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Palestinian activists urge Hamas to probe own Gaza war crimes
Eleven Palestinian human rights organizations have called on the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas government in Gaza to endorse the Goldstone report by investigating Palestinian violations of international law allegedly committed during operation Cast Lead.


US accused of annexing airport as squabbling hinders aid effort in Haiti
The US military's takeover of emergency operations in Haiti has triggered a diplomatic row with countries and aid agencies furious at having flights redirected. Brazil and France lodged an official protest with Washington after US military aircraft were given priority at Port-au-Prince's congested airport, forcing many non-US flights to divert to the Dominican Republic.


Straw privately warned Blair that Iraq invasion was legally dubious
Jack Straw privately warned Tony Blair that an invasion of Iraq was legally dubious, questioned what such action would achieve, and challenged US claims about the threat from Saddam Hussein, it was revealed today . ... Straw warned of two legal "elephant traps". He said, "regime change per se is no justification for military action", and "the weight of legal advice here is that a fresh [UN] mandate may well be required".


At Rome synagogue, Pope defends Nazi-era Vatican
Pope Benedict XVI used his first visit to Rome's synagouge on Sunday to defend the oft-criticized actions of the Vatican during the Holocaust, saying the Church had "acted in a discreet and hidden way." The pope made the comments after a Jewish leader bluntly told the pontiff that his wartime predecessor Pius XII was "silent" in the face of the genocide of the Jewish people in Europe, and should have spoken out more forcefully against the Holocaust.


FBI uses MP's photo for Bin Laden
A Spanish MP has been horrified to learn that the FBI used an online photograph of him to create an image showing what Osama bin Laden might look like in the present day. The image using Gaspar Llamazares' photo appeared on a wanted poster updating the US government's 1998 photo of the al-Qaeda leader.


Drug-resistant HIV set for rapid upsurge
HIV is striking back against the antiretroviral drugs that keep it largely in check in rich countries, thanks both to its exposure to the major drugs and to individuals who don't realise they're infected and so spread resistant strains to new partners. Drug-resistant strains of HIV have already been documented in San Francisco and elsewhere in the US, and Europe. Now a model of their transmission, based on studies of gay San Francisco men, forecasts a rapid upsurge in the next five years.


Stoke-on-Trent: Britain's first green city
It's an employment blackspot, its industrial might a thing of the past. So who'd have thought Stoke-on-Trent would be the first city to sign up to the 10:10 environmental campaign?


Argentina law rekindles tensions
Argentina's senate has passed a landmark bill that could force hundreds of people to take DNA tests to see if their parents were some of the thousands who disappeared during the country's so-called Dirty War.


Four ways to feed the world
IT IS humanity's oldest enemy. Despite all our science, a sixth of people in the developing world are chronically hungry. At a summit in Rome this week, world leaders reaffirmed a pledge to end hunger "at the earliest possible date". The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) wanted them to promise to end hunger by 2025, but the delegates declined. They said instead that they would keep trying to meet their previous goal: to halve chronic hunger from 20 per cent of people in developing countries to 10 per cent by 2015. But can they? Based on their performance so far, the FAO considers it "unlikely".


In Nod to Global Warming, Navy Preps for ‘Ice Free’ Arctic
The dwindling Arctic ice cap has launched an international race for control of northern waters: Russia, Canada, Denmark, and even China are hustling to expand their military presence, plant flags and eye those 90 billion barrels of natural gas under the cap. Now the U.S. Navy’s getting ready for the thaw, with a strategic plan to maximize the U.S. stake up north.


Sad day for democracy in Rwand
They moved hundreds of kilometers - some for the first time to the capital. Others braved the trouble of having to move with babies. Some abandoned their jobs to be in Kigali for the event that did not happen. Up to 900 supposed delegates of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda (DGPR) found themselves at the center of an unexpected controversy, RNA reports. (editor's note) The original source for this story, The Rwanda News Agency, has removed it. Fortunately the content was posted elsewhere.


Taiwan Aboriginal Village Targeted for Nuclear Waste Disposal
Taiwan has tried and failed to sell its nuclear waste to North Korea and China. Now, the government is seeking a burial place at home. The top choice is a poor aboriginal community.


Parties boycott Sudan conference
Several Sudanese parties have boycotted a conference where political parties are trying to reach a "national consensus" on issues such as the 2011 referendum on the future of south Sudan.


Israel should pay attention to criticism from its own people
I met Judge Richard Goldstone at The Hague at the height of the Bosnian war, a small, dapper man whose belief in the righteousness of justice shone through his every word. As head of the War Crimes Tribunal for ex-Yugoslavia, he pursued the blood-drenched gangsters of the Balkans - Croat Catholic, Bosnian Muslim, Serb Orthodox - with Nuremberg-like persistence. He believed that one day even Slobodan Milosevic would be brought to book. I doubted this. But he was right, as they say, and I was wrong. He was Jewish - and not afraid to talk of his hatred of apartheid in his native South Africa - and I thought he was a fine man.


Afghan Opposition Leader Charges Election Fraud


Climate change: melting ice will trigger wave of natural disasters
Scientists at a London conference next week will warn of earthquakes, avalanches and volcanic eruptions as the atmosphere heats up and geology is altered. Even Britain could face being struck by tsunamis


British energy firm in the dock over Amazon project
It sounds like a recipe for environmental catastrophe: 42,000 bags of cement, 10,000 planks and a fleet of tractors being airlifted deep into the Amazon rainforest to establish whether a remote and unspoiled region of northern Peru can be turned into Latin America's next great oilfield.


Fresh fighting hits Yemen's north
Fighting between Houthi fighters and Yemen's national army has begun again after a short-lived ceasefire broke down. A military spokesman said on Saturday that fighting was fiercest in al-Malahid and Hafr Sufyan, mountainous regions of the northern Saada province.


California encourages buildings that are sure to burn
Arnie might want to rethink this one. In a classic case of a perverse incentive, California state law actually encourages homeowners to build in brushy canyons prone to massive wildfires like the "Station fire", which burned over 350,000 hectares and destroyed dozens of homes near Los Angeles this month.


Playing the 'Anti-Semitism' Card Against Venezuela
In the early morning hours of January 31, vandals broke into Tiferet Israel, a Sephardic synagogue in Caracas. They strewed sacred scrolls on the floor and scribbled "Death to the Jews" and other anti-Semitic epithets on the walls, before making off with computer equipment and historical artifacts. Understandably, the incident frightened and upset many in the Venezuelan Jewish community. Right away, U.S. news outlets, including The New York Times and The Miami Herald, linked the incident to Venezuela's increasingly strained relations with Israel, after the two countries suspended diplomatic relations two weeks earlier over Israel's bombing of Gaza, then still under way.


Pro-Israel group: Obama settlements policy backs 'ethnic cleansing' of Jews
A pro-Israel lobby group in the U.S. has launched a project intent on shifting the focus of the Obama administration away from West Bank settlements, claiming they are not an obstacle to peace and that their evacuation would amount to "ethnic cleansing."


For the truth, look to Tehran and Damascus - not Tripoli
Forget all the nonsense spouted by our beloved Foreign Secretary. He's all too happy to express his outrage. The welcome given to Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi in Tripoli was a perfect deviation from what the British Government is trying to avoid. It's called the truth, not that Mr Miliband would know much about it. It was Megrahi's decision - not that of his lawyers - to abandon the appeal that might have told us the truth about Lockerbie. The British would far rather he return to the land of the man who wrote The Green Book on the future of the world (the author, a certain Col Muammar Gaddafi, also wrote Escape to Hell and Other Stories) than withstand the typhoon of information that an appeal would have revealed.


Worldwide battle rages for control of the internet
WHEN thousands of protestors took to the streets in Iran following this year's disputed presidential election, Twitter messages sent by activists let the world know about the brutal policing that followed. A few months earlier, campaigners in Moldova used Facebook to organise protests against the country's communist government, and elsewhere too the internet is playing an increasing role in political dissent.


Amazon defender quits party, eyes Brazil election
Brazil's former environment minister, Marina Silva, said on Wednesday she is leaving the ruling Workers' Party, paving the way for an expected presidential run in the October 2010 election. Silva, a senator and a famed defender of the Amazon rain forest who quit President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's government last year, has been considering an invitation to join the Green Party and run as its presidential candidate.


Now, Sarkozy's minister calls for ban on burqa
In comments that could reignite the 'burqa' controversy in France, a Muslim woman minister from the country has sought a "ban" on the veil, arguing that it could help stem the spread of radical Islam.


Possible Brazil candidate wants green election choice
Brazil's former environment minister and potential 2010 presidential candidate, Marina Silva, told Reuters on Friday it is time to put the environment on the election agenda in Latin America's biggest country. Silva said last week she is considering running for president as the Green Party candidate in the October 2010 presidential election, a move that could further undermine the chances of Dilma Rousseff, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's chief of staff and chosen candidate.


Havel to support the Green Party in October election
Czech former president Václav Havel will support the Green party in the upcoming October early elections, according to the Greens leader Ondřej Liška.


Afghanistan passes 'barbaric' law diminishing women's rights
Afghanistan has quietly passed a law permitting Shia men to deny their wives food and sustenance if they refuse to obey their husbands' sexual demands, despite international outrage over an earlier version of the legislation which President Hamid Karzai had promised to review. The new final draft of the legislation also grants guardianship of children exclusively to their fathers and grandfathers, and requires women to get permission from their husbands to work.


Will Venezuelan Destabilization Follow the Honduran Coup?
After ten and a half years in office, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is very savvy about America's intentions. On January 17th, even before Barack Obama's inauguration as U.S. president, he said Obama has the "same stench" of his predecessor as US president and was at risk of being killed if he tries to change the American "empire."


Ministers must explain destruction of 'torture flight' papers, says panel of MPs
Ministers must explain why crucial documents relating to CIA "torture flights" that stopped on sovereign British territory were destroyed, a panel of MPs has said. A damning appraisal by the influential foreign affairs select committee on Britain's role in the rendition of terror suspects and alleged complicity of torture condemns the government's lack of transparency on vital areas of concern.


