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Archive for July, 2010|Monthly archive page

Israeli hit kills one in Gaza after rocket attack

In Uncategorized on July 31, 2010 at 11:20 am

 Israeli warplanes attacked Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, killing one person and wounding eight, the army and medics said on Saturday, a day after a rocket fired from the strip hit a southern Israeli city.

A Hamas militant was killed in an airstrike on a caravan near the Magazhi refugee camp in the centre of the Palestinian enclave, a Hamas official said. The Israeli military said the site was “a weapons-manufacturing warehouse.”

Late on Friday aircraft fired at least four missiles at buildings used by Hamas security forces in Gaza City, wounding eight people, several of them seriously, said Muawiya Hassanein, the head of Gaza emergency services.

A man carries a wounded young child into a hospital following Israeli air strikes on Gaza City on July 30, 2010.

The site used to house the offices of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas before his Western-backed Fatah party was ousted from Gaza by the Islamist Hamas in 2007.

Warplanes also hit smuggling tunnels on the border with Egypt without causing casualties, witnesses said.

Fearing further strikes, Hamas ordered the evacuation of all its security offices, a security source told AFP.

The Israeli military routinely responds after rocket attacks from Gaza, and the army said in a statement that it “holds Hamas solely responsible for terror emanating from the Gaza Strip.”

The airstrikes came after a rocket fired by Gaza militants on Friday slammed into the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, causing no casualties but some damage, and prompting sharp criticism from the United Nations.

The 122 mm Katyusha-type rocket landed next to a high-rise apartment building, damaging parked cars and shattering windows, the military said.

The United Nations condemned the attack, saying that “indiscriminate rocket fire against civilians is completely unacceptable and constitutes a terrorist attack.”

Sirens gave the 125,000 residents a few minutes warning before the rocket hit a residential area.

The port city was frequently targeted by rocket fire from Hamas-run Gaza before Israel launched its devastating three-week offensive on the territory in December 2008.

Just over 100 rockets and mortar rounds have been fired from Gaza at southern Israel so far this year, compared with a daily barrage before the war, but most have not had the range to reach Ashkelon, 10 kilometres (six miles) north of Gaza.

“We call on the de-facto authorities in Gaza to ensure that these kinds of actions do not occur,” a spokesman for UN Middle East peace envoy Robert Serry said.

“Violent actions must not be allowed to undermine progress in the ongoing talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” he added.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday that “Israel takes the firing on Ashkelon very seriously,” according to his office.

Source: SGGP

UN says floods affect 1 million Pakistanis

In Uncategorized on July 31, 2010 at 11:19 am

The United Nations says devastating floods have affected 1 million people in Pakistan. Officials say floods have killed 430 people in the deadliest such disaster to hit the region since 1929.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says the cost of damage from floods was not clear. Rescuers were using army helicopters, heavy trucks and boats to reach flood-hit areas.

A woman sits outside her house flooded by heavy monsoon rains in Peshawar, Pakistan on Friday, July 30, 2010.

Government official Lutfur Rehman said Saturday floodwaters were receding in the northwest, but rescuers were facing problems reaching affected people because of damage caused to roads and bridges.

The flooding capped an already deadly week in Pakistan. A passenger jet slammed into hills overlooking Islamabad killing all 152 people on board Wednesday.

Source: SGGP

Venezuela sends troops to Colombian border: Chavez

In Uncategorized on July 31, 2010 at 11:19 am

President Hugo Chavez said Friday that Venezuela has deployed military units and troops to the Colombian border, because outgoing President Alvaro Uribe is “capable of anything,” as a row escalates between the two.

Chavez broke off diplomatic relations with Colombia on July 22, one week after Uribe accused Venezuela of harboring 1,500 leftist Colombian rebels in its territory, a charge Chavez has strongly denied.

“We’ve deployed military units, air force, infantry, but quietly because we don’t want to upset anybody, the population,” Chavez told state-run VTV television in a telephone interview.

The leftist leader did not say how many troops and exactly what military ordnance was involved in the move.

“Uribe is capable of anything in these last days” before he leaves office on August 7, said Chavez, who had also threatened to cut off oil supplies to the United States if it backed an attack by Colombia, its chief ally in the region.

Last Sunday the president cancelled a trip to Cuba, claiming the risk of a Colombian attack had never been greater.

The Colombian Air Force on Friday said it would set up an air base in Yopal, in eastern Casanares department, to keep an eye over the border area with Venezuela and take on Colombian rebel forces in the region.

The air base will also be tasked with protecting crude oil installations in the region and also with “fighting the different drug trafficking groups in that part of the Colombian territory,” the air force statement said.

Uribe and Chavez have often been at loggerheads in the past. In November, Chavez broke off diplomatic relations over a US-Colombian military base agreement he said was a threat to regional stability. Chavez also did some sabre-rattling at the time.

In their latest tussle, Colombia took its accusations to the Washington-based Organization of American States (OAS) on July 22, while Venezuela earlier this week went before a foreign ministers’ meeting of regional body Unasur, the Union of South American Nations, which called for a presidential summit to try to resolve the crisis.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday said there was a possibility things could be patched up between Caracas and Bogota when Colombian president-elect Juan Manuel Santos takes over from Uribe next week.

“If the new Colombian government fully rectifies (its position) and adopts a posture of absolute respect for Venezuela’s government and our country, we are sure we can build a new path,” Maduro said.

But just a day earlier another top Venezuelan official, Electricity Minister Ali Rodriguez had stoked the rising tensions with Colombia, warning that his government does “not fear war if it is imposed on us.”

Rodriquez said Bogota’s accusations that Venezuela is harboring Colombian guerrilla leaders were a “foul, vulgar and offensive pretext to attack Venezuela.”

Uribe on Friday defended his decision last week to have the OAS take up accusations that Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and National Liberation Army guerrillas were using bases in Venezuela to stage their anti-government attacks on Bogota.

File photo shows Venezuelan troops close to the border with Colombia

“You have to be daring to denounce terrorists on the international level. You must be daring and respectful of the international community, but honest in laying out our claims,” Uribe said.

“It has been a difficult step, one that crates problems, diplomatic frictions, but it’s necessary,” the outgoing president added.

Uribe leaves after eight years in office with an 80 percent approval rating chiefly for his crackdown on the FARC, which has roughly halved its fighting strength to some 7,000 combatants, according to official figures.

Source: SGGP

US casualties in Afghanistan soar to record highs

In Uncategorized on July 31, 2010 at 11:19 am

 In a summer of suffering, America’s military death toll in Afghanistan is rising, with back-to-back record months for U.S. losses in the grinding conflict. All signs point to more bloodshed in the months ahead, straining the already shaky international support for the war.

Six more Americans were reported killed in fighting in the south — three Thursday and three Friday — pushing the U.S. death toll for July to a record 66 and surpassing June as the deadliest month for U.S. forces in the nearly nine-year war.

U.S. officials confirmed the latest American deaths Friday but gave no further details. Five of the latest reported deaths were a result of hidden bombs — the insurgents’ weapon of choice — and the sixth to an armed attack, NATO said in statements.

U.S. commanders say American casualties are mounting because more troops are fighting — and the Taliban are stiffening resistance as NATO and Afghan forces challenge the insurgents in areas they can’t afford to give up without a fight.

“Recent months in Afghanistan have … seen tough fighting and tough casualties. This was expected,” the top U.S. and NATO commander, Gen. David Petraeus, said at his Senate confirmation hearing last month. “My sense is that the tough fighting will continue; indeed, it may get more intense in the next few months.”

That forecast is proving grimly accurate.

