Old News

U.S. Buys Russian War Choppers While New Yorkers Fired


June 2, 2011

Uncle Sam has fallen head-over-heels for a voluptuous Russian and has balled up his mighty fist and smacked New York workers in the nose.



The lanky, white goateed military powerhouse has signed on the dotted line for 21 Mikoyan Mi-17V5 helicopters.



Helicopter Sale to U.S. Just the Start The Moscow Times



Meanwhile, on the Homeland:



Military helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation is laying off 386 workers at its Sikorsky Military Completions Center in Big Flats, New York.



Sikorsky to lay off 386 in Big Flats Elmira Star Gazette



Taiwan’s Troubled Tests

January 19, 2011

He says there was no connection between the missile test firings and People’s Republic of China’s President Hu’s visit with U.S. strongman Barack Obama but Taiwan’s President, Ma Ying-jeou, is not happy with the way the missiles performed.



Nineteen missiles were launched during a multi-services exercise that was open to the press.



Six missiles didn’t make it to their targets.



Listed among the fails:



Two launches of Raytheon Sparrows didn’t get the job done. One dropped in the drink six seconds after launch and one over-shot its target.



A French MICA (Interception and Aerial Combat Missile) was launched from a Mirage fighter but also missed the bulls-eye and a Taiwanese homegrown air-to-air, Tien-chien II, hit the mark but didn’t blow-up.



President Ma wants to find out if the problems were caused by men or machines or both.



President dissatisfied with military drill performance The China Post



Exercise not related to Hu’s US visit: Ma The China Post



Taiwan missile test fizzles out Global Times



Israelis Snatch Shepherd

January 13, 2011

As if the collapse of their government wasn’t bad enough, Lebanese shepherds have to keep one eye on the flock and one watching for Israelis soldiers sneaking over the border and hauling them back to the occupied territories for a beating.



Israel kidnapped a shepherd from inside south Lebanon Wednesday, the Lebanese Army have said.

. . .

Israel kidnapped Lebanese shepherd Imad Atwi in June last year from the Shebaa Farms region. He was returned to Lebanon, via Unifil, 24 hours after going missing, with heavy bruising over his face and body. Atwi claimed Israeli soldiers had beaten him during detention.



In February 2010, shepherd Rabih Mohammad Zahra was taken from Lebanese territory by an Israeli patrol. An army communiqué at the time said that Zahra had been “severely beaten.”



Israel abducts Lebanese shepherd in south The Daily Star



Uncertainty grips Lebanon -Western powers accuse March 8 of subverting justice after government toppled The Daily Star



Update:



Israel returned the shepherd, Sharbel Khoury, to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.



Pakistan Embargos Onion Convoy

January 6, 2011

Wagah Crossing



Indians have been experiencing an onion shortage and have been lately relying on shipments from Pakistan but a convoy of 300 onion bearing trucks were stopped at the only land border crossing between India and Pakistan – Wagah Crossing.



The Pakistani government claims that the shipments to India were stopped in order to control prices.



Pakistan stops onion export via land route The Hindu



Putin’s Opposition Rounded Up

January 3, 2011

Article 31 of the Russian constitution promises the right to publically assemble for political rallies but that hasn’t stopped the government from busting unauthorized protests.



One opposition leader, Boris Nemtsov, was sentenced to fifteen days in jail and another, Ilya Yashin, to five days because they participated in an unapproved rally.



Some 70 detained at downtown Moscow protest rally RIA NOVOSTI



Russian opposition leader arrested for 15 days over disobedience to police RIA NOVOSTI



Moscow court arrests another opposition leader RIA NOVOSTI



China-India Border Propaganda Fight

December 19, 2010

China and India have been arguing about the length of their shared border for a long time and now the Chinese government run GLOBAL TIMES stated in a footnote that the China-India border is 2,000 kilometers long (1,242 miles).



India maintains that it’s actually 3,488 kilometers (2,167 miles).



Chinese media knocks off 1,600 km from China-India border Times of India



Alleged CIA NOC Fingered in Islamabad

December 15, 2010

It started as a complaint and now the Pakistani police have a First Investigation Report (FIR) filed on a U.S. citizen named REDACTED.



The FIR alleges that REDACTED has been ordering drone strikes from the U.S. embassy in Islamabad.



REDACTED is reportedly in Pakistan on a business visa rather than a diplomatic visa and, if the allegations are true, as a NOC (Non-official cover) he would be able to be arrested and charged with a crime.



REDACTED



A report from REDACTED assumes that REDACTED is in fact the CIA station chief.



REDACTED



Update:



CIA has confirmed his name is classified and it has been removed from this entry. He has reportedly left Pakistan.



Priests Unionize

December 13, 2010

Bulgarian Greek Orthodox priests who shepherd poor villages are having a tough time getting by so they asked for membership in the Bulgarian version of AFL/CIO – Podkrepa.



