cue the lightning bolts

the only question that matters: is it true?

Iran has signed the NPT. As a signatory to the NPT, Iran may rightfully, legally, use nuclear technology for peaceful energy purposes. Iran has submitted to and passed repeated IAEA inspections. The US intelligence community (NIE) does not consider Iran a nuclear threat. Israel refuses to sign the NPT. Israel has an estimated several hundred undeclared nuclear weapons. Russia and China have warned that an attack on Iran will have global consequences. That's the situation in a nutshell. Where to next, people? Where to?

Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? - Galatians 4:16


things go missing

1. Headley's papers missing

Confusion over the visa papers of two terror suspects arrested in the U.S. persisted with the Minister of State for External Affairs, Shashi Tharoor, indicating that David Headley’s papers were untraced, although his Ministry maintaining that such a conclusion would be inaccurate.

Earlier, when asked about media reports of missing visa papers, Foreign Secretary, Nirupama Rao, said, “I have asked for factual report. The matter is under investigation“.“There is a procedure. I will not answer any questions in this regard,” she added. In response to queries, the Consulate in Chicago said, “We have not reported loss of any papers regarding issuance of visa to David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana. Relevant information concerning the issuance of visa to these persons is available with the Government of India.”

read more @ the hindu

2. aangirfan: on it

Will the Indian government blame the USA for the Mumbai bombings of 2008?

The government of India, which is led by the Congress Party, is reportedly anxious to keep in with the USA.

Many of the key people within the Indian military, police and parliament may be assets of the CIA. Former Prime Minister Morarji Desai faced allegation of being a CIA agent.

read more @ aangirfan

3. indian man found with 8kg of diamonds smuggled out of Congo

KINSHASA - AN INDIAN businessman has gone on trial in Kinshasa accused of trying to smuggle US$500,000 (S$700,000) worth of diamonds out of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Police said they stopped Ajudiya Pravin Kumar at Kinshasa airport on Dec 10 as he was about to return to India and found more than 8kg of rough diamonds in a plastic bag in his luggage.

Kumar did not have a permit to export the gems and was brought before a court in the city charged with illegally possessing and trafficking diamonds, attempted corruption and fraud. Experts from the Congolese centre for valuing and certifying minerals (CEEC) said the diamonds weighed 42,000 carats, or 8.4kg. Kumar, who has worked as a diamond trader in Congo for the last six years, told the court he had not realised the stones were diamonds.

'I bought stones which were to be used to make ladies' necklaces - not diamonds,' he said. 'The stones I bought at the art market (in Kinshasa) are ordinary stones, souvenirs for my family.'

CEEC's technical director Amuri Dayito told the court the package contained industrial-grade diamonds rather than gems suitable for jewellery.

'Mr Kumar is a professional who is well familiar with the different standards of diamonds,' Mr Dayito said, implying that Kumar could not have confused diamonds with other stones. A verdict in the case is expected by Thursday. -- AFP

source: straits times

4. Indonesia bars Amdocs from projects

The Indonesian ministry of communication and information technology said that it will investigate telecommunications companies connected with Israel. The announcement came a day after Indonesia's minister of communications said he will remove Amdocs Ltd. (NYSE: DOX) from the bidders on a project to supply billing services to PT Telkom Selular Indonesia because of an Israeli investor in Amdocs.

The minister, from the conservative PKS political party, said that the move is justified because Indonesia does not have diplomatic relations with Israel. There is no law which requires diplomatic relations with countries in order to do business with the companies from those countries but the minister apparently relied on a 1999 law which directs to "protect the public interest." A ministry official told the "Jakarta Globe", "We will investigate the involvement of Israeli-affiliated companies in Indonesia's telecommunications industry," adding that the government will impose sanctions on local companies found to be breaking the law.

source: globes

5. another north american jewish community rocked by ponzi scheme

Members of Toronto's Jewish community have lost more than $27 million in a Ponzi scheme perpetrated by one of its own members, Canada's National Post newspaper reported on Tuesday. The alleged fraud involving 76 high-profile investors came to light after a small printing plant in the Richmond Hill section went bankrupt. The scheme was allegedly run by Tzvi Erez, 42, a prominent community member who owned the small print shop and claimed he was brokering large jobs for blue-chip clients, according to two of his alleged victims who spoke to the National Post.

more at haaretz

6. plot thickens over Russian pantyhose probe

The mystery surrounding why exactly a Swedish diplomat was selling smuggled pantyhose in a Moscow kiosk grew on Tuesday as the Swedish foreign ministry alleged the Russian media portrayal of the incident was a deliberate smear attempt.“They’ve presented the story in a way which deliberately sullies the diplomat’s reputation,” Swedish foreign ministry spokesperson Anders J├Ârle told The Local.

...Speaking with the TT news agency, a unnamed source from the foreign ministry described the 35-year-old as a capable diplomat.

The source went on to suggest that the Russians had elected to spread the story about the Swedish diplomat’s extracurricular activities in response to an incident last week during which the wife of a Russian diplomat in Stockholm was accused of shoplifting.

read more @ the local

7. fresh doubts on Mannichl stabbing case

The unsolved stabbing of former Passau police chief Alois Mannichl – allegedly by a neo-Nazi – was thrown into doubt Tuesday when the public prosecutor in the case dismissed his testimony as inconsistent.In an interview with Stern magazine, senior public prosecutor Helmut Walch said Mannichl had been “not consistent during his interrogations.”

The attack, which took place just over a year ago in the Bavarian city, left the then police chief in hospital with a serious stab wound. He said he had been stabbed by a tall skinhead but doubts have since been cast on the story.

Now, for the first time, the public prosecutor is openly expressing concerns, saying Mannichl’s evidence had been mired in inconsistencies.

read more @ the local

8. Venezuelan judge's arrest creates fear, UN experts say

GENEVA, Switzerland (Reuters) -- Three UN human rights experts on Wednesday accused President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela of creating a climate of fear among his country's legal profession with the arrest last week of a woman judge. The three, all from developing countries, criticized the detention of Judge Maria Lourdes Afiuni, who was seized by police on Dec. 10, a day after she ordered the conditional release of long-imprisoned banker Eligio Cedeno.

...Cedeno was arrested three years ago and is accused of using funds from his bank in a foreign exchange fraud. The bank he previously owned, Banco Canarias, was sold to a businessman with government links who was jailed in November after the bank collapsed.

read more @ caribbean net news

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