called Monday for the deployment of international forces to stop the bombardment of Israel. “The blunt reality is that this violence is not going to stop unless we create the conditions for the cessation of violence,” Blair said after talks with Annan on the margins of the Group of Eight summit. “The only way is if we have a deployment of international forces that can stop bombardment coming into Israel.”

Annan wants UN military presence in Lebanon
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said he intends to pursue the issue of the a new UN military presence in Lebanon in his meetings with the G8 leaders in St Petersburg today and that he wants to send in the troops quite quickly.

To Dismay of Some, Bush Takes Gentler Approach Toward Putin


No direct debate over Putin’s authoritarian path
Dressed casually in open-necked shirts, the two presidents hugged in front of the cameras, and Bush admired Putin’s 1972 Zaporozhets, a cheap, sturdy Soviet-era subcompact that was the first car he owned. “Solid friendship,” a smiling Bush called out to reporters asking about their relationship before the two couples disappeared into a cottage on the grounds of a presidential palace outside this former imperial capital. Bush no longer views Putin as warmly as he did in 2001, when they first met and Bush said he had got a sense of Putin’s soul. But after Bratislava, aides said, Bush concluded that challenging Putin directly only backfires, so he has taken a gentler approach and plans no direct debate over Putin’s authoritarian path when the two stage a joint news conference Saturday.

Russia Cracks Down on Anti-Globalists Ahead of G8
Activists Harrassed, Beaten, Detained and Placed in Free-Speech Stadium
Activists are quietly angry at the extremely tight leash Russian authorities have put on them. The only authorized site for protests is a deteriorating stadium at the hardest-to-reach tip of one of the city’s islands. Not only is it far from the summit site, some 20 kilometers (12 miles), it’s a long distance from everything else, too — the nearest public transit stop is a three-kilometer (two-mile) hike through a park. The detentions, harassment and beatings of activists heading for St. Petersburg “cannot be called otherwise than state extremism,” Lev Ponomarev, director of the prominent Russian watchdog group For Human Rights, said in a statement Thursday.

Rights Group Criticizes Russia for Silencing Critics
The U.S.-based advocacy group Human Rights Watch called on Russia Thursday to stop trying to silence critics, and urged the other members of the Group of Eight leading nations to press President Vladimir Putin to better respect human rights, AP reports.

President Warming Up To Russia
Last week, Mr. Bush said he likes Putin very much and Putin called the American president “a decent and honest person.” It’s positive spin on a relationship that may or may not yield results. When Presidents Bush and Vladimir Putin meet they’re likely to be all smiles — despite the serious issues on the table. Like how to disarm Iran and North Korea. Or get Russia into the World Trade Organization. Or provide America with more Russian oil.

Russia’s New World Order
Russia awash in oil money and emboldened by it
Buoyed by expensive energy and a booming economy, the Kremlin is once again flexing its muscles abroad — but very carefully

Putin-Bush meeting may mend rift in relations
A leading Russian expert on North America said Wednesday that a U.S.-Russian presidential meeting due later this week could help the two countries overcome their differences on issues such as Iran and North Korea.
Sergei Rogov, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ U.S. and Canada Institute, said that during their bilateral meeting in St. Petersburg on the eve of this weekend’s Group of Eight summit, Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush would likely seek rapprochement on Iran’s and North Korea’s nuclear ambitions as well as on START, a U.S.-Russian strategic arms reductions treaty.

Putin says using secret services abroad for anti-terror legal
President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that using special services overseas to combat terrorism was not a breach of international law. “I see no violations here. Under Article 51 of the UN Charter, states can individually or jointly rebuff an aggression. It does not say that this aggression should come from one state against the other,” Putin said during a Web cast. Putin said he hoped the Russian parliament’s upper chamber would endorse a draft law Friday giving the country’s president the right to use the armed forces and secret services abroad to fight international terrorism.

Russia lower house passes bill authorizing anti-terror action abroad
The Russian Duma, the lower house of parliament, overwhelmingly passed a draft law Wednesday that would give Russian President Vladimir Putin [official website, English version] the right to use Russia’s armed forces and secret services abroad for counterterrorism measures. Putin asked parliament for greater counterterrorism powers last week after five Russian diplomats were abducted and murdered [BBC report] in Iraq, prompting him to order special forces to find those responsible [Itar-Tass report] and offer a $10 million reward for information leading to their capture.


In this file image taken from Russian State Television Channel on June 28, 2006, Russian President Vladimir Putin lifts the shirt of a young boy called Nikita and kisses his stomach in the Kremlin in Moscow. On Thursday July 6, 2006 Putin answered what was for many observers a burning question: What compelled him to kiss the bare stomach of a young boy in a Kremlin courtyard? The question was one of the most popular among the thousands e-mailed in for the Web chat, hosted by the British Broadcasting Corp. and Russian search engine Yandex.ru. (AP Photo/RTR-Russian Television Channel)

The kissing incident

Putin says kissing boy’s stomach was like stroking a cat
Russians finally got an answer to the question thousands of people wanted to ask President Vladimir Putin – why did he kiss a small boy on the stomach? During a live webcast today Mr Putin explained that the incident in the Kremlin on June 28, when he encountered the boy, called Nikita, lifted his shirt and kissed his stomach, was a spontaneous gesture similar to stroking a cat.
Vladimir Putin defends kissing boy’s belly
Perhaps it is a “Russian” thing, and we just aren’t aware of this peculiar custom, but the Western world’s collective head swiveled in shock when reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin defended his recent controversial kissing of a boy on the stomach as just “a spontaneous gesture of affection.”

Putin wanted to touch boy ‘like a kitten’
Vladimir Putin’s decision to stop a small boy as he walked through the Kremlin and kiss his stomach was prompted by a desire to “touch him like a kitten”, the Russian president said on Thursday. The five-year-old boy, identified as Nikita Konkin by the press, was clearly stunned by the kiss and speculation over Putin’s motivation has run wild in the week since it happened.
Putin weighs in on robots, sex, and Cthulhu
Vladimir Putin took time out of his busy schedule to discuss the issues the Russian people really care about–robots, sex, and Cthulhu. Putin doesn’t remember the first time he had sex, he believes that robots will defend Russia’s borders, and he encourages kids to steer clear of Cthulhu…

Russia may use “gigantic robots” to defend its borders.
“Yes, we will use the latest technical devices. Already now they are being stationed, for example, in the southern parts of our country,” Putin said when reporters asked him after the conference whether Russia planned to use “gigantic, humanoid war robots” to defend itself. Asked to elaborate about what he meant, Putin said: “These are unmanned aerial vehicles. And maybe the time will come for gigantic robots. 

Foreign companies buying U.S. roads, bridges

Roads and bridges built by U.S. taxpayers are starting to be sold off, and so far foreign-owned companies are doing the buying.

On a single day in June, an Australian-Spanish partnership paid $3.8 billion to lease the Indiana Toll Road. An Australian company bought a 99-year lease on Virginia’s Pocahontas Parkway, and Texas officials decided to let a Spanish-American partnership build and run a toll road from Austin to Seguin for 50 years.

Roads and bridges leased to or owned by foreign companies, followed by a list of proposed projects

Israel kills Lebanese civilians

An Israeli air raid has killed at least 17 Lebanese civilians who were fleeing southern border areas.
Women and children were among those killed when the convoy was hit. “Bodies litter the road,” an eyewitness said. Israel has expanded its campaign launched after Hezbollah militants seized two Israeli soldiers. More than 70 Lebanese have been killed.


Israel is the largest recipient of US foreign aid, receiving over one-third of total US aid despite being home to just .001% of the global population and having one of the highest per capita incomes in the world.


Canadian family with four children killed in Lebanon


A wounded Lebanese woman, covered in blood, is evacuated after surviving an Israeli air strike in Tyre, south Lebanon. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah vowed to wage an unrestrained campaign against Israel as over 50 Lebanese were killed in a devastating blitz of Israeli strikes and the Jewish state was hit by an unprecedented rocket attack.(AFP/Hassan Ammar)

Seven Canadians from the same Montreal family, including four young children, were killed in Lebanon on Sunday when Israeli aircraft bombed a house in the south of the country, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp said.


Lebanese civilians who were wounded from an Israeli aircraft strike evacuate from Tyre, Lebanon, July 16, 2006. Israeli aircraft destroyed a house in a south Lebanon village on Sunday, killing eight civilians, including five with dual Canadian and Lebanese citizenship, a health ministry official said. REUTERS/Elie Abou Faysal (LEBANON)


Two-year-old Karim Qobeisi is treated in hospital in the southern market town of Nabatiyeh in Lebanon Sunday, July 16, 2006 after he was injured during an Israeli airstrike whilst in his house, according to his father who was also injured. Airstrikes reduced entire apartment buildings to rubble and knocked out electricity in swaths of the Lebanese capital Sunday as Israel dramatically escalated the ferocity of its campaign after Hezbollah rockets hit the northern city of Haifa. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)

With Israel’s missiles raining down on their streets, the Lebanese remain defiant in the face of sustained attack.
The moment the Lebanese hoped they would never have to see again has arrived. “It is a war now,” says Grazulita Miro, a hairdresser sitting outside the open but deserted Salon Tony in the eastern Beirut suburb of Achrafieh. “After four days of this Israeli bombing, what else should we call it?” It’s Saturday morning, and the sense of relief in Beirut is palpable after a night free of raids. But it is short-lived. A population glued to the radio or TV, when the rationed power comes on, soon learns that the bombing has spread east and north. Then the bombing starts in the southern suburb of Haret Hreik, then at Beirut’s port – a stone’s throw from crowds of waiting escapees at Charles Helou bus station. In the early evening an Israeli rocket hits the lighthouse on the capital’s fabled sea-front. The destruction, or what the international community terms “excessive force”, has come to Beirut proper.

Britain sends warships to Middle East as crisis deepens
Britain has dispatched two Navy warships to the Middle East in preparation for a possible evacuation of 10,000 British citizens from Lebanon. The crisis between Israel, Lebanon and Gaza deepened yesterday, with at least 34 civilians, including 15 children, dying in Israeli airstrikes. More than 100 people were injured in the attacks.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defence told the Sunday Herald last night that the ships, the HMS Illustrious and HMS Bulwark, will be arriving in the region “in a few days”.



An Irish child cries as Israeli warplanes cross the air, while she waits with her family to board a bus to be evacuated from Lebanon, in Beirut, July 17, 2006. REUTERS/ Sharif Karim (LEBANON)

U.S. military fears outcome of rape trial

U.S. military officials fear that religious hurdles in exhuming the body of a teenager could complicate the prosecution of American soldiers accused of raping and murdering the girl — and create a political nightmare for the U.S. mission here. The soldiers allegedly saw the victim at a checkpoint in the town and plotted the attack for a week, according to federal court documents. Three of her family members were killed in the assault. The attack was the latest in a string of allegations that U.S. soldiers and Marines in Iraq have killed civilians, including the alleged massacre of dozens in Haditha.