The month has brought a sharp increase in the tragic images of war — medics frantically seeking to stop the bleeding of a soldier who lost his leg in a bombing, fearful comrades huddled around a wounded trooper fighting for his life, the solemn scenes at Dover Air Force Bare in Delaware when shattered relatives come to receive the bodies of their loved ones.

After a dip in American deaths last spring following the February capture of the southern town of Marjah, U.S. fatalities have been rising — from 19 in April to 34 in May to 60 in June. Last month’s deaths for the entire NATO-led force reached a record 104, including the 60 Americans. This month’s coalition death count stands at 89, including the 66 Americans.


Some U.S. military officers speculated that the spring drop in fatalities was due in part to the fact that many Taliban fighters in the south — the main focus of NATO operations — were busy harvesting the annual opium poppy crop, a major source of funding for the insurgents.

As the harvest ended and the pace of battle accelerated, more American troops were streaming into the country as part of President Barack Obama’s decision last December to dispatch 30,000 reinforcements in a bid to turn back a resurgent Taliban.

American troop strength stands at about 95,000, and by the end of August the figure is expected to swell to 100,000 — three times the number in early 2009. Commanders say more boots on the ground inevitably means more casualties.

With the additional troops, U.S. commanders have been stepping up the fight against the insurgents in their longtime strongholds such as the Arghandab Valley, Panjwaii and Zhari — all on the outskirts of Kandahar city, the biggest urban area in the ethnic Pashtun south.

Much of the fighting in those areas involves brief but intense exchanges of fire. NATO and Afghan patrols also must maneuver through fields often littered with homemade bombs, which have become the biggest killer of pro-government forces.

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which begins around Aug. 11, may provide some respite in the bloodletting because Taliban fighters and Afghan government forces will be fasting, although some commanders believe the insurgents will keep up the pace in areas where the coalition is trying to step up their own operations.

Fighting around Kandahar is part of a NATO strategy to secure the city, the Taliban’s spiritual birthplace where support for the insurgency runs deep. U.S. commanders have described Kandahar city as the key to controlling the Taliban’s southern heartland because of the city’s symbolic links to the insurgency.

As the U.S. and its allies step up pressure around Kandahar, Taliban resistance has also intensified in Helmand province to the west and in Zabul province to the east. Those three provinces account for roughly 70 percent of the U.S. deaths this month.

“We are going into places that have been significant support bases for the Taliban for the past several years, and they’re going to fight hard for those,” Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez, who directs day-to-day operations, said this month. “And that’s why we expect the casualties to go up.”

The rise in casualties is likely to erode support for the war in Washington and the capitals of the 45 other countries that provide troops — especially if NATO commanders are unable to show progress in curbing the Taliban. The Dutch are due to remove the last of their 1,600-member force at the end of this month, and Canada plans to remove its 2,700 troops next year.

Obama has promised to begin withdrawing U.S. troops in July next year with the pace to be determined by conditions on the ground.

At the same time, there are signs that Afghan patience with the presence of thousands of foreign troops is running thin.

In the capital, Kabul, police fired weapons into the air Friday to disperse a crowd of angry Afghans who shouted “Death to America!”, hurled stones and set fire to two vehicles after an SUV, driven by U.S. contract employees, was involved in a traffic accident that killed four Afghans, according to the capital’s criminal investigations chief, Abdul Ghaafar Sayedzada.

The contractor, DynCorp International, confirmed that its employees, working on a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, were involved in an accident on the main road to the Kabul airport. In a statement, DynCorp said that when its employees got out of their vehicle, they and other DynCorp employees, who arrived at the scene to help, were attacked by the crowd, which burned their vehicles.

NATO and US soldiers are seen standing guard in Kabul

“Our condolences go out to the families of those who were killed or injured,” DynCorp said. “An investigation is under way.”

People at the scene claimed foreigners fired shots, killing and wounding Afghan civilians. DynCorp said the contractors fired no shots and that Afghan police helped move the contractors to safety away from the crowd. Hospital officials said the deaths and injuries were caused by the traffic accident.