Podkrepa – the Confederation of Labor – is a combine made up of Bulgarian unions representing workers from a variety of trades.



Tomorrow Podkrepa will conduct a press briefing on what Google translate renders “Adoption of the Syndicate of the holy church officials.”



Bulgarian priests form trade union The Sofia Echo



South Koreans Given Counter Attack Greenlight

December 8, 2010

South Korea has been cautious in meeting violence from the North with equivalent force.



It is now ready to respond to attacks with equal or greater destruction.



The new doctrine for on-the-scene commanders is “act first and report later.”



The U.S. has promised to back-up South Korean command decisions with its own counter attacks against the North.



U.S. to join counterattack on N.K. Korea Herald



US fully backs Seoul’s right of self-defense The Korea Times



WikiLeaks – Julian Assange Has Geneva Address

December 6, 2010

WikiLeak’s Julian Assange is on the lam from the law and he needed a place to store his cash so he opted for an account with Swiss Post.



To get an account he needed to have a Swiss mailing address so he has established an official address in Switzerland’s Geneva Canton.



Update:



Swiss Post has determined that Assange lied about having a Geneva residence and has closed the account.



Assange turned himself in to London police. He was arrested and jailed in response to a Swedish criminal complaint of sexual assault.



India Test-Fires BrahMos Cruise Missile from Mobile Launcher

December 2, 2010

They’re billing it as the “World’s Best Supersonic Cruise Missile” and it had it’s first successful test launch from a mobile launcher today.



The BrahMos, manufactured by India’s BrahMos Areospace is a two-stage rocket with a range of 180 miles and can carry a deadly payload weighing about 660 pounds.



The utility killer has a top speed of 2,131 miles an hour and can be fired from planes, ships, subs and now . . . mobile launchers.



BrahMos missile test-fired successfully The Hindu


Hit Men Attack Iranian Physicists with Magnetic Bombs

November 29, 2010

Two Iranian physicists, one a laser technology specialist, were targeted by motorcyclists who attached magnetic bombs to their cars.



The attacks occured separately. Majid Shahriari was killed and Fereydoon Abbasi Davani will probaly survive.



Al Arabiya reports that the two scientists “were senior figures in Iran’s nuclear program.”



A physicist killed, another injured in terrorist explosions in Tehran Tehran Times



Ahmadinejad Blames West, Israel for Assassination of Iranian Lecturers FARS News Agency



Vice-Speaker Accuses US, Israel of Assassinating Iranian ScientistsFARS News Agency



Iranian university scholar assassinated Islamic Republic News Agency



Iran accuses CIA, Mossad of killing scientist Al Arabiya



North Korean Slave Laborers Leave Russia

November 28, 2010

Russia uses thousands of North Koreans as virtual slave laborers who are overseen by the communist dictatorship’s security forces.



The workers and their security force minders have packed up and moved back home.



Workers recalled as North Korea prepares for war Belfast Telegraph



Monaco wants a makeover

November 23, 2010

Prince Albert II wants the Principality of Monaco to change its image.



He wants Monaco to be known more for being smart and generous than exclusive and glamorous.



The principality will spend “over four million euros” on an ad campaign that will run throughout Europe.



Monaco looks to change its image The Monaco Times



Dope Peddler to Run Venezuelan Military

November 16, 2010

The U.S. Treasury Department says he’s a big time narco-thug. He says that he will not allow any opposition parties to snag power from Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez.



In a thank-you-kindly move, President Chavez has ordered the Venezuelan Ministry of Defense to promote Major General Henry de Jesus Rangel Silva to General-In-Chief.



Rangel Silva has materially assisted the narcotics trafficking activities of the FARC.



Treasury Targets Venezuelan Government Officials Supporting the FARC U.S. Department of the Treasury



Brand-new General-in-Chief has been accused of drug trafficking El Universal



Russian Spymaster in Hot Water over Double Agent

November 12, 2010

The head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, former Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov, is in deep do-do with the Duma because one of his spooks ratted out a Russian spy ring in the U.S..



The double, “Colonel Shcherbakov” is said to have fled to the U.S. shortly before U.S. President Obama and Russian President Medvedev met in D.C. this past June.



Probably the bigest fish netted by the F.B.I. was General Mikhail Vasenkov who, in the 1980′s, was awarded the title “Hero of The Soviet Union” for his work snooping on the U.S..



The Russian newspaper Kommersant, which broke the details on the double agent, reports that Vasenkov claims the F.B.I. broke his leg during interrogation.



Fradkov Under Fire for Spy Defection The Moscow Times



Kommersant reveals biography of exposed Russian spook RIA Novosti



Iranian Revolutionary Guards Destroy Arab Palace

November 9, 2010

There are around five million Arabs in the predominately Persian nation of Iran and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards don’t much care for any of them.