Female bosses more likely to be sexually harassed
Women who hold supervisory positions are more susceptible to workplace sexual harassment, according to a new study. During the study, nearly 50 percent of women supervisors, but only one-third of women who do not supervise others, reported sexual harassment in the workplace.


Jewish Fatah member nominated for party''s Revolutionary Council
A Jewish member of Fatah was nominated for a spot on the party's Revolutionary Council on Saturday, the Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported. Dr. Uri Davis told Ma'an that one of Fatah's weakest attributes has been its failure to establish ties with international parties, movements and human rights organizations, and promised to step up efforts, if elected.


Bullet in the post is price of power for an enemy of Mugabe
Attempts by President Robert Mugabe's old guard to derail Zimbabwe's democratic progress are mere "sulks from a dying breed", according to the Finance Minister, Tendai Biti.


Consumerism is 'eating the future'
We're a gloomy lot, with many of us insisting that there's nothing we can do personally about global warming, or that the human race is over-running the planet like a plague. But according to leading ecologists speaking this week in Albuquerque at the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America, few of us realise that the main cause of the current environmental crisis is human nature.


Battle for Europe's last ancient forest
A contest between competing needs of conservation and economic growth is threatening the future of large parts of Europe's last ancient forest. The 380,000-acre Bialowieza Primeval Forest, which straddles the border between Poland and Belarus, is one of the largest unpopulated woodlands remaining in Europe. It has been a Unesco World Heritage Site since 1979, is home to the continent's largest herd of bison, and resembles - in appearance and the self-contained food chain it supports - the fabled wildwood that covered much of Europe's plain, and, indeed, England before man intervened.


Russia To Station More Troops in Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan on Aug. 1 agreed to allow Russia to station more troops in the Central Asian country as Moscow seeks to increase its military influence in the region.


Turkey-Iraq-USA Tripartite Mechanism Meeting Held In Ankara
The third ministerial meeting of the tripartite mechanism formed by Turkey, Iraq and the United States to develop their cooperation in the fight against the PKK terrorist organization was held in Ankara. Turkish Interior Minister Besir Atalay, Iraqi Minister of State for National Security Shirwan al-Waili and Multinational Force in Iraq Deputy Commander Gen. Steven Hummer were in attendance at the meeting.


No rain in sight, govt prepares back-up plan
The finance ministry on Monday indicated that the government was preparing a back-up plan in case of failure of monsoon as it has already impacted crop sowing in a large part of the country. The finance ministry made an assessment of the drought-like situation recently and found that there had been delay in sowing of kharif crops like rice, groundnut, soyabean and cereals. The states that were majorly affected include Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Orissa and Punjab. Finance secretary Ashok Chawla on Monday said though the situation was not yet clear as to the actual impact of deficient rains, the government was concerned at the delayed monsoon and a "back-up plan will be required".


Israel may confiscate more Palestinian land
The government is considering confiscating privately-owned Palestinian land near the West Bank settlement of Ofra, contrary to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's pledge during his Bar-Ilan speech not to take such actions. This announcement was made by the state prosecutor, in response to a High Court petition filed by a resident of the West Bank town Ein Yabrud and the human rights association Yesh Din.


Passwords for Brazilian jobless site insult users
It's a shameless thing to do in an economic crisis. Jobless people seeking information about their benefits on the Brazilian Labor Ministry's Web site were forced to type in passwords such as "bum" and "shameless."


Turkey Says Cyprus Talks Can Not Go On Forever
Turkish government spokesman Cemil Cicek said Monday that Cyprus talks can not continue for ever, adding that a comprehensive solution can be reached within this year


Obama's modern realism is awakening the ghost of old world imperialism
Barack Obama, the first black President in the history of the United States, continues to enjoy the adoration of the liberal elite among his compatriots. Less decisively but also importantly his foreign policy based on disengagement from conflict zones, including most famously Iraq, has struck a chord with the American masses, who have become uncomfortable with seemingly endless wars in alien cities with unpronounceable names.


Israel stops aid ship to Gaza
The Israeli navy has intercepted an aid ship on its way to Gaza, pro-Palestinian activists say. Members of the US-based Free Gaza Movement, who were on board the boat, said on Tuesday the Israeli navy threatened to open fire unless they turned the boat around.


Coup in Honduras
School of the Americas-Trained Military Detains and Expels Democratically-Elected President Zelaya


Iran rallies planned amid clampdown
Anti-government protesters in Iran have announced they are to hold another rally in the capital to dispute the veracity of a presidential election. Supporters of candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi called on Wednesday for a rally to go ahead at 5pm local time (1330 GMT), despite the authorities imposing a ban on the opposition gatherings.


Iran Uprising Changes Nuclear Calculus
The Iran Uprising is a game changer. The regime has been delegitimized for large portions of the Iranian population. If Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prevails--and that is by no means certain--he will be greatly weakened, handcuffed in his ability to play the nuclear card as a nationalist rallying cry. Pressed at home, the regime will need to show some gains internationally; the nuclear issue must be compromised to realize those gains.


We don't have Mousavi supporters, it's now all of Iran...
Today, under slate skies and despite official warnings that the permit to march had been denied, against rumors that orders had been given to shoot to kill, they came. They came by the tens if not hundreds of thousands, marching east to west along the many kilometers of Enqelab Street to Azadi, or Freedom Square. "It would be dishonorable, na mardi, to not go," a young couple explained. "We have to go." Another man asks who is going, what is going on? He is told that the "Mousavi-chiha" are marching starting at 4. He laughs, "Mousavi-chiha nadarim, hame ye Iran hastand!" We don't have Mousavi supporters, it's now all of Iran...


El Salvador elects its first leftist president, TV host Mauricio Funes
Mauricio Funes, a television journalist whose party once fought a bloody guerrilla war in El Salvador, today became the country's first leftist president amid emotional symbols of landmark change.


Dying for democracy: Tiananmen Square, remembered
The Western world had been on "death watch" for weeks, preparing for the demise of Ayatollah Khomeini, inspiration of Iran's Islamic revolution. But history has a way of frustrating even the best laid plans. And when Iran's supreme leader eventually breathed his last, the news was utterly, and brutally, eclipsed: the Chinese army had mounted an all-out assault on the ceremonial heart of Beijing, ruthlessly evicting student protesters from Tiananmen Square, and reimposing communist rule in a ferocious exercise of force.


Robert Fisk: The mysterious case of the Israeli spy ring, Hizbollah and the Lebanese ballot
Spying is as familiar in Beirut as it was in post-war Vienna - there's even a giant "Third Man" - type ferris wheel here – but the events of the last few days are growing more mysterious by the hour. Over the past two weeks, a special unit of Lebanon's Internal Security Force (ISF) has been arresting a clutch of Lebanese allegedly working as spies for Israel.


Rules of high seas could lead to Arctic 'pole of peace'
It's too late to persuade the world's countries to agree formally to keep their hands off the Arctic, according to a leading polar researcher. But thanks to an ignored piece of international law, a large chunk of the Arctic is already effectively beyond the reach of any individual nation - and that might be the starting point in ensuring that the North Pole remains a "pole of peace".


China fears riots will spread as boom goes sour
They surged into the grimy streets around the factory: first scores, then hundreds, then more than a thousand, as word spread and tension loaded the stale, grey air. The boldest overturned a police van and smashed up motorcycles, then tore through the building destroying computers and equipment. The mood was exhilarated, angry and frightened.


BBC crisis over refusal to broadcast Gaza appeal
The BBC was in crisis tonight as politicians including government ministers, religious leaders and senior members of its own staff condemned the decision not to broadcast a charity appeal to help the stricken people of Gaza rebuild their homes.


Israel forms war crime defence team
Daniel Friedman, the Israeli justice minister, has been appointed to lead a defence team should war crimes charges be brought following the 22-day war on Gaza.


Iceland's Left-Green party head says ready to rule
Steingrimur Sigfusson, Chairman of the Left-Green Party told Reuters in an interview he wanted elections as soon as possible and that he was prepared to become prime minister if his party wins enough support, as recent polls suggest they will.


The End of the Two-State Solution?
Since its establishment in 1948, Israel has fought seven wars against its neighbors, including the recent war in Gaza. If you add the Palestinians' first and second Intifada in the occupied territories, the total rises to nine.


A few months ago, Van Jones, the founder and president of a group called Green for All, went to visit New Bedford, Massachusetts. His first stop of the day was the public library, where someone had assembled an audience of about thirty high-school dropouts. They leaned back in their chairs, hands in the pockets of their oversized sweatshirts. A few appeared to be stoned.


Livni: Gaza battle isn`t one-time conflict, won't end in accord
Foreign Minister Tzip Livni said Sunday that Israel's war with Hamas is not a one-time conflict that will end with an agreement.


Gaza residents: IDF troops posing as Hamas men
The testimonies of Gaza Strip residents are revealing new details about the Israel Defense Forces' mode of operation there. In the past two days, Beit Lahia residents forced from their homes said soldiers were posing as members of Hamas' armed wing while advancing on the ground.


No more free passes for Israel
Every day I look for letters from the Maine Jewish community condemning Israel's genocidal bombing of trapped, starving Palestinian civilians, mostly women and children. The Israelis are even bombing schools and hospitals. Such barbarism must surely be repulsive to many in Maine's Jewish communities, but I search in vain for a word from them.


Medicinal plants on verge of extinction
THE health of millions could be at risk because medicinal plants used to make traditional remedies, including drugs to combat cancer and malaria, are being overexploited. "The loss of medicinal plant diversity is a quiet disaster," says Sara Oldfield, secretary general of the NGO Botanic Gardens Conservation International.


Photographers criminalised as police 'abuse' anti-terror laws
Reuben Powell is an unlikely terrorist. A white, middle-aged, middle-class artist, he has been photographing and drawing life around the capital's Elephant & Castle for 25 years. With a studio near the 1960s shopping centre at the heart of this area in south London, he is a familiar figure and is regularly seen snapping and sketching the people and buildings around his home - currently the site of Europe's largest regeneration project. But to the police officers who arrested him last week his photographing of the old HMSO print works close to the local police station posed an unacceptable security risk.


Europe faces energy crisis as Vladimir Putin cuts Russian gas supply
As temperatures dropped below zero across much of Europe, the Russian prime minister instructed the head of Gazprom: "Cut it - starting today" The cut was ordered to punish neighbouring Ukraine, which Russia accuses of topping up its own gas supply by siphoning off energy meant for European consumers and sent through its pipelines.


Darwin missed 'earliest' Galapagos species
It is one of the most studied parts of the world, and played a major part in shaping Darwin's thinking about the origin of species - yet the Galapagos Islands continue to give more to our understanding of biology


Civilian casualties escalate in Gaza
Wounded Palestinians pour into overrun hospitals as Israel continues to pound the Gaza Strip in the 10th day of its offensive


Why mountains are bad for the ozone layer
"MOUNTAIN waves" in the atmosphere above Antarctica create rare clouds that are helping destroy the ozone layer.


The Grinning Skull: The Homicides You Didn't Hear About in Hurricane Katrina
A.C. Thompson, a reporter for The Nation and ProPublica, interviews the gunmen responsible for a slew of post-Katrina vigilante shootings.


Ancient skills 'could reverse global warming'
Ancient techniques pioneered by pre-Columbian Amazonian Indians are about to be pressed into service in Britain and Central America in the most serious commercial attempt yet to reverse global warming. Trials are to be started in Sussex and Belize early in the new year, backed with venture capital from Silicon Valley, on techniques to take carbon from the atmosphere and bury it in the soil, where it should act as a powerful fertiliser.


Tel Aviv police seize boat planning to deliver aid to Gaza
The Israeli Arab Islamist Movement organized what was to have been the first boat journey from Israel to the Gaza Strip with humanitarian supplies. But police in the port of Jaffa instructed the boat's owner not to set off for Gaza and ordered him to move the vessel to the nearby Tel Aviv marina, where it was put under watch.


Homosexuality needs to be curbed as it spreads HIV/AIDS
Justifying criminalisation of homosexuality in the country, the Centre has pleaded before the Delhi High that it is one of the main reasons for spread of HIV/AIDS and needs to be curbed. In a written submission filed by Additional Solicitor General P P Malhotra, the Centre said that legalising Men having sex with Men (MSM), as pleaded by gay rights activists, would lead to spread of the dreaded disease and placed reports of various countries to substantiate its stand.


Mugabe must be toppled now - Archbishop of York
In an extraordinary and passionate outburst, the Archbishop of York is calling for President Robert Mugabe to be toppled from power and face trial for crimes against humanity,


Israeli security forces waiting for Hebron colonists to exact 'price tag'
Security forces braced on Friday for more violence after Israeli hard-liners again went on a rampage against Palestinians in retaliation for the eviction of settlers from an illegally occupied Hebron house. The entire southern Occupied West Bank was declared a closed military zone to prevent Israelis from converging again on the flashpoint city where a mob of Jewish settlers on Thursday shot and wounded three Palestinians, hurled rocks at others and torched homes, fields and cars.


Low cost solutions must to overcome terrorism, poverty and climate change
Union Minister of Science, Technology and Earth Sciences Kapil Sibal has emphasized the need for low cost technological solutions to overcome the challenges of terrorism, poverty and climate change. Delivering the inaugural address at the 14th Technology Summit and Technology Platform in New Delhi today he called upon the scientists and technologists to do science globally and implement technology locally.


India's sex trade exposed
On the streets of Kamathipura young women stand ready and available, looking to lure their next customer. They pose, they smile, some wave. They look terribly young, their faces heavy with make-up. Many are dressed in Western clothes, others in traditional saris. In this red light district of Mumbai, they stand on the kerbside in front of grimy shacks containing the beds on which they do their work. There is the hustle and chaos of the traffic, the clogged roads, the constant noise. And there is terrible sadness too.


Commercial ship travels through Northwest Passage for first time
CBC News is reporting that a commercial ship has travelled for the first time through the Northwest Passage this fall to deliver supplies to communities in western Nunavut.


Faroe islanders told to stop eating 'toxic' whales
Chief medical officers of the Faroe Islands have recommended that pilot whales no longer be considered fit for human consumption, because they are toxic - as revealed by research on the Faroes themselves.


Colombia leads rallies demanding hostages' release
Thousands of people in Colombia, France and Spain turned out Friday to urge Colombian rebel group FARC to free hundreds of hostages, five months after they released Ingrid Betancourt, who fears other captives are being forgotten


Yemen protesters clash with police
Seven people, including two policemen, have been injured in clashes between security forces and opposition activists in Yemen's capital Sanaa, witnesses say. The clashes took place on Thursday as protesters gathered to call for a boycott of parliamentary elections due to take place next year


Nobody supports the Taliban, but people hate the government
The collapse of Afghanistan is closer than the world believes. Kandahar is in Taliban hands - all but a square mile at the centre of the city - and the first Taliban checkpoints are scarcely 15 miles from Kabul. Hamid Karzai's deeply corrupted government is almost as powerless as the Iraqi cabinet in Baghdad's "Green Zone"; lorry drivers in the country now carry business permits issued by the Taliban which operate their own courts in remote areas of the country.


Obama's First Test
The series of terror attacks in Mumbai comes at a sensitive time for the US. President Bush is no longer in a position to lead, and President-elect Barack Obama has not yet been given the reins. Still, the attacks represent Obama's first foreign policy test. The mood was a festive one on Wednesday in Washington D.C. Just like every year before Thanksgiving, US President George W. Bush "pardoned a turkey -- this year's version was named Pumpkin. President-elect Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, for their part, joined TV legend Barbara Walters for a chat. The atmosphere was relaxed -- they talked, for example, about how the Obama daughters would be in charge of making their own beds when they moved into the White House in January. But then the images from the terror attacks in Mumbai began flickering across the television screen. And suddenly, the pre-holiday calm in Washington and Chicago, where Obama's transition team is headquartered, came to an abrupt end.


Election setback for Chavez's leftist revolution
The political map of Venezuela has been redrawn, after results from state and local elections showed the opposition to Hugo Chavez's leftist "revolution" was sweeping back to power in the capital, Caracas, and its three most populous states.


Russian warships enter Venezuela
Russian warships have sailed into a Venezuelan port in the first deployment of its kind in the Caribbean since the end of the Cold War. The vessels were greeted by a 21-gun military salute on Tuesday at the start of a week of joint manoeuvres as Moscow and Caracas seek to strengthen their political and trade ties.


Last great US fishery in danger of collapse
Heard of the walleye pollack? If you're partial to a McDonald's Filet-o-Fish burger, you have probably eaten it. It is one of the main reasons white fish is still available to eat, despite the collapse of many cod fisheries. But now walleye pollack, which accounts for a third of the total US fish catch, is itself in danger.


Synthetic Viruses Could Explain Animal-to-Human Jumps
In a technical tour de force with potentially profound implications for the study of emerging diseases, researchers have built the largest-ever self-replicating organism from scratch. The organism is a virus based on genome sequences taken from a bat-borne version of SARS, a lethal respiratory disease that jumped from animals to humans in 2002. The synthetic virus could help explain how SARS evolved, and the same approach could be used to investigate other species-hopping killers.


Kabul 30 years ago, and Kabul today. Have we learned nothing?
I sit on the rooftop of the old Central Hotel - pharaonic-decorated elevator, unspeakable apple juice, sublime green tea, and armed Tajik guards at the front door - and look out across the smoky red of the Kabul evening. The Bala Hissar fort glows in the dusk, massive portals, the great keep to which the British army should have moved its men in 1841. Instead, they felt the king should live there and humbly built a cantonment on the undefended plain, thus leading to a "signal catastrophe".


Conservationists plan 'doomsday vault' for frog sperm
The freezer could be the future for frogs and other amphibians. Efforts announced today are currently underway around the world to boost amphibian numbers with cryopreservation and assisted reproduction.


Mining for minerals fuels Congo conflict
The conflict in eastern Congo is being fueled and funded by a tussle for mineral resources that end up in cell phones, laptops and other electronics - deepening the stakes in a war that sprung out of festering hatreds from the Rwandan genocide.


Climate change at the poles IS man-made
Changes to the climate due to human activity can now be detected on every continent, following a study showing that temperature rises in the Antarctic as well as the Arctic are the result of man-made emissions of greenhouse gases.


Robert Fisk: Scandal of six held in Guantanamo even after Bush plot claim is dropped
In the dying days of the Bush administration, yet another presidential claim in the "war on terror" has been proved false by the withdrawal of the main charge against six Algerians held without trial for nearly seven years at Guantanamo prison camp.


Russia replaces Ingushetia leader
Russia has appointed Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, a paratroop commander, as the new leader of Ingushetia. Dmitry Medvedev, Russia's president, dismissed Murat Zyazikov as president of the region, which is a federal subject of Russia, in an attempt to quell unrest there. The mainly Muslim region has been suffering from almost daily gunfights, ambushes and explosions, alarming the Kremlin which is anxious to avoid a repeat of the separatist conflict which hit neighbouring Chechnya.


Khamenei outlines history behind enmity for Washington
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that "hatred" of Washington in the Islamic Republic was "deep-seated" because of past US agression against his country. "This conflict goes far beyond having differences over a few political issues," Khamenei told students in a speech, quoted by state television ahead of the 29th anniversary of the 1979 hostage-taking at the US Embassy.


Elections: The involution of Islamic parties?
Jakarta - Over the past few years, surveys on support for Islamic parties have been consistently disheartening. Support for such parties has ranged between 0.1 and 7 percent, with the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) at the top and PPNUI at the bottom.


Oz parliament may scrap Lord's prayer
The speaker of Australia's parliament has called for a public debate about whether the country's lawmakers should end the practice of starting each session with the Lord's Prayer.


Lieberman: Mubarak can 'go to hell'; Egypt responds: Lieberman is a racist
President Shimon Peres issued an official apology to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Wednesday, after right-wing MK Avigdor Lieberman said earlier that the Egyptian president could "go to hell."