Ahmad Jawid, who also was at the scene, asked: “Are we not Muslims? Are we not from Afghanistan? Infidels are here and they are ruling us. Why?”

Source: SGGP

US growth slows fueling fears over recovery

In Uncategorized on July 31, 2010 at 11:18 am

US economic growth slowed dramatically in the second quarter, the government has said, stoking fears that the recovery is losing steam and fueling a fierce political debate over how to respond.

Gross domestic product (GDP) growth fell back sharply to 2.4 percent in the second quarter, the Commerce Department said, slamming the brakes on an already tepid rebound and painting a bleak picture of the road ahead.

“The post-recession rebound is history,” said Bart van Ark, chief economist for The Conference Board, a leading business research group.

In the first quarter, growth hit 3.7 percent, up substantially from the 2.7 percent previously reported by government.

Amid weak consumer spending and a widening trade gap, few took solace from fresh data that appeared to confirm the US recession has ended and only marginally failed to meet analysts’ expectations of 2.5 percent growth.

President Barack Obama admitted more work needs to be done, but stressed the economy was on the right path, pointing to four consecutive quarters of growth.

“Our economy is growing again instead of shrinking. And that’s a welcome sign compared to where we were,” he said in Detroit.

“But we’ve got to keep on increasing that rate of growth and keep adding jobs so we can keep moving forward,” he said.

Revisions to previous GDP data Friday showed the recession was much worse than previously thought, with negative growth reaching a whopping 6.8 percent in the final three months of 2008.

“The fourth quarter of 2008 and first quarter of 2009 had the worst two quarterly declines in 51 years,” said Beth Ann Bovino, a senior economist Standard & Poor’s.

Detailed figures for the April-to-June period showed much of the slowdown came from businesses reining in inventory spending, which had grown rapidly in the wake of the financial crisis.

Increased imports — which are subtracted from the GDP figure, as that money flows abroad — also played a strong role.

Americans bought more, but that spending was tilted toward foreign goods and services.

“Purchases by US residents of goods and services wherever produced — increased 5.1 percent in the second quarter, compared with an increase of 3.9 percent in the first,” the Commerce Department said.

“Imports of goods and services increased 28.8 percent, compared with an increase of 11.2 percent,” in the first quarter, it said.

Friday’s data fueled a fierce debate about whether the government needs to again jump start the economy, and how best that could be done.

Obama has clashed with Republicans over the need for government to help the ailing economy, making spending one of the most fiercely fought political battles in the US capital.

Obama’s critics accuse the president of putting Americans’ future at risk by causing US debt to balloon through ineffective stimulus spending.

In Detroit, Obama touted a 64-billion-dollar bailout that kept the Motor City’s automakers afloat, promoting it as the type of “tough decision” needed to avoid economic depression.

The White House claims one million auto jobs were saved by Obama’s actions, and GM and Chrysler have returned to profit.

Businesses offered a possible bright spot in the Commerce Department’s report, as their investment increased 17 percent in the second quarter, compared with an increase of 7.8 percent in the first.

Shoppers and pedestrians walk past an extrance to Macy’s Department Store in New York.

“Business investment was up substantially,” said Stephen Gallagher of Societe Generale, sounding a note of caution.

“Stronger profits are behind the business investment, but unfortunately, these profits are not sparking as much employment growth.”

According to economist Peter Morici, American consumers will have to start spending again if the recovery is to gain traction.

“Unless spending picks up… once businesses stop piling up unsold goods, layoffs will outnumber hires, unemployment will rise with a vengeance, and the economy will head into a second dip.”

Source: SGGP

Castro accuses US of torture in ‘Cuban Five’ case

In Uncategorized on July 31, 2010 at 11:18 am

  Fidel Castro accused U.S. authorities of torturing a convicted Cuban spy, telling a meeting of communist youths that the agent had been placed in solitary confinement in California.

At the meeting was former castaway Elian Gonzalez, now 16, who could be seen listening intently to the ex-Cuban president when footage of the closed-door session aired on state-run television Friday night.

Castro, who turns 84 on Aug. 13, is suddenly making near daily appearances in and around Havana, after spending four years almost completely out of the public eye following emergency intestinal surgery that forced him to cede power to his younger brother Raul.

In this photo released by the state media Cubadebate web site, Cuba’s former leader Fidel Castro, right, shakes hands with Yailin Orta Rivera, Juventud Rebelde journalist and professor at the Communications College at the University of Havana, during a meeting with youth at the Havana Convention Center in Havana, Cuba, Friday July 30, 2010.

He has occasionally turned up in green fatigues similar to the military uniform that had been his trademark during nearly half a century in power. This time, however, Castro wore a red-checkered shirt and gray pants while speaking for a bit more than an hour in Havana’s convention center.

Looking relaxed and engaged, Castro spoke about the case of Gerardo Hernandez, who is serving a double life sentence on counts of conspiracy to murder four Miami-based pilots who were slain by Cuban jets in 1996 when they were dispersing pro-democracy pamphlets on the island.

Hernandez is one of the so-called “Cuban Five” intelligence agents that Cuba says it sent to the U.S. to infiltrate anti-Castro groups linked to 1990s hotel bombings and other terrorists attacks on Cuban soil. The five were convicted in the U.S. of spying.

Castro said Hernandez has been placed in solitary confinement at a prison in Victorville, California.

“Did he do anything? No, nothing,” he said. “Four FBI officials met to decide and they decided. That’s torture. There’s nothing else to call it, it’s torture, and its occurring in view of the whole world.”

Castro also said Hernandez was in need of medical treatment he was not receiving.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Interests Section in Havana — which Washington maintains instead of an embassy — referred questions about the case to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which said it was up to authorities at the Victorville facility to comment. Two calls to representatives at the prison went unanswered Friday.

Complaints that Hernandez had been placed in solitary confinement have been made throughout the week by Ricardo Alarcon, speaker of the Cuban parliament, which convenes Sunday for one of its two full sessions a year.

“It was very emotional to again see the commander. I missed seeing him and it makes me very happy,” said Gonzalez, who was the center of a nasty international custody battle a decade ago and was frequently visited by Castro after he returned to Cuba.

When asked if he had any advice for Cuban youth, Castro said, “we can’t focus on the future with the concepts and images of the past.”

“Everything is new,” he said, “you have to let your imagination soar.”

But Castro repeated a warning of coming nuclear war, which he has claimed for weeks will pit the U.S. and Israel against Iran, and be worsened by tensions between North and South Korea.

“Why do our children and adolescents have to die?” Castro asked.

Source: SGGP

Curfew in Indian Kashmir as fourth protester dies

In Uncategorized on July 31, 2010 at 11:18 am

Troops enforced a curfew in major towns in Indian Kashmir on Saturday as a fourth person died from injuries suffered when soldiers opened fire to quell demonstrators the previous day.

Three people were killed Friday in two separate incidents when security forces opened fire to disperse angry anti-India protesters in the northern towns of Sopore and Patan.

On Saturday, police said a fourth man, who had been seriously injured in the shooting at Patan, died in hospital early in the morning, raising the death toll to four.

The fresh death came as authorities placed most of the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley under curfew.

“A curfew is in force in Srinagar and other major towns of the Kashmir Valley,” a police spokesman said.

Indian police gather near shops during clashes with demonstrators in Srinagar on July 30

Srinagar, Indian Kashmir’s summer capital, wore a deserted look as troops carrying rifles and batons patrolled the streets.

Police and paramilitary forces were also deployed in strength in big towns to prevent demonstrations, the spokesman said.

Srinagar has been the focus of protests since June 11 when a 17-year-old student died after being hit by a police teargas shell.

Indian police and paramilitary forces, who have been struggling to control the wave of protests in the valley, have been accused of killing 21 civilians in less than two months.