In 1919, an Arab sheik, Khazaal al-Kaabi, built a nice little palace on a prime piece of real estate on the banks of Iran’s Shatt al-Arab waterway.



The “Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution” have been eyeing the property for some time and now it’s gone.



Iran Guards destroy last Arab prince palace al Arabiya



Contract on Bulgarian Prime Minister

November 8, 2010

Earlier this week Tsvetan Tsvetanov, the Bulgarian Interior Minister would not deny that there is a contract out on the life of the nation’s Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.



When a Bulgarian television reporter asked him to confirm or deny the plot existed he said, “necessary measures are being taken.”



Today the Prime Minister confirmed the report.



The plot, discovered by Bulgarian Intelligence, involves a payment of 400,000 EUROS for the Prime Minister’s murder.



Tsvetanov does not deny alleged assassination plot against Boiko Borissov The Sofia Echo



Bulgaria’s PM Confirms Assassination Plot Sofia News Agency



Bulgarian Top Cop ‘Can’t Deny’ Assassination Plot against PM Sofia News Agency



Putin-Medvedev Power Struggle

November 4, 2010

The received wisdom was that Dmitry Medvedev would be a stand-in president while Vladimir Putin waited out a constitutionally required break as president.



Now, not so much.



Medvedev is liking being president and will probably run again in 2012.



For his part Putin is miffed and his people are bad-mouthing Medvedev as a lap dog for the US.



Fray Between Putin and Medvedev to Get Uglier The Moscow Times



Vietnam’s Girl Problem

November 2, 2010

In Vietnam, it’s a bad time to be a girl at conception.



The Vietnamese ancestor worship culture holds to a “men only” rule for taking care of the family altar. And, although Vietnamese law says they’re supposed to, females are not getting their fair share of inheritances.



Because civil servants are supposed to have a limit of two children, first time parents-to-be are checking the sex of the unborn and getting rid of the girls. That has led to a significantly greater male to female birthrate among expectant couples if at least one of the two works for the government.



Abnormal sex ratio among first borns worries experts Trahn Nien News



Big Brother Will Rub Your Crotch

October 29, 2010

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration has a sexy new procedure for making sure you’re not an al Qaeda operative – they will feel you up.



According to Fitzpatrick, a female screener ran her hands around her breasts, over her stomach, buttocks and her inner thighs, and briefly touched her crotch.



TSA to phase in new pat-down procedures at airports nationwide CNN



No word yet on whether “happy endings” are guaranteed.



China to Increase Military Ties to Russia’s and Iran’s Neighbor

October 27, 2010

The People’s Liberation Army of China has made an agreement with the government of Azerbaijan to “develop military-to-military cooperation and exchanges.”



Azerbaijan is bordered by Russia and Georgia to its north, Iran to its south and the Caspian Sea (the largest enclosed body of water on Earth) to its east.



The country splits in two at its southwest and borders both southeast and southwest Armenia.



It also shares a five and a half mile border with Turkey.



China, Azerbaijan pledge to strengthen military ties Xinhua News Agency



Azerbaijani Defense Minister to visit China Azeri-Press Agency



Bolivian-Iranian Lithium Dollars

October 25, 2010

With enough lithium reserves to supply all the world’s lithium needs for an estimated five thousand years, Bolivia has our attention.



This week Bolivian President Evo Morales is in Tehran to ask Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to chip in on the $900 million dollar investment required to get the mining and processing ball rolling.



Evo Travels to Iran, Seeks Lithium Investment Bolivia Weekly



Lithium – atomic symbol Li – is a common active ingredient in batteries and it can be used in nuclear fission and fusion reactors.



Bolivia Gets Pacific Port

October 22, 2010

The landlocked nation of Bolivia will have home port access to the Pacific Ocean for its Navy and merchant vessels on the coast of Peru.



Until its war with Chile in the 1880′s Bolivia’s western border was the Pacific Ocean but Chile won the “War of the Pacific” and Bolivia lost its ocean port and since then has had to rely on “port privileges” in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Paraguay to have ocean access.



Now, under the agreement with Peru, Bolivia will have a permanent port it can call its own.



Bolivia’s Navy To Have Access To The Pacific Ocean, Following Agreement With Chile’s Neighbor, Peru The Santiago Times



Putin’s New Chief of Staff – ‘Margarine Oligarch’

October 21, 2010

After Vladimir Putin’s chief of staff Sergei Sobyanin was sworn in as the new Mayor of Moscow, “United Russia” party Secretary Vyacheslav Volodin was named the new chief of staff for Putin.



The multi-millionaire Volodin made his fortune as an owner of vegetable oil factories and was dubbed the ‘Margarine Oligarch’ by the Russian press.



‘Margarine Oligarch’ Named Putin’s Chief of Staff Moscow Times



Cranberries to Infest Mouse House

October 21, 2010

Vacationers at Disney theme parks and on the company’s ocean liners will be seeing (cranberry) red in the near future as The Walt Disney Company and Ocean Spray have inked an agreement that puts cranberries on the menu throughout the Disney company’s properties.



Disney, cranberry growers make a deal Miami Herald



Fake Prostitutes in Israeli Storefront

October 19, 2010

Prostitution is legal in Israel and a group called the Task Force for Human Trafficking is trying to make it illegal to be a customer of a prostitute.



They came up with an attention getting publicity stunt.



They set up a storefront called WOMEN TO GO in a Tel Aviv shopping center with actresses posing as prostitutes in the store window and solicited signatures on a petition they will present to lawmakers.



Women for sale at the Dizengoff Center Jerusalem Post



According to a report published in 1997, at that time, Tel Aviv had an estimated 10,000 sex workers, mostly from Eastern Europe.



Israel Facts on Prostitution



The haredin (orthodox Jews) who crowd the Tel Aviv brothels


The Jihad Channel

October 18, 2010

Islamic satellite stations have “spread like wildfire in the Arab region” says the general manager of Al-Arabiya television, Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed.



He warns:



Their aim is to incite sectarian strife, or broadcast Jihadist appeals, then to raise more money through telephone donations, under the pretext of collecting for needy Muslims.



Banning Religious Satellite Channels Asharq Alawsat



Hassan Hamidoui of Al Arabiya said earlier this month:



The increasing number of programs that offer fatwas on satellite channels, commonly known as ‘satellite fatwas,’ have lately been stirring much controversy amongst Muslim scholars and raising questions about who is authorized to issue religious edicts and what are eligible topics.



Islamic channel launches express fatwa service Al Arabiya



Islamic Satellite Channels Popularity Booming Asharq Alawsat


Russian Tanks to Roll into Venezuela

October 15, 2010

Christmas has come early this year for Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.



Earlier today* it was announced Russia would build a nuclear power station in Venezuela and now the Russian News Agency RIA Novosti is reporting that Prime Minister Putin has promised the country delivery of 35 Russian tanks “soon.”



Venezuela is currently building a plant to manufacture the famous Russian “short sword” (designed for close combat) Kalashnikov assault rifle – known far and wide as the AK-47.



Russia to deliver 35 tanks to Venezuela – Putin RIA Novosti



*Russia to build nuclear power station in Venezuela Buenos Aires Herald


Get Married Or Get Fired

October 14, 2010

Shady Russian nuclear power plant baron Vasili Boiko-Veliky – “Boiko the Great” – has decreed that any of his 6,000 workers who are living with their sweethearts in a state of un-wedded bliss must hightail it to an Orthodox church and tie the knot or they will be canned.



Those who are married but did not take their vows in an Orthodox church are required to re-up in church.



Multimillionaire Draws the Line at Sin The Moscow Times



Maersk Dings Dong

October 12, 2010

Maersk – the multi-national shipping and energy corporation (A.P. Moller – Maersk Group) – has been using Dong Energy to get its natural gas into Denmark.



The company has announced it will no longer continue a relationship with Dong.



It is creating Maersk International Gas Marketing to do the job Dong has done.



Maersk takes on Dong The Copenhagen Post



Venezuela May Nationalize Cargill

October 12, 2010

The government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez plans on nationalizing the U.S. agricultural powerhouse Cargill and the locally big Venezuelan food producer Empresas Polar.



Venezuelan Minister of Food Carlos Osorio has called both privately owned companies “Oligopolies” – meaning the two companies dominate the Venezuelan food industry.



“Oligopolies do not ensure food security in the country and the Bolivarian* government has been fighting for 11 years against this issue. There are two groups at odds, namely socialism and capitalism. The attacks launched by the US through its domestic lackeys have not managed to halt the passage of revolutionary laws. The Bolivarian government has made progress in the last 11 years, despite capitalist and imperialist attacks.”



Venezuela’s government considers that Polar and Cargill must be state-owned El Universal



*Venezuela is officially called the “Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela”.



As we noted in Hugo Chávez Must Govern by Coalition, President Chávez can no longer govern by decree.



The new legislature may not go along with the plan.



Secret Irish “Troubles” Documents Now Online

October 11, 2010

Beginning in the 1960’s and lasting until the late 1990’s Northern Ireland suffered sectarian strife that was dubbed "The Troubles."



A United Kingdom law known as "the thirty year rule" requires secret documents declassified after thirty years.



Now, thanks to the efforts of the University of Ulster and the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, many of the former secret documents concerning The Troubles are available in their original form online in .pdf format.



Declassified files from Northern Ireland Troubles placed online Belfast Telegraph



University of Ulster’s Conflict Archive on the INternet (CAIN) listed by year



Northern Ireland Timeline History on the Net.com



China – Turkey Pact May Skip Dollar

October 8, 2010

Last month in Turkey Plays Air War Games with China the cat got out of the bag concerning no-no military cooperation between China and Turkey and today, at a joint press conference in Ankara, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao announced that they have initialed agreements and letters of understanding they’re billing as ‘strategic cooperation’.



In what may or may not be wishful thinking P.M. Erdoğan:



. . . said Turkey hoped the two countries could use their own currencies in bilateral trade.



China, Turkey to establish strategic cooperative relationship Xinhua News Agency



Erdoğan let it be known that Turkey also has its hopes set on an Istanbul to Beijing rail line.



(China has been planning and surveying a high speed rail line to Europe.)



Turkey, China hail ‘strategic cooperation’ amid protests Hurriyet Daily News



Iranians Buy Bucks Vietnamese Go For Gold

October 7, 2010

Earlier this week, the government of Iran began selling U.S. dollars to its citizens and now through October 12 the central bank of Vietnam will issue licenses which will allow selected companies to buy gold.



Long queues were seen on Tuesday outside several banks and official foreign exchange houses as dollars became freely available again.



Rial rebounds against dollar in sanctions-hit Iran Tehran Times



A source with direct knowledge of the licensing and quotas said nine firms were part of the arrangement, which would put the total volume somewhere between 1.8 and 2.7 tonnes [of gold].



Vietnam grants new gold import licenses, quotas Thanh Nien News



Austro-Hungarian Big Bust

October 5, 2010

Corporate HQ of Austrian Federal Railways was raided by Austrian federales at the request of the Hungarian government.



The Viennese Anti-Corruption Prosecution busted into both the company’s offices and homes of suspects in a bribery/slush fund caper.



Austrian Federal Railways is partly owned by the Austrian government and it has around 42,000 employees.



ÖBB offices raided over slush money suspicion The Budapest Times



Iran-Syria Free Trade Greenlighted

October 4, 2010

Tehran – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was in town this weekend to have a sit-down with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and to receive the Iranian top medal, the Grand National Order of the Islamic Republic of Iran, from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.



After the Syrian CEO received the big blue ribbon with attached gold seal it was announced that Syria and Iran have signed “a memorandum of understanding for the establishment of an Iran-Syria free trade zone.”



Assad meets Supreme Leader in Tehran Tehran Times



Operation Hardsell – U.S. (maybe) talks Japan into buying Grumman Drones

October 4, 2010

The hints, suggestions and out-right arm twistings are wearing them down.



The Japanese military has tentatively agreed to seriously think about buying three Northrop Grumman Global Hawk drones.



If the deal makes it through the maze of the Japanese military bureaucracy, the high flying craft will give the Japanese a birds-eye view of their not-so-neighborly neighbors – China and North Korea.



Japan may buy U.S. drones The Japan Times



Witchdoctor Bewitched Government of Zimbabwe

October 1, 2010

Rottina Mavhunga is no ordinary witchdoctor, she can buy a cow for a rock and she has friends in high places.



She is now doing twenty-seven months in the slammer for tricking “Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s entire Cabinet into believing that [refined diesel fuel] was oozing from a rock.”



Witchdoctor sent to prison for duping Mugabe Daily Nation – Kenya



Turkey Plays Air War Games with China

September 30, 2010

They’re kinda sorta not supposed to do it but NATO partner Turkey did it anyway.



It snuck behind NATO’s back and played war games with the Chinese air force.



D.C. is reportedly asking questions.



Turkey conducted war games with China, news report says Hurriyet Daily News – Istanbul



Norway Sinks Israeli U-Boat Tests

September 29, 2010

Thyssenkrupp is a brand familiar to many elevator riders but elevators are not the only things that go up and down that Thyssenkrupp makes.



In 1999 Thyssen merged with the famous German military armament giant Krupp and Thyssenkrupp then merged with submarine manufacturer Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft to form ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems.



The German company has been renting a Norwegian naval base for vessel testing and among the vessels are submarines sold to the Israeli Navy.



Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre has declared that since Norway does not “export materials or services to countries where there is war or threat of war” the testing must stop.



Stops testing of Israeli subs The Norway Post



Meet Kim Jong-un

September 28, 2010

We gave him a shout-out last week in Kim Jong Junior Plots G-20 Meet ‘n Greet Trouble News
WorldWide – WildCatViking and now everyone is talking about him.



We’ve seen his name spelled three ways: Kim Jong-un, Kim Jong Un and Kim Jong-eun. No matter how his name is spelled – of the newly appointed military generals of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) , Kim Jong-un is the up-and-comer.



His ol’ pop, Dear Leader Kim Jong-il was just re-elected as General Secretary of the Worker’s Party of Korea.



The younger Kim Jong was educated in the West, speaks English, tips the scales at around 200 pounds and is rumored to have heart disease and diabetes.



He has not been a prominent player in North Korean society until recently but now that he has been given the military rank of general it can be reasonably assumed he is on the fast track to a top position in the Worker’s Party of Korea.



Who is North Korean heir apparent Kim Jong Un? CTV News



Kim Jong-il’s youngest son named general JoongAng Daily



Kim Jong Il named general secretary of DPRK ruling party at crucial conference Xinhua News Agency



Kim Jong-il named general secretary of WPK China Daily



NK signals hereditary power succession The Korea Times



North Korea officially starts succession The Korea Herald



Hugo Chávez Must Govern by Coalition

September 27, 2010

Venezuelans voted Sunday for their legislators – the National Assembly – and the parties that back President Hugo Chávez did not receive enough votes to enable the controversial leader to pass laws on his own.



Venezuelans elects a multi-party National Assembly El Universal



Update:



On December 14, 2010 the National Assembly passed an “Enabling” act that will allow President Chávez to rule by decree.



National Assembly grants special ruling powers to Hugo Chávez El Universal



Japan Frees Chinese Boat Captain

September 24, 2010

China and Japan have been at odds over Japan’s arrest of Chinese boat captain Zhan Qixiong who reportedly rammed his boat into a Japanese Coast Guard vessel in the disputed waters of what the Japanese call the Senkaku Islands and the Chinese call the Diaoyu Islands.



Today the Japanese prosecutor in charge of the case said the skipper will be temporarily released because of the “potential impact on future ties with Beijing” his continued detainment may cause.



Japan decides to free Chinese boat captain Japan Times



Japan releases Chinese boat captain: NHK China Daily



Iranians Scramble to Get Film in Theaters before Oscar Deadline

September 23, 2010

The Iranian Documentary and Experimental Film Center wants the anti-war documentary “Farwell Baghdad” to be the Iranian submission for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Foreign Language Film Award but Academy rules require a movie to be released in two for profit theaters before October 1, 2010.



So, now the battle cry in Tehran is:



Hey Kids! Let’s premier a movie!



Iranian submission to Academy Awards to premiere before deadline Tehran Times



Two Argentine Newspapers Linked to “Crimes against Humanity”

September 23, 2010

From 1976 to 1983 Argentina was ruled by a brutal military junta that enjoyed the support of two media groups, Clarin and La Nacion. At the time of the takeover by the junta, both companies took control of the nation’s only newsprint company, Papel Prensa.



The government of President Cristina Kirchner has filed a formal complaint against the companies. The complaint asks the court to bring charges against two key employees of the media groups.



In a joint statement the papers counter:



“This new step confirms the institutional alarms both dailies have been sounding in terms of the government’s intention to steamroll media which do not agree with official policy”

. . .

“to link that purchase with crimes against humanity is a moral and legal aberration, utterly lacking any factual basis.”



Argentina Files Complaint Against Country’s Two Largest Newspapers The Santiago Times



Kim Jong Junior Plots G-20 Meet ‘n Greet Trouble

September 22, 2010

North Korean leader-in-waiting, Kim Jong-un led an “emergency meeting” of the North Korean National Defense Commission.



Radio Free Asia reports that the attendees discussed ways to keep the November G-20 meeting from taking place in Seoul.



“The defense commission regards the G20 meeting as a plot by world financial powers to isolate North Korea internationally,” RFA said. “To prevent it from happening, a concrete set of measures were discussed.”



Kim Jong-eun has plot to disrupt G20: RFA The Korea Times



Al Jazeera Photogs Pinched

September 22, 2010

Two cameramen working for Al Jazeera in Afghanistan were picked up by the International Security Assistance Force because they are suspected of working with the Taliban.



Al Jazeera countered that the arrests are “an attempt by the ISAF leadership to suppress its comprehensive coverage of the Afghan war”.



Al Jazeera slams ISAF over arrests Al Jazeera



Copenhagen Would-Be Bomber Finally Identifies Himself

September 20, 2010

On September 10 a bomb misfired and injured the attempted bomber in a restroom in the Hotel Jørgensen.



Bomb Fizzles in Copenhagen



The man who carried the bomb in a backpack had been telling authorities that he forgot his name.



Today he told them his name is Lors Doukaev.



Doukaev Admits Identity Copenhagen Post



Iran and South Korea Work-Around Sanctions

September 17, 2010

The Central Bank of Iran will establish accounts with “the Industrial Bank of Korea and Woori Bank by the end of this month.”



Trade between the countries will continue with all transactions paid for in South Korean Won.



₩ ≈ $0.0009



Iran, S Korea find way to dodge sanctions – Iranian PressTV



Vietnamese Tax Man Taps Butt Firm for Dough

September 16, 2010

International tobacco company, British American Tobacco promised the Vietnamese that in exchange for big tax breaks the company would buy 40% of its tobacco from local Vietnamese farmers.



An audit by Dong Nai Tax Agency claims that locally grown tobacco accounted for only 4.4% of the company’s product and is now asking for $13.5 U.S. million in back taxes.



The tax agency passed the information on to the Dong Nai People’s Committee.



Tobacco firm ordered to pay over $18.2 mil in overdue tax, fines Thanh Nien News



Oil Pipeline in U.S. Fixed But Oil Not Flowing Yet

September 15, 2010

The oil pipeline “Line 6A” which supplies 670,000 barrels a day from Canada to the U.S. has been shut off since last week when it spilled 6,000 barrels in Illinois.



The Illinois leak is repaired but the oil will not begin flowing until the U.S. Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration gives its OK.



Repairs done on Enbridge’s Illinois pipeline – Calgary Herald



Iran Releases Sarah Shourd to Swiss Embassy

September 14, 2010

Accused by Iran as a spy, Sarah Shourd has been imprisoned in Iran for over a year but is now on her way home.



She was released today to the Swiss embassy in Tehran.



Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said she was released “on humanitarian grounds.”



Iran releases female U.S. detainee Tehran Times



Shourd released over health condition Iranian Press T.V.



Turks Change their Constitution

September 13, 2010

The controversial changes to Turkey’s constitution were OK’d by a national referendum Sunday.



The changes will remove travel and strike bans and increase the number of judges and give Turkish citizens more access to the courts.What will the constitutional changes mean for Turkey? – Hürriyet Daily News and Economic Review – Turkey




Drones Strike Taliban


September 12, 2010

Reports are conflicting but 5 or 6 alleged Taliban members were killed by a U.S. drone which reportedly fired two rockets in the North Waziristan tribal district.



One report claims two foreign fighters were among the dead.



At least six killed in US drone strike – The Dawn – Pakistan



US drone strike kills five militants in North Waziristan – The Nation – Pakistan



Best Whorehouse in Sydney to go Public

September 11, 2010

The Stiletto Brothel – which proudly bills itself as “Simply Sydney’s Finest” – is about to become a publicly traded company.



It is due to merge with an already public Australian adult shop but before that can happen it has to become publicly listed.



Merger of sex companies is still in play Sydney Morning Herald



Bomb Fizzles in Copenhagen

September 10, 2010

It could have been bad but ended with the would-be bomber receiving treatment for burns.



The as-yet unidentified man – carrying IDs from two countries – was “in the bathroom of Hotel Jørgensen, located near Nørreport Station, the capital’s busiest commuter railway hub”



Although, apparently, the bomb’s initiator went off it did not ignite the bomb. It took the bomb squad five hours to robotically remove the backpack from the bomber and then detonate it.



No other injuries were reported.



Suspected bomber arrested The Copenhagen Post



Scientists Discover Dancing

September 8, 2010

Researchers at the University of Göttingen and Northumbria University showed women computer generated 3-D images and discovered that “men who dance vigorously with a fast-moving right knee and large, varied movements of their neck and torso are more attractive to women.”



Ladies love men with rhythm, study finds – The Local Germany



Japanese Greenpeace Sting Nets Suspended Sentence

September 7, 2010

Two Greenpeace Japan activists investigated illegal whale meat selling by placing an order and receiving the illegal meat. They turned the meat over to prosecutors hoping that there would be a criminal investigation but they were charged and convicted of the crime of receiving the meat.



Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki received a one-year suspended sentence from Aomori District Court. They plan to appeal the ruling.



Greenpeace pair guilty; no prison – The Japan Times



Putin Orders Extended Freeze on Grain Exports

September 2, 2010

Convinced that Russian grain dealers are holding onto grain in anticipation of the scheduled end to the Russian grain embargo at the end of the year, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has ordered the embargo extended until months into 2011 and possibly until the end of the grain harvest in the fall of 2011.



The Prime Minister’s news was a surprise to even the Agriculture Ministry which wasn’t aware of it until the public announcement.



Russia has had years of hard draught and raging wildfires this summer, severely straining its burgeoning grain export business.



Putin Extends Ban on Grain Exports – The Moscow Times



China Now Requires ID To Buy A Cell Phone Number

September 1, 2010

In the past, China’s 800 million cell phone users were not required to provide identification in order to get a phone number.



China is following the lead of Australia, India, Japan and Germany and now requires identification before a phone number is issued.



The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is requesting current mobile users to register.



ID required for new cell phones – China Daily



Turkey May Stop Defending Itself for Free Speech Violations

August 31, 2010

Turkey has used Article 301 of the Turkish penal code – the law makes it a crime to “insult” the government – as a defense in European Court cases involving free speech violations.