Iraq seeks to ban U.S. attacks on neighbors
Iraq wants a security agreement with the United States to include a clear ban on U.S. troops using Iraqi territory to attack the country's neighbors, the government spokesman said Wednesday, three days after a U.S. raid on Syria.


Mixed messages leave eastern Europe on edge
Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, spent a couple of days last week reassuring the Baltic republics - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - that fellow Nato members would stand with them, shoulder to shoulder, should they face Georgia-style aggression from close neighbour Russia. His pledge, undoubtedly sincere, was not entirely convincing.


Johann Hari: The Republicans' dirty secret... torture
So what will be left of the Republican Party after next week's US election? The answer lies in the sands of Florida, where the sunshine-state Republicans have nominated an unrepentant torturer as their candidate for Congress. They view his readiness to torture an innocent Iraqi not as a source of shame, but as his prime qualification for office. This is American conservatism in the dying days of Bush – and it points out the direction that Sarah Palin would like to take it in 2012.


Abused women can fight back - Al-Azhar sheikh
Sunni Islam's highest authority has approved a woman's right to fight back if her husband uses violence against her, Egypt's Al-Masry al-Youm newspaper reported on Monday.


Water row with India a threat to CBMs: Zardari
The blockade of Chenab River's water by India could dent the ongoing confidence-building measures (CBMs), Geo News reported President Asif Ali Zardari as saying on Monday.


Europe's secret plan to boost GM crop production
Gordon Brown and other European leaders are secretly preparing an unprecedented campaign to spread GM crops and foods in Britain and throughout the continent, confidential documents obtained by The Independent on Sunday reveal. The documents - minutes of a series of private meetings of representatives of 27 governments = disclose plans to "speed up" the introduction of the modified crops and foods and to "deal with" public resistance to them.


'US helicopter raid' inside Syria
At least eight people have been killed in a US helicopter raid in eastern Syria, close to the country's border with Iraq, a Syrian official has said. Al-Dunia, a private television channel, said that American helicopters raided the village of Sukariya, which lies 550km northeast of Damascus.


Ranking methods to save the world
When it comes to repairing damage done to the Earth's climate there's no shortage of ideas, ranging from schemes to put "sunshades" in orbit to burying the offending carbon dioxide underground. But ideas won't be enough, so there is an urgent need to rank those proposals to work out which should undergo rigorous testing, argues Philip Boyd of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in Dunedin, New Zealand.


Spain honours volunteers as civil war row grows
Barcelona has paid homage to the last few survivors of the International Brigades volunteers who fought to defend Spain against the fascist-backed General Francisco Franco during the 1936-39 civil war.


Thousands stuck in camps of no return
Bewildered, angry and thrown into squalor, the refugees created suddenly by Pakistan's frontline role in the 'war on terror' know they could be stranded in camps for years to come. Up to 300,000 people have had to flee fighting in Bajaur, an extremely poor part of Pakistan's tribal border area with Afghanistan. Refugees in their own country, they live in vast government camps or beg shelter from friends and family. In an ominous sign for the government, their rage is directed not at the Pakistani Taliban, who took over their area, but the army, whose onslaught with jets and helicopters forced them to abandon their homes and livelihoods.


Involve the Arabs
Of the 120 Knesset members, 10 belong to Arab factions - Balad, Hadash, and United Arab List-Ta'al. When coalitions are formed, these groups are usually left outside the camp, and outside the political discourse. Prime ministerial candidates from the right loathe these factions, while those from the left fear being overly associated with them. The result is identical: The Arab factions, whose representatives were democratically elected by wide swaths of the population, are shunned and turn into nearly illegitimate entities.


Sarkozy Calls for Partial Nationalization of Key Industries
In a speech before the European Parliament on Tuesday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy suggested that European countries establish their own sovereign wealth funds to take ownership stakes in key industries. He went on to suggest that European states should coordinate their industrial policies with each other.


Tehran mayor welcomes Obama's call for talks
The mayor of Tehran, a possible contender for the Iranian presidency, said on Friday his country would welcome talks with the United States as supported by White House contender Barack Obama. Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, a harsh critic of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, expressed hope that Obama would make good on calls to hold dialogue with Iran should the Democrat win the November 4 election.


Crunch resurrects Marx
Two decades after the Berlin Wall fell, communism's founding father Karl Marx is back in vogue in eastern Germany, thanks to the global financial crisis. His 1867 critical analysis of capitalism, Das Kapital, has risen from the publishing graveyard to become an improbable best-seller for the academic publisher, Karl-Dietz-Verlag.


Arctic air temperatures hit record highs
Autumn air temperatures have climbed to record levels in the Arctic due to major losses of sea ice as the region suffers more effects from a warming trend dating back decades, according to a new report.


Spanish Judge Orders 19 Mass Graves Exhumed
Judge Baltasar Garzon opened the first formal probe into murder and repression during Spain's fascist era on Thursday by filing a 68-page writ ordering the immediate exhumation of 19 mass graves -- including one thought to contain the remains of poet Federico Garcia Lorca.


The West Is at a Loss in Afghanistan
It is one of the last mild summer evenings in Kabul. A group of Western diplomats and military officials is meeting for a private dinner in one of the embassies in Wazir Akbar Khan, an upscale residential neighborhood. Almost all of the 12 envoys and generals represent countries that have troops stationed in southern Afghanistan and the mood is somber. "Nothing is moving forward anymore, and yet we are no longer able to extricate ourselves," one of the ambassadors says over dessert, a light apple pastry. He gives voice to that which many here are already thinking: "We are trapped."


Regional bloc to meet Monday on Zimbabwe
Southern African officials will meet on Monday to try to help Zimbabwe's rival parties end a deadlock on forming a new government, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said on Friday.


Artists battle censorship in Islamist-ruled Nigerian state
"I don't sell cocaine," says the video vendor in Kano's Rimi market when I ask for Adam Zango's music video CD Bahaushiya. He is not referring to the white powder, but to a new illegal substance - Hausa films that have not passed through the Kano State Censors Board.


Beirut museum to recall horrors of civil war
The sandbags, sniper slits and pockmarked facade of a Beirut house stand as a chilling reminder of Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war. Now, over 15 years after the end of the fighting, the building is poised to become a museum aimed at ensuring no-one ever forgets the horrors of those dark days.


US slips into recession: Federal Reserve
The United States has slipped into recession, the head of the San Francisco branch of the Federal Reserve, the nation's central bank, has said. "The recent flow of economic data suggests that the economy was weaker than expected in the third quarter, probably showing essentially no growth at all," said Janet Yellen Tuesday in an address in Palo Alto, California.


Iranian strike halts sales tax
Widespread strikes by traders in Iran have prompted the government to suspend a controversial sales tax. A value-added tax (VAT) on all goods officially came into force in September, but Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president, ordered a two-month freeze on the tax after the protests brought market trade to a virtual standstill.


Rwanda troops enter DR Congo
The Democratic Republic of Congo has accused its neighbour Rwanda of sending troops across the border in support of a Congolese rebel leader.


'Whoever Has the Bomb Has Power'
One of the Bush Administration's few foreign policy successes looks like it's going down the tubes as North Korea prepares to restart its nuclear program. German commentators wonder if this is simply a new North Korean negotiating strategy or the sign of a power struggle in Pyongyang.


Skin-whitening adverts ignite race row in India
The actors are beautiful, the sets are stylish and the message could not be clearer - the woman with the paler skin gets the man. In recent weeks, Indians have been treated to an eye-catching television advert "mini-series" featuring three of Bollywood's hottest talents in a moody love-triangle. All in the name of skin-whitening cream.


How many people have to die before Lebanon's politicians change their ways?
The deadly clashes that continue to plague Tripoli are underlining the very real and very pressing need for Lebanon's squabbling political parties to put the country's interests above their own. The Lebanese people have spent far too long in the shadow of instability, and the military and security forces entrusted with their protection are at least partially hamstrung by the vacuum opened up by the protracted process of creating a new unity cabinet. The leaderships of both the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Internal Security Forces (ISF) are understandably hesitant to grasp the proverbial nettle and impose their will in the Northern port city because they still don't know which civilian ministers will be calling the shots in the aftermath of what could be a messy operation.


NYT's Gail Collins and the "2nd Tier" Presidential Candidates
Gail Collins, the columnist for the New York Times, has a problem. While regularly writing in a satirical or sometimes trivial way about the foibles of the two major Parties' front-running presidential candidates, she can scarcely hide her disdain for the small starters, the underdogs.


I Am Not a Health Reform
IN 1971, President Nixon sought to forestall single-payer national health insurance by proposing an alternative. He wanted to combine a mandate, which would require that employers cover their workers, with a Medicaid-like program for poor families, which all Americans would be able to join by paying sliding-scale premiums based on their income.


Green Party support at record levels, voter poll finds
OTTAWA -- Green is now the colour of protest. Dissatisfied with the traditional menu of political parties, Canadians are expressing support for the Green Party at double-digit levels.


Bolshie Britain: a new Winter of Discontent
He will bristle at any comparison with the last Labour prime minister to lose a general election, but in coming weeks Gordon Brown will struggle to escape memories of the troubles that did for Jim Callaghan.


E-mails show how Dems tied staffers' bonuses to campaign work
E-mail messages exchanged by top aides in the Democratic caucus starting in 2004 make clear that taxpayer-funded bonuses were given to legislative employees for their work on election campaigns.


The Disgraceful Treatment of Our Veterans
As you do your holiday shopping this year and think about a big turkey dinner and piles of gifts and the good life that most Americans enjoy, please spare a thought for those who made it all possible: Those who serve in our military and the veterans who've worn the uniform.


Ex-Congresswoman Seeks Presidency
ATLANTA (AP) - Former Democratic Rep. Cynthia McKinney, who was ousted from office last year after a headline-grabbing scuffle with a Capitol Hill police officer, has decided to seek the presidency - as a Green Party candidate.


Spy planes to recharge by clinging to power lines
The next time you see something flapping in the breeze on an overhead power line, squint a little harder. It may not be a plastic bag or the remnants of a party balloon, but a tiny spy plane stealing power from the line to recharge its batteries.


Freedom! Lakota Sioux Indians Declare Sovereign Nation Status
Washington D.C. - Lakota Sioux Indian representatives declared sovereign nation status today in Washington D.C. following Monday's withdrawal from all previously signed treaties with the United States Government. The withdrawal, hand delivered to Daniel Turner, Deputy Director of Public Liaison at the State Department, immediately and irrevocably ends all agreements between the Lakota Sioux Nation of Indians and the United States Government outlined in the 1851 and 1868 Treaties at Fort Laramie Wyoming.


Camel 'plague' puzzles scientists
An unprecedented number of camels across North Africa and the Middle East died last year, researchers have discovered. The several thousand deaths have baffled scientists who are probing toxins, antibiotic pollution, viruses and even climate change as possible causes.


Iraq set to slash food rations
Iraq is set to halve essential items covered by rations and subsidies because of insufficient funds and spiralling inflation, in a further threat to an already deteriorating ration system.


Report: Hoover had plan for mass arrests
WASHINGTON - Former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had a plan to suspend the rules against illegal detention and arrest up to 12,000 Americans he suspected of being disloyal, according to a newly declassified document.


Mike Gravel Announces Third Party Bid; Why Ron Paul Will be Next
Bless his heart. Mike Gravel, who is currently running for President as a Democrat, has already declared that he will run as a third party, and he hasnt even lost the Democratic nomination yet!


McKinney takes her longest shot
It's a snowy day, and Cynthia McKinney is coming in from the cold to speak to supporters far from her old Georgia congressional district. About 30 people are gathered to greet her in a state Capitol conference room.


Congolese women who have suffered so much reap the rewards of conservation
Anyone who has seen African women working in the countryside knows they will sing at the drop of a hat, on any subject that seems appropriate, and this group hoeing a field in the Democratic Republic of Congo are singing like champions, even if they've chosen a theme not often found in the British music charts: agricultural development.


Dining out on New York's rubbish
Known as "Freegans", some people in the US are trying to live off what the argue are the tons of food thrown out by Americans each day.


Green Party Stepping Up Member, Candidate Recruitment
After years of involvement with the Hancock County Democratic Party, Nancy Allen found herself at the 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta as a Maine delegate eager to advance the presidential candidacy of the Rev. Jesse Jackson.


Midnight Oil's leader finding challenges in politics
The music of Peter Garrett has always been politically charged. Now the towering, baldheaded former singer of Midnight Oil is charged with practicing politics -- as Australia's new environment minister.


Highway 443: Israel's Forbidden Road
t's just after dusk on Route 443, where the heavy northbound traffic from Jerusalem decelerates as it approaches the Maccabim checkpoint. The Israeli commuters, impatient to get home to Tel Aviv or the dormitory town of Modiin, have no idea that in the darkness to the left of the four-lane highway, everyday scenes are unfolding that tell their own story about this land and the conflict that has scarred it for 40 years.


Google tool could search out hospital superbugs
Transmission of hospital acquired infections like the "superbug" MRSA could be cut using the method that Google uses to rank search results, say UK researchers. Crunching data from wards using Google's PageRank algorithm could help focus preventative measures more accurately by identifying key routes of infection and transmission, they say.


LBO debt logjam threatens further write-downs for banks
Leveraged loan problems are threatening Wall Street banks with a fresh round of write-downs from a $205 billion backlog of buyout debt.


Pachauri supports India's nuclear power quest
Supporting India's quest for nuclear power, United Nations climate panel's chief R K Pachauri, has said that country should pursue it to contain emission and meet energy needs.


Why I Believe Bush Must Go
As we enter the eighth year of the Bush-Cheney administration, I have belatedly and painfully concluded that the only honorable course for me is to urge the impeachment of the president and the vice president. After the 1972 presidential election, I stood clear of calls to impeach President Richard M. Nixon for his misconduct during the campaign. I thought that my joining the impeachment effort would be seen as an expression of personal vengeance toward the president who had defeated me. Today I have made a different choice.


Greens connect ecology with democracy
At their annual national gathering of the U.S. Green Party last summer in Reading, Pa., party leader John Rensenbrink gave a speech in which he outlined how the Greens were positioning themselves for the 2008 election and beyond. "We are going to vie for real political power in the United States in order to achieve important goals for our neighborhoods, the country and the planet. We are no longer entering the political arena just to force the 'real' candidates to discuss substantive issues. We are not a club, not a nongovernmental organization but a real political party that will contest for power in these United States."


Pentagon, Big Pharma: Drug Troops to Numb Them to Horrors of War
In June, the Department of Defense Task Force on Mental Health acknowledged "daunting and growing" psychological problems among our troops: Nearly 40 percent of soldiers, a third of Marines and half of National Guard members are presenting with serious mental health issues. They also reported "fundamental weaknesses" in the U.S. military's approach to psychological health. That report was followed in August by the Army Suicide Event Report (ASER), which reported that 2006 saw the highest rate of military suicides in 26 years. And last month, CBS News reported that, based on its own extensive research, over 6,250 American veterans took their own lives in 2005 alone -- that works out to a little more than 17 suicides every day.


Caltrans lets Minutemen 'adopt' road at checkpoint
The state transportation department's decision to allow a controversial anti-illegal-immigration group to adopt a stretch of Interstate 5 in San Diego County infuriates some Latino groups and anti-bigotry activists.


Legal battles threaten nuclear power programme
The return of nuclear power is not going to be smooth. Governments in the UK and US are bracing themselves for legal battles that could hamper their plans to generate more electricity from nuclear reactors.


Mexican teenager hurt in incident at U.S. border
A teenager was injured when U.S. border patrol agents fired tear gas into Mexico over the weekend, despite a Mexican government complaint that U.S. agents were using excessive force.


Israeli pianist Daniel Barenboim takes Palestinian citizenship
Daniel Barenboim, the world renowned Israeli pianist and conductor, has taken Palestinian citizenship and said he believed his rare new status could serve a model for peace between the two peoples.


ACLU sues over voter lists from primary
The ACLU of Michigan filed a federal lawsuit in Detroit today on behalf of three political parties to overturn a new law that enables the Democratic and Republican parties but no one else from obtaining lists of people who will vote on Tuesdays presidential primary.


Protesters killed at Yemen rally
At least three demonstrators and a policeman have been killed in clashes between Yemeni security forces and thousands of demonstrators calling for greater rights and benefits, according to witnesses.


Robert Fisk: Bloody reality bears no relation to the delusions of this President
Twixt silken sheets - in a bedroom whose walls are also covered in silk - and in the very palace of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, President George Bush awakes this morning to confront a Middle East which bears no relation to the policies of his administration nor the warning which he has been relaying constantly to the kings and emirs and oligarchs of the Gulf: that Iran rather than Israel is their enemy.


First subglacial eruption found in Antarctica
The first evidence of a volcanic eruption beneath Antarctica's ice has been discovered by scientists.


International Oil Companies Are the Real Dinosaurs
In an exlusive SPIEGEL interview, OPEC Secretary-General Abdalla Salem el-Badri discusses the dangers of a further dramatic rise in the oil price, the failures of multinational oil companies and considerations within the cartel of oil-exporting nations to trade in euros rather than dollars.


Minus Members' Power, Unions Face Mounting Bargaining Woes
William Ehman got acquainted with the current direction of collective bargaining in his industry from the back of a squad car. The former president of Steelworkers Local 1537, Ehman led a group of nine retirees to a mid-September union meeting to discuss current negotiations with Latrobe Steel.


Pre-emptive nuclear strike a key option, Nato told
The west must be ready to resort to a pre-emptive nuclear attack to try to halt the "imminent" spread of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, according to a radical manifesto for a new Nato by five of the west's most senior military officers and strategists.


Community voice needed to reduce crime
Now, just past the first anniversary of Chief James Tuffey's reorganization of the Albany Police Department, is an appropriate time to consider the full impact of his enforcement policies.
[This article was written by Alice Green, a member of the Albany, NY Greens]


People of Color Face Historic Wealth Loss
The subprime lending debacle should cause massive rethinking among those who have long proclaimed that the route to Black equality is through wealth accumulation. In a report titled, "Foreclosed: State of the Dream 2008," United for a Fair Economy details the catastrophic losses inflicted on Blacks and Latinos in the U.S. at the hands of predatory lenders - "the greatest loss of wealth to people of color in modern U.S. history." With more than half of Blacks in many cities caught in the subprime trap - and with even these usurious financing schemes disappearing in the wake of the bubble-burst - the prospects for Blacks to amass wealth have grown bleaker than at any time in living memory. At the current rate, it will take 5,423 years for Blacks to achieve homeowner parity with whites.


World's largest river island washing away under flood waters
It may be the largest river island in the world but it is steadily shrinking - eroded by the Brahmaputra river in which it is situated. Efforts to preserve the island and halt the erosion, caused by the glacial flood waters of the Himalayas, have been unco-ordinated and - say critics - ineffective


Did GSK trial data mask Paxil suicide risk?
AN INAPPROPRIATE analysis of clinical trial data by researchers at GlaxoSmithKline obscured suicide risks associated with paroxetine, a profitable antidepressant, for 15 years, suggest court documents (897kb, requires Acrobat Reader) released last month. Not until 2006 did GSK alert people to raised suicide risks associated with the drug, marketed as Paxil and Seroxat.


New Mexico's Missing Ballot Boxes
Heath Haussamen, a New Mexico political columnist and blogger, has reported a developing story that suggests overzealous Democratic Party officials -- who may be Clinton supporters -- took home four ballot boxes after Super Tuesday's caucuses that were not counted in the Election Night results.


Lost wetlands being recovered
MALAYSIA has lost almost half of its mangroves over the past four decades and this alarming trend will continue if we do not recognise the grave implications.


Court Rejects ACLU Challenge to Wiretaps
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court rejected a challenge Tuesday to the Bush administration's domestic spying program.


A Young Politician Becomes a House Painter
On a late January morning, Jason West was under the weather and late for work. Sniffling and weary from nights of sleeping on a friends floor in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, the former mayor of the Village of New Paltz showed up at a building on West 60th Street, where he was on a job, in paint-splattered jeans and a work shirt.


Why Israeli general avoided Heathrow arrest
Lawyers for the victims of an alleged Israeli war criminal criticised British police today for allowing him to slip through the net.


Tuna fisheries facing a cod-like collapse
The collapse of north Atlantic cod populations could provide an important lesson for preventing tuna from suffering a similar fate worldwide, researchers say.


Nader Announces New Run for President
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Ralph Nader said Sunday he will run for president as a third-party candidate, criticizing the top White House contenders as too close to big business and pledging to repeat a bid that will "shift the power from the few to the many."


Australia urged to take lead on climate change
Australia is more vulnerable economically than most wealthy nations to the effects of climate change, according to a new report.


A Third Way
"You are either with us, or with the terrorists," said US President George W. Bush a couple of days after the horrendous 2001 attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Prior to this statement, Bush had made it clear that his is a "crusade" against "terror" and "the powers of darkness." This simplistic binary approach employed by the American president and his right-wing administration -- supported wholeheartedly by the powerful CNNized media -- attempts to close the door in the face of a third way: a more rational, secular and democratic one that fights terrorism whether nihilistic or state-sponsored.


Pakistan Blocks YouTube Video Access
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) -- Pakistan's government has banned access to the video-sharing Web site YouTube because of anti-Islamic movies that users have posted on the site, an official said Sunday.


Matt Gonzalez is announced as Nader's Vice Presidential Running Mate
Matt Gonzalez is Ralph Nader's Vice Presidential running mate. In 2000, Gonzalez was elected to the 11 member San Francisco Board of Supervisors, which supervises a city with a budget of $6 billion. He became President of the Board three years later.


End of an era as Paisley steps down
The Rev Ian Paisley has signalled the end of an era by announcing he will step down as leader of Northern Ireland's power-sharing administration and the Democratic Unionist Party.


Global warming may raise tundra wildfire risk
Arctic tundra fires may increase significantly as a result of continued global warming, warns a new study examining the relationship between historic changes in climate, vegetation, and wildfires in Alaska.


'US plot against Hamas' revealed
The US plotted to overthrow the democratically elected Hamas government in the Palestinian territories, documents obtained by Al Jazeera reveal.


California cows start passing gas to the grid
Imagine a vat of liquid cow manure covering the area of five football fields and 33 feet deep. Meet California's most alternative new energy.


'I fell in love with a female assassin'
There comes a point in every new relationship when your girlfriend wants to share a secret. Usually it's to do with sex - how many other partners she's had (with a few conveniently erased) - that sort of thing. Often, the secret changes the basis of the relationship; honesty comes with consequences. But what happens if your new girlfriend has a much darker and more sinister secret than having slept around a bit?


A payout in medicine-autism case
ATLANTA - For those convinced that vaccines can cause autism, the sad case of a Georgia girl, daughter of a doctor and lawyer, seems like clear-cut evidence. The government agreed to pay for injury caused by vaccines. But it turns out it's not that simple - and maybe not even a first.


US loses 63,000 jobs as economic woes deepen
WASHINGTON (AFP) - A stumbling US economy lost 63,000 jobs in February, according to a shockingly weak report released Friday as a top White House adviser offered a grim outlook for growth.


ENVIRONMENT: Action Will Prove Much Cheaper
OSLO, Mar 7 (IPS) - Government inaction will lead to increased climate change, species loss, increased water shortages and health problems by 2030, according to a new OECD report. But key challenges can be addressed at a fraction of the cost of inaction.


Climate change may spark conflict with Russia, EU told
European governments have been told to plan for an era of conflict over energy resources, with global warming likely to trigger a dangerous contest between Russia and the west for the vast mineral riches of the Arctic.


Solar Company Says Its Tech Can Power 90 Percent of Grid and Cars
Solar-power-plant company Ausra has released a paper claiming that solar-thermal electric technology can provide 90 percent of U.S. grid electricity, with enough left over to power a fleet of plug-in electric vehicles. The company estimates that such a changeover would eliminate 40 percent of the country's greenhouse gas emissions with a land footprint of 9,600 square miles, about the size of Vermont.


Olmert approves hundreds of homes on occupied land
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has approved the construction of hundreds of new housing units at a Jewish settlement in the Occupied West Bank, setting off another crisis in embattled Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations. "After a series of consultations with the prime minister, Housing Minister Zeev Boim has approved the relaunching of construction in Givat Zeev," the Israeli Housing Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.


Melting glaciers start countdown to climate chaos
For centuries, writers, painters and photographers have been drawn to the wild and seemingly indestructible beauty of glaciers. More practically, they are a vital part of the planet's system for collecting, storing and delivering the fresh water that billions of people depend on for washing, drinking, agriculture and power. Now these once indomitable monuments are disappearing. And as they retreat, glacial lakes will burst, debris and ice will fall in avalanches, rivers will flood and then dry up, and sea levels will rise even further, say the climate experts. Communities will be deprived of essential water, crops will be ruined and power stations which rely on river flows paralysed.


Gene May Help Explain Stress Disorder
Groundbreaking research suggests genes help explain why some people can recover from a traumatic event while others suffer post-traumatic stress disorder. Though preliminary, the study provides insight into a condition expected to strike increasing numbers of military veterans returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, one health expert said.


Florida panther population fell to just six
As bottlenecks go, they don't get much narrower. Florida panthers, nearly wiped out in the early 20th century, dropped to a population size of as little as six animals.


Soon, gory pictures on cigarette packs
NEW DELHI: From June 24, all packets of tobacco products will carry pictorial warnings in a bid to deter people from smoking. The Union health ministry has issued the final notification, according to which 40% of the space on tobacco packs will have to carry the warnings.


A clump of cells? Or a living being with a soul?
Is a bunch of cells just that: a bunch of cells, as scientists would have it, or is it, as the Catholic Church insists, a human being with a soul?


Antarctic ice shelf 'hanging by a thread'
A thin strip of ice, just 6 kilometres wide, is all that is holding back the collapse of a huge ice shelf in Antarctica, according to glaciologists.


Syria Now Home to a Million 'Pillow Drivers'
More than a million Iraqis in Syria cannot find work. For their idleness, they have come to be called the "pillow drivers".


Army's New PTSD Treatments: Yoga, Reiki, 'Bioenergy'
The military is scrambling for new ways to treat the brain injuries and post-traumatic stress of troops returning home from war. And every kind of therapy -- no matter how far outside the accepted medical form-- is being considered. The Army just unveiled a $4 million program to investigate everything from "spiritual ministry, transcendental meditation, [and] yoga" to "bioenergies such as Qi gong, Reiki, [and] distant healing" to mend the psyches of wounded troops


Tibetans in exile show high rates of depression
Has becoming part of China improved the health of Tibetans? The Tibetan government in exile would say absolutely not their figures indicate that 1.2 million Tibetans have died as a result of Chinese occupation.


How Green is the Latin American Left? A Look at Ecuador, Venezuela and Bolivia
Across Latin America, resurgent indigenous, labor and campesino movements have contributed to the rise of new governments that declare their independence from the neoliberal economic model, promise a more equitable distribution of wealth and increased state control over natural resources. But it is uncertain how far these new governments have gone to transform the ecologically unsustainable model of development that dominates the region.


The other global crisis: rush to biofuels is driving up price of food
The world's most powerful finance ministers and central bankers are meeting in Washington tomorrow; but as they preoccupy themselves with the global credit crunch, another crisis, far more grave, is facing the world's poorest people.


Is this the beginning of water wars?
As Barcelona runs out of water, Spain has been forced to consider importing water from France by boat. It is the latest example of the growing struggle for water around the world the "water wars".


Report Warns on Serious Health Problems Linked to Bisphenol A
A U.S. government report revealed Tuesday that a dangerous chemical called bisphenol A (BPA), present in plastic packaging such as baby bottles, might be harmful to the development of childrens brains and reproductive organs.


Our reign of terror, by the Israeli army
In shocking testimonies that reveal abductions, beatings and torture, Israeli soldiers confess the horror they have visited on Hebron


Paraguay votes in key elections
The people of Paraguay are voting in elections that could end 61 years of domination by one party. The Colorado Party has been in power since 1947, the longest-serving party in continuous rule in the world.


Barbaric 'honour killings' become the weapon to subjugate women in Iraq
At first glance Shawbo Ali Rauf appears to be slumbering on the grass, her pale brown curls framing her face, her summer skirt spread about her. But the awkward position of her limbs and the splattered blood reveal the true horror of the scene.


UN condemns biofuels growth
Monday's meeting in Switzerland follows a warning from the UN's Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, who says developed countries and the biofuel industry are largely to blame for the current food shortages.


Food costs spark protest in Senegal
More than 1,000 people, some carrying empty rice sacks, have marched through Senegal's capital Dakar to protest against rising food prices.


Indian vultures circling towards extinction
The griffon vultures that used to number in the tens of millions in India could be extinct in the country within a decade, experts say. Vulture populations started plummeting in the 1990s. New research shows efforts to stop the die-off are failing, and New Scientist can reveal that the domino effects on humans and the ecosystem are worsening.


The world doesn't want Leninism with its shopping malls
We all remember one phrase from the first presidential campaign by a Clinton. When Bill Clinton was running for the job in the early 1990s, one of his staff explained what the central issue in the election was. "It's the economy, stupid." he said. Economics explains all - jobs, prices, savings, houses. It determines the public mood and sets the political agenda.


Second US aircraft carrier deployed to Gulf
US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said Tuesday the deployment of a second aircraft carrier to the Gulf should be seen as a "reminder" of US military power in the region.


Trees may cut childhood asthma risk, says study
Living on a tree-lined street reduces a child's risk of developing asthma compared with life in a grey inner-city neighbourhood, according to researchers. They found that asthma rates among four- to five-year-olds fell by almost a quarter for every 343 extra trees per square kilometre in an urban area.


Gaza 'on point of explosion' warns UN
Gaza is about to reach a "point of explosion" that could lead to another breakout by the desperate Palestinian population, trapped by an Israeli economic blockade, the most senior UN official in the territory has warned.


Zimbabwe parties challenge parliamentary results
Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party and the opposition MDC have contested half the results of the March 29 parliamentary election, state media said on Wednesday, extending a stalemate that has triggered widespread violence.


Melting glaciers release toxic chemical cocktail
Decades after most countries stopped spraying DDT, frozen stores of the insecticide are now trickling out of melting Antarctic glaciers. The change means Adlie penguins have recently been exposed to the chemical, according to a new study.


Beirut paralysed by labour strike
Protesters allied to Lebanon's Hezbollah-led political opposition have blocked streets in the capital Beirut to enforce an anti-government labour strike.


Post-War Suicides May Exceed Combat Deaths, U.S. Says
The number of suicides among veterans of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may exceed the combat death toll because of inadequate mental health care, the U.S. government's top psychiatric researcher said.


Baby caribou hit by climate double whammy
Common understanding has it that as climate change raises temperatures, spring will and in some cases already does start earlier. The question is: what effect will this have on the animals that depend on spring? A seven-year study in Western Greenland suggests the effect won't be good for the local caribou.


Slavery Today: A Clear and Present Danger
Slavery never ended in the United States; it continues here and across the globe, facilitated by globalization, corruption and greed. There are more people enslaved today - controlled by violence and forced to work without pay - than at any time in human history.


Immigrants flee South Africa over attacks
More than 10,000 Mozambicans have fled home from South Africa to escape xenophobic attacks that have killed at least 42 people, officials in the neighboring country said on Wednesday.


Palestinians and Israelis come together to lose weight, make peace
There's the weekly weigh-in, the tips on healthy snacking and the chit-chat between women about unruly kids or errant husbands. But this is a slimming group with a difference: half its members are Palestinian, half are Israeli and the aim is to foster dialogue, through a common battle with weight.


Crisis talks on global food prices
World leaders are to meet next week for urgent talks aimed at preventing tens of millions of the world's poor dying of hunger as a result of soaring food prices. The summit in Rome is expected to pledge immediate aid to poor countries threatened by malnutrition as well as charting longer-term strategies for improving food production.


Eviction orders approved for 2 settler-occupied Hebron stores
The Judea and Samaria Appeals Committee of the Civil Administration, the Israel Defense Forces arm that governs civilian affairs in the West Bank, approved on Tuesday eviction orders for two Hebron stores occupied by settlers roughly two years ago.


Incredible shrinking frogs: The price of deforestation?
Human disruption to habitats not only causes populations to get smaller, it also seems to cause the individuals of some species to literally shrink.


Now the opposition takes up arms in Zimbabwe
Fears of civil war in Zimbabwe escalated yesterday as it emerged that opposition supporters, frustrated by police inaction at the brutal intimidation campaign being waged by President Robert Mugabe's allies, have begun to form their own "revenge forces".


Nature laid waste: The destruction of Africa
It was long shrouded in mystery, called "the Dark Continent" by Europeans in awe of its massive size and impenetrable depths. Then its wondrous natural riches were revealed to the world. Now a third image of Africa and its environment is being laid before us one of destruction on a vast and disturbing scale


Arctic thaw threatens Siberian permafrost
The permafrost belt stretching across Siberia to Alaska and Canada could start melting three times faster than expected because of the speed at which Arctic Sea ice is disappearing.


Maliki says talks with Americans at impasse over threat to sovereignty
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said Friday negotiations with the US on a long-term security pact were deadlocked because of concern the deal infringes Iraqi sovereignty


Thousands of European truckers join fuel protests
Tens of thousands of truckers in Spain, France and Portugal on Monday stepped up protests against rising fuel prices, causing mayhem on highways and blocking border crossings.


Palestinian woman films masked men attacking W. Bank farmers
The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem released a video on Friday which it said showed the start of an assault on Palestinian farmers by masked, stick-wielding Israeli settlers.


Graduate student pushes for Jewish state in Germany
Whenever someone launches an initiative towards establishing a Jewish state in addition to the one already in existence, there is invariably a ripple effect. This time, however, an even bigger stir than usual has been caused by the proposed site of the "second Israel": Germany.


Several die in Russia violence
Russia's volatile north Caucasus has experienced one of its worst eruptions of violence in months with at least eight people killed in a series of attacks across the region, officials have said.


What price cotton?
If biofuels are so bad, why aren't we campaigning against cotton?


Bangladesh is set to disappear under the waves by the end of the century
This spring, I took a month-long road trip across a country that we - you, me and everyone we know - are killing. One day, not long into my journey, I travelled over tiny ridges and groaning bridges on the back of a motorbike to reach the remote village of Munshigonj. The surviving villagers - gaunt, creased people - were sitting by a stagnant pond. They told me, slowly, what we have done to them.


Jerusalem officials to High Court: Gay parade desecrates holy city
Jerusalem's mayor and city manager urged the High Court of Justice on Thursday to prevent the Gay Pride parade from taking place in the capital next Thursday, on the grounds that it would offend the public's sensibilities


Public pressure forces Cairo to 'review' sale of gas to Israel
In the last two months, popular and parliamentary opposition to the sale of Egyptian natural gas to Israel - at undisclosed prices - has mounted. As a result, in a rare nod to public opinion, the government recently announced that it was "reviewing" the terms of the sale agreement. "The government was finally embarrassed into partially addressing our concerns," Mohammad Anwar al-Sadat, a former MP and spokesman for the recently founded Popular Campaign against Gas Exports told IPS in an interview.


Aboriginal control of Aboriginal affairs
The paternalistic Northern Territory intervention, started up under the Howard Coalition government, and continued by the Rudd Labor government, has reignited the push for Aboriginal control of Aboriginal affairs


India tiptoes to the new Middle East
The Middle East took a great leap forward this week to the post-George W Bush era. Israel's dramatic shift of glance to the forces of political Islam sums it up. "Today we have concurrent peace negotiations with both the Syrians and the Palestinians and there is no logical reason why there should also not be talks with the Lebanese," Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's spokesman Mark Regev said in Jerusalem on Wednesday.


Voters swayed by location of polling station
The location of a polling booth affects the choices voters make. That's the surprising result from a study that involved both simulating voter behaviour in the laboratory and examining real-world voting patterns.


Arab World nuclear race / Who has what, and from where
Israel is following with interest the closer nuclear ties France is forging with the Arab world. The Foreign Ministry has declined to go on the record on the issue, but ministry officials say that though they are concerned about the matter, they do not oppose it.


World must manage water carefully: experts
The world's water resources must be carefully managed to meet the needs of billions of people flocking to urban centres, experts said Tuesday at a conference on sustainable development.


Who will defend ultra-Orthodox women's labor rights?
Judith Klein is a humble, shy woman and a pioneer of workers' rights in the ultra-Orthodox community. Klein has created the first women's workers union in her sector - and in the process incurred the wrath of many of her peers.


Tsvangirai: Why I pulled out
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has pulled out of a run-off election for the country's presidency, saying that his supporters are facing violent intimidation by loyalists of incumbent Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF.


Chomsky: US public irrelevant
Noam Chomsky, the renowned US academic, author and political activist, speaks to Avi Lewis on Al Jazeera's Inside USA. They discuss whether the US election this year will bring real change, the ongoing conflict in Iraq and why Americans should look to their Southern American counterparts for political inspiration.


Australian crocs hit by cane toad 'wave of death'
Pit a cane toad against a freshwater crocodile and who wins? Although the croc eats the oversized amphibian, it seems the toad has the final laugh.


Violent protest after Mongolia poll
Thousands of people have staged a violent protest on the streets of Mongolia's capital Ulaan Baatar, saying that parliamentary elections were rigged by the ruling party.


The sp(oil)s of war
IRAQ IS officially open for business. To Western oil giants, that is. In mid-June, it was revealed that four Western oil companies -- ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and the French firm Total -- plus Chevron and some smaller corporations, were putting the finishing touches on contracts that would allow them to operate in Iraq for the first time since the country's oil industry was nationalized more than three decades ago, driving out the very corporations now set to make their return.


Turkish coup plot awakens fear of violent nationalism
In a recent declaration, Turkish nationalists identified what they described as the 'six arrows' of the country's proper identity: nationalism, secularism, statism, republicanism, populism and revolutionism. Judging by the events of last week, it is the last arrow - revolution - that has preoccupied the more radical in recent months.


Leftists abandon Indian coalition
A bloc of communist-led parties will end support for India's coalition government in protest against a nuclear energy deal with the US, party leaders have announced.


Space experts prepare for Martian land grab
Space experts will meet in France later this week to thrash out plans for an ambitious robotic spacecraft mission to return rocks from Mars to Earth arguably the most ambitious interplanetary adventure ever attempted.


New legal threat to school science in the US
BARBARA FORREST knew the odds were stacked against her. "They had 50 or 60 people in the room," she says. Her opponents included lobbyists, church leaders and a crowd of home-schooled children. "They were wearing stickers, clapping, cheering and standing in the aisles." Those on Forrest's side numbered less than a dozen, including two professors from Louisiana State University, representatives from the Louisiana Association of Educators and campaigners for the continued separation of church and state.


Archaeologists to refuse help over possible Iran strike
PERSEPOLIS, once the capital of the Persian empire, and the massive mud-brick Bam citadel are among the nine listed World Heritage Sites in Iran. Yet leading archaeologists are urging colleagues to refuse any military requests to draw up a list of Iranian sites that should be exempted from air strikes.


UN wins immunity in Srebrenica case
A Dutch court has ruled that it had no jurisdiction to hear a case against the United Nations for its alleged failure to protect Muslims from a Serb assault on the Bosnian town of Srebrenica in 1995.


Israel approves 920 homes for colonists in East Jerusalem
An Israeli commission has approved the building of 920 new homes in Occupied East Jerusalem, the municipality said on Wednesday, in a new blow to shaky peace talks with the Palestinians. The Palestinians reacted angrily to the new settlement expansion, warning of its negative impact on the peace process.