Each death has sparked a new cycle of violence despite appeals for calm from state Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram.

The insurgency against New Delhi’s rule of Kashmir has claimed tens of thousands of lives, though the recent unrest is the worst for two years.

Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan each hold Kashmir in part but claim it in full and have fought two of their three wars over the region since the partition of the subcontinent in 1947.

Separatist politicians and armed rebels reject Indian rule in Kashmir and want to merge with Muslim-majority Pakistan or carve out an independent state.

Source: SGGP

Who manages when securities company leaders join market?

In Uncategorized on July 31, 2010 at 7:19 am

When stocks rise, financial leverages have been exerted by not only investors but employees in securities companies as well.

When stocks rise, financial leverages have been exerted by not only investors but employees in securities companies as well

When the stock market enjoy a slight rise, many securities companies allowed investors to buys a stock on high margin, some very important persons can borrow from the companies to buy securities without money or just little in their account.

Those received special treatment are general directors, directors or employees in stock companies.

When the market headed for 600 points in last October, securities company leaders colluded with some VIP to take money from the company to buy many stocks.

They had only VND20billion but they bought a large quantity of stocks worth up to VND170 billion; however, VN-Index plunges to 430 points, the stocks value decreased by over 30 percent, the group decided to keep the stock with the hope that it will increase again.

The market has maintained below 500 points, the stocks are worth around VND100billion. The group lost VND70billion not including interest. At present, the VIP have made their transaction in other companies, leaders are ordered to pay the debt.

Another loophole is that securities companies allow investors to withdraw their profit right after they gain although they have not yet paid their loan.

Above-mentioned investors usually borrowed money from banks on one-year contracts. Investors must settle these contracts which nearly fall due. Securities companies are under high pressure to seek for new sources of capital or sell all these stocks. Massive selling of these stocks will influence to the market in the current market when VN-Index hovered around 490 points.

It is high time that securities companies and the State Securities Commission must implemented practical measures to protect the market.

Source: SGGP

Fashion show highlights Vietnamese hairstyles

In Uncategorized on July 31, 2010 at 7:19 am

Hairstyles of ancient Hanoi’s women

The Davines Hairshow 2010, featuring Vietnamese hairstyles, will be held in Hanoi on July 31.

This year’s theme of “So near, so far” will bring images hairstyles seen on roads, street corners and women of ancient Hanoi to the audience through various art forms including dance, music, fine arts and movies.

Veteran hair stylists such as Minh Tam, Hong Phuong, Hai Linh, Tran Hung, and young designers Justin Manh, Pham Hoang Anh, Pham Dinh Khanh Duy and Do Duy Tung are set to participate.
The hair fashion show, organized by Davines, one of Italy’s leading hair care companies, aims to honor the beauty of contemporary women’s hairstyles and has been held previously in a variety of beautiful cities around the world since 1996.


Source: SGGP

Ceausescu remains exhumed to check identity

In Uncategorized on July 31, 2010 at 7:18 am

 Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena’s remains were being exhumed Wednesday from a Bucharest graveyard in order to check their identity, their son-in-law Mircea Opran said.

“Today, the corpses will be exhumed in order to get samples for DNA testing. We have to know if it is really them who are buried here”, Opran told private TV channel Realitatea.

Opran is the husband of the late daughter of the Ceausescus, Zoe.

Elena Ceaucescu (L) and ousted Romanian President Nicolae Ceaucescu (R) on television 25 December 1989 in Bucharest during their trial

A cemetery official told AFP that the exhumation had already begun on Wednesday morning.

Nicolae Ceausescu ruled Romania with an iron hand from 1965 until 1989.

After street protests against his communist regime, he and his wife fled Bucharest in December 1989. Arrested a few hours later, they were summarily tried and executed on December 25 1989.

Their remains were buried in Ghencea military graveyard, authorities said.

Source: SGGP