Today, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu hinted that Turkey will no longer use Article 301 as a defense in European Court cases and will try to settle those disputes out of court.



Turkey set to end defenses in freedom of speech cases – Hürriyet Daily News – ISTANBUL



BlackBerry “Gives In” – The Hindu

August 30, 2010

One of the reasons NEWS
WORLDWIDE WILDCATVIKING provides links to newspapers from around the world is so readers can see for themselves what spin is put on news stories country-by-country.



Today THE HINDU – New Delhi - headlines the agreement between Blackberry (RMI) and India’s Department of Telecommunication:



BlackBerry gives in, agrees to monitoring of its services



Volcano Erupts in Sumatra

August 29, 2010

Mount Sinabung hasn’t erupted in 400 years but it had been showing signs of activity for days and had been placed on “red level”.



After midnight local time it began spewing lava and a mile high cloud of smoke.



Volcano Erupts on Indonesia’s Sumatra after 400 Years – Jakarta Globe



Mount Sinabung in Sumatra erupts – The Jakarta Post



Earlier this month a more frequently active Indonesian volcano erupted, causing fatalities.

Four Killed as Indonesian Volcano Spews Lava – Jakarta Globe



Drones Kill Four Tehreek-e-Taliban

August 28, 2010

Four members of Tehreek-e-Taliban were being tracked by U.S. drones in the Kurram tribal district of Pakistan.



When their two vehicles stopped in front of a house both were destroyed.



There are no reports of innocents hurt in the attack.
The Dawn – Pakistan




Kenya Has A New Constitution – The Second Republic

August 27, 2010

Kenyans voted for a new constitution on August 4 and now they have one.



In It’s a new dawn for Kenya, and we deserve to celebrate Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki writes:



We have thus joined the countries of the world which have exercised the right to define their destiny.



In his essay Free at last, from the tyranny of the State Prime Minister Raila Odinga said:



On Friday, August 27, 2010, the old order has died and a new one born in our country. Our imprisonment in the colonial constitutional dispensation is over. The Imperial Presidency that the post-colonial regimes have created is now buried in history. A grand new republic — Kenya’s Second Republic – is born.



Iran Finds Uranium Veins

August 27, 2010

As the fuel rods are being lowered into Iran’s controversial reactor, Tehran Times is reporting that new uranium veins have been found.



“Previously, approximately a third of the country had been explored for uranium. But now, with the ample budget that the administration has committed to the organization (the AEOI), all of the country has been surveyed and some very promising veins of uranium have been discovered,” Salehi said in Tehran on Wednesday.



Tehran Times


French Will Stay in Afghanistan – Sarkozy

August 26, 2010

Responding to pressure to pull French forces out of Afghanistan, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in a foreign policy speech:



“France will remain engaged in Afghanistan, with its allies, for as long as is necessary and for as long as the Afghan people wish”



France 24


Construction outside Jerusalem’s Green Line should continue after Sept. 26 – Lieberman

August 26, 2010

Established in the 1949 Armistice, the “Green Line” has been honored in the current building moratorium in Jerusalem but Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in a radio interview (quoting The Jerusalem Post) “this situation should not continue.”



There are about 1,600 potential housing units that would be affected.



FM hints J’lem building was also frozen – The Jerusalem Post



Iran Ready to Arm Lebanon

August 25, 2010

Iranian Press TV reports that Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi has declared that, if they ask for them, Iran is willing to provide the Lebanese military with state-of-the-art weapons.




British Spy Murdered

August 25, 2010

Gareth Williams, reportedly an expert decoder for the British intelligence service – MI6′s Government Communications Headquarters (eavesdropping) – was found murdered in his apartment in a posh London neighborhood near MI6 headquarters.



The reports say he was stabbed and his body was stuffed in a sports bag.



Telegraph



Irish Times



Meet Your New Taliban

August 24, 2010

How much do you remember what life was like when you were eight years old?



Matthew Nasuti of Kabul Press has offered an eye-opening analysis of how much an average-aged Afghan can remember about Taliban rule.



He also maintains that “Taliban” has a different meaning to modern Afghans than it does to Westerners.



According to the CIA’s Fact Book on Afghanistan, the median age for Afghan males is 17.9 years.



. . .



the Taliban of 2010, is not the same as the Taliban of 2001. The Taliban of today is not a reclusive monolith of rural mullahs and students.



It is a broad-based grouping of religious, tribal and nationalistic forces (provincial and cosmopolitan) that are loosely associated.



Some are the intolerant, hard-corps Taliban of old; some are simply opposed to the foreign presence; some are seeking justice for perceived American and NATO abuses; some are fighting for religious purposes; some tribal groups fight because they have been marginalized by the current warlords; some fight because the Taliban pay well; and some fight to protect their criminal enterprises.



America’s war plan founded on a fading premise – Matthew Nasuti – Kabul Press