Sen. Joe Lieberman praises pastor who said Holocaust was God's work
One of John McCain's most prominent supporters on Tuesday praised an evangelical leader whom the Republican presidential candidate repudiated after a string of controversial remarks were made public.


Americans must diet to save their economy
Want to save the US economy? Go on a diet. That's the message ecologists are trying to get across this week. They say the apparently looming energy crisis could be averted if US residents cut their calorie intake.


Turkey detains 26 over 'coup plot'
Turkish police have detained at least 26 people as part of an investigation into an alleged plot to topple the government in Ankara.


The killer oceans: What really wiped out the dinosaurs?
Did asteroids really wipe out the dinosaurs? Scientists now think rising sea-levels were to blame and they could threaten our survival too.


Arctic ice continues to thin
SANTA is skating on very thin ice. In 2007 the sea ice at the North Pole was at its thinnest since records began. Christian Haas of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany, and his team estimated the thickness of late summer ice at the North Pole in 2001, 2004 and 2007. They found that the ice was on average 1.3 metres thick at the end of the summer in 2007. By contrast, its depth was 2.3 metres in 2001 and 2.6 metres in 2004.


Paper unveils secret US-Karadzic deal
A Serb newspaper has unveiled the US protected the former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic before the CIA reported he broke the deal.


US 'held suspects on British territory in 2006'
Terrorist suspects were held by the United States on the British territory of Diego Garcia as recently as 2006, according to senior intelligence sources. The claims, which undermine Foreign Office denials that the archipelago in the Indian Ocean has been used as a so-called 'black site' to facilitate extraordinary rendition, threaten to cause a diplomatic incident.


The challenges in making a film of return, and having it seen
It's often not easy doing something for the first time. Consider Annemarie Jacir's latest film "Salt of the Sea," which has the distinction of being Palestine's first feature by a female director. It had its world premier in May at the Cannes Film Festival, where it screened in the prestigious Un Certain Regard category.


'Major discovery' from MIT primed to unleash solar revolution
In a revolutionary leap that could transform solar power from a marginal, boutique alternative into a mainstream energy source, MIT researchers have overcome a major barrier to large-scale solar power: storing energy for use when the sun doesn't shine.


The eruption of military actions between Georgia and South Ossetia threatens to develop into a large-scale war between Georgia supported by NATO on the one hand, and the Russian state on the other. Thousands of people are already killed and wounded - principally, peaceful inhabitants; whole cities and settlements have been wiped out. The society has beed flooded with muddy streams of a nationalist and chauvinistic hysteria.


The Green Party is a welcome addition to the political arena in Lebanon
Editorial One of the most unfortunate consequences of Lebanon's sectarian political system has been the relegation of important national issues like the environment to the bottom of the public agenda. In other countries, candidates compete with one another during elections on the basis of their stances on a wide variety of issues, including health care and foreign, economic and environmental policy. Here in Lebanon, politicians are more likely to rely on communal loyalties or sectarian fears to get re-elected to posts they inherited from their fathers and grandfathers. That is precisely what makes one of Lebanon's newest parties, the Green Party, such a welcome addition to the political arena.


Superfood rice bran contains arsenic
Rice bran - a so-called "superfood" - might contain dangerous amounts of a natural poison. A new study suggests that rice bran, the shavings left over after brown rice is polished to produce white rice grains, contains "inappropriate" levels of arsenic. Andrew Meharg at the University of Aberdeen, UK, and colleagues found that the levels of arsenic in rice bran products available on the internet and used in food-aid programmes funded by the US government would be illegal in China - the only country in the world to have standards for how much arsenic is permissible in food.


Why US must invest against climate change
Eight scientific organisations have urged the next US president to help protect the country from climate change by pushing for increased funding for research and forecasting. The organisations say about $2 trillion of US economic output could be hurt by storms, floods and droughts.


Taliban win over locals at the gates of Kabul
While clashes in remote Helmand dominate the headlines, another battle is being waged by the insurgents on Kabul's doorstep. There, the Taliban are winning support by building a parallel administration, which is more effective, more popular and more brutal than the government's


Tibetans stage a protest march to register their anger as the Beijing Olympics conclude
Tibetans-in-exile staged a protest march in Dharamsala on Sunday to register their anger against China's 'occupation' of their homeland as the two-week long 29th Beijing Olympics conclude.


Curfew in Kashmir city
Thousands of security forces enforced an indefinite curfew in Srinagar city ahead of a separatist rally against Indian rule in the disputed Himalayan region.


Standing up for justice in the Middle East
The Free Gaza Movement, a diverse group of international human rights activists from 17 different countries, will soon set sail from Cyprus to Gaza in order to challenge the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. I'm proud to stand with them. Over 170 prominent individuals and organizations have endorsed our efforts, including the Carter Center, former British Cabinet member Clare Short, and Nobel Peace Prize laureates Mairead Maguire and Desmond Tutu.


Israel's missile shield against Iran: Three Americans in a trailer
A commander and two operators monitor missile radars in an armored trailer somewhere in Europe. Inside, they use satellite technology to track the origin and trajectory of long-range missiles. In true American fashion, each shift begins with calisthenics, followed by an intelligence briefing.


Sea level rises could far exceed IPCC estimates
Could our coastlines disappear underwater much sooner than we think? The controversial view that sea levels could rise at a rate of more than 1 metre per century has found support from a new study of a long-melted ice sheet.


Blackwater Preps for Hurricane Gustav
. . . But perhaps the most startling call for forces comes from Blackwater, the controversial prviate security contractor. The firm -- which famously patrolled New Orleans after Katrina -- is "compiling a list of qualified security personnel for possible deployment into areas affected by Hurricane Gustav," according to an e-mail obtained by R.J. Hillhouse.


Kremlin critic 'shot in custody'
The owner of a website who was a vocal critic of Moscow's policies in the Caucasus has died after reportedly being shot while in police custody, according to the Interfax news agency.


China lands $3-billion oil deal with Iraq
China hailed Thursday a $3 billion oil agreement with Iraq as a win for both nations, as it sought to reassure the rest of the world that it should not be concerned by the deal.


A voice recovered from Armenia's bitter past
It's a tiny book, only 116 pages long, but it contains a monumental truth, another sign that one and a half million dead Armenians will not go away. It's called My Grandmother: a Memoir and it's written by Fethiye Cetin and it opens up graves. For when she was growing up in the Turkish town of Marden, Fethiye's grandmother Seher was known as a respected Muslim housewife. It wasn't true. She was a Christian Armenian and her real name was Heranus. We all know that the modern Turkish state will not acknowledge the 1915 Armenian Holocaust, but this humble book may help to change that. Because an estimated two million Turks - alive in Turkey today - had an Armenian grandparent.


The Struggle for Industry to Serve the Venezuelan People
On August 27, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced the end of negotiations with former owners Ternium over the nationalisation of the Sidor steel factory, stating that the government would "take over all the companies that it has here", insisting Ternium "can leave".


Morgan Tsvangirai: 'I will have to trust Mugabe'
Zimbabwe's opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, due to become Prime Minister under a compromise deal with his old adversary, Robert Mugabe, has defended the agreement. He says he has no choice but to trust the man who presided over the deaths and torture of hundreds of his supporters.


Syria seeks weapons deal with Russia amid 'Cold War' ripples
The ripples from a short and brutal war in the Caucasus spread out to encompass the Middle East yesterday, when the Syrian president rekindled a strategic alliance with Moscow that had been neglected since the Cold War.


Fehmida first woman acting President
National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza became the first woman acting president of the country on Saturday as both President Asif Ali Zardari and Senate Chairman Mohammadmian Soomro are out of the country, according to an official notification.


Western media 'sexed up' Georgia conflict
As the "fog of war" clears over the Caucasus and the UN prepares to set up peace missions in Abhkazia and South Ossetia, what stands out is the apparently partisan role played by Western media in last month's five-day armed conflict. "I am surprised at how powerful the propaganda machine of the so-called West is. This is awesome! Amazing!" Russian Premier Vladimir Putin was quoted by the Interfax agency as saying Thursday while addressing Russia experts gathered in Sochi for a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club.


Nigeria rebels declare 'oil war'
Nigeria's main militant group in the Niger Delta has declared an "oil war" against forgeign-owned oil companies working in the region.


The right of no return
The debate on the Palestinian refugee problem has been confused and badly mishandled. While Israel maintains a consistent position, the Palestinians and the Arabs are often contradictory, vague and inconsistent.


'Cod delusion' leaves devastated stocks on the brink
Fishing vessels on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland are this week destroying the best hope for years that the region's cod fishery, once the world's most abundant, might yet recover.


Europe's 'last dictator' set to reap rewards for courting the West
Relatives of Belarus's disappeared dissidents, and beleaguered opposition parties, warn that the EU and US may temper criticism of a tightly-controlled general election in an attempt to woo President Alexander Lukashenko away from traditional ally Russia.


US operates anti-missile radar in Israel
The United States has recently deployed an anti-missile radar in Israel that is mainly to warn of incoming Iranian ballistic missiles, Israeli state radio reported Sunday.


Revealed: secret Taliban peace bid
The Taliban have been engaged in secret talks about ending the conflict in Afghanistan in a wide-ranging 'peace process' sponsored by Saudi Arabia and supported by Britain, The Observer can reveal.


Israel PM sees threat from "Jewish underground"
A new ultranationalist underground is apparently active in Israel and responsible for a bombing that wounded an outspoken critic of Jewish settlement in the West Bank, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Sunday.


Ecuador votes on new powers for leftist Correa
Millions of Ecuadorians from the Galapagos islands to Indian mountain villages vote on Sunday in a referendum that leftist President Rafael Correa is expected to win, tightening his hold on the oil-exporting nation.


Pakistan facing financial crisis
International efforts are under way to stop Pakistan from defaulting on its debts after its foreign reserves dropped to just $3bn.


"The Green Party is no longer the alternative, the Green Party is the imperative"

~ Rosa Clemente