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


war on terror kabuki

1. the 14 countries considered "terror linked" by the US

U.S. government officials have reportedly said that Lebanon is among 14 "terror linked" nations whose citizens will undergo mandatory enhanced screening at U.S. airports.
U.S. officials Sunday toughened security measures for all U.S.-bound airline passengers, and warned those traveling from or via the 14 "state sponsors of terrorism" and "countries of interest" will undergo the screening.

...Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria are currently the only four countries designated state sponsors of terrorism by the State Department.

But a senior administration official told Agence France Presse the mandatory stringent measures, which would include pat-downs and enhanced screening, would apply to all passengers traveling from or via a total of 14 countries, including Afghanistan, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.

He refused to reveal the remaining four nations on the list but The New York Times and Washington Post quoted government officials naming them as Algeria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

read more @ naharnet

2. Obama to meet with intelligence people tomorrow, hold somebody accountable

"On Tuesday, in Washington, I will meet personally with relevant agency heads to discuss our ongoing reviews as well as security enhancements and intelligence-sharing improvements in our homeland security and counterterrorism operations," Obama said in a statement issued by the White House.

...The report is also likely to make recommendations on improving the sharing of information between the United States' 16 intelligence agencies.

Admiral Dennis Blair, the director of national intelligence, said in a memo to staff that those who made mistakes in the incident would be held accountable.

read more @ al manar tv

3. Jordanian killed in strike that hit CIA

The eighth man killed in a bomb attack on a secret CIA base in Afghanistan last week was a captain in the Jordanian spy service known as the General Intelligence Department (GID), The Washington Post reported late Sunday.
The official Jordanian news agency Petra identified the man as Ali bin Zeid, saying that he was killed "on Wednesday evening as a martyr while performing the sacred duty of the Jordanian forces in Afghanistan."

...Former CIA officer, Jamie Smith,told The Post that Jordanians are "particularly prized for their skill in both interrogating captives and cultivating informants, owing to an unrivaled expertise with radicalized militant groups and Shia/Sunni culture." Smith worked in the border region in the years immediately after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan.

Current and former US intelligence officials said the special relationship with Jordan dates back at least three decades and has recently progressed to the point that the CIA liaison officer in Amman enjoys full, unescorted access to GID headquarters, according to the report.

comment at al manar:

The CIA captures Muslims and the Jordanian Mukhabarat tortures them so their king can get more money to buy fancy stuff and to stay on his seat. Shameful. The real alqaida is their friend whereas various Muslims who are religious get picked up randomly and get branded alqaida loyalists and sent to the torture chamber. Why arent the CIA and their arab mukhabarat capturing those that are doing the actual bombings in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan etc? With all the money, intel and time they have spent they should have stopped the bloodshed by now and known where alqaida leaders are if they really were working with stopping it THAT IS. The history will remember the arab puppets as traitors of the worst kind and their soldiers and mukhabarat as the protectors of taghout and munafekin.

more @ al manar tv

4. full body scanners to fry travelers with radiation

TSA Security Laboratory Director Susan Hallowell recently announced the agency’s intent to use back-scatter X-ray machines for passenger surveillance. These hugely expensive, closet-sized zappers can find the plastic bombs hidden in grandma’s underpants, while delivering a smacking dose of ionizing radiation to her breasts and thyroid gland.

Snooper X-rays penetrate a few centimeters into the flesh and reflect off the skin to form a naked body image for TSA security personnel to inspect. These machines are already being field tested at several U.S. airports, including JFK, LAX and Orlando.

The most lucrative growth industry of our times is the “terror” business. Legions of companies lusting for government contracts are churning out police state technology at a frantic pace. In the last 17 months, TSA has received over 30,000 proposals for Big Brother technology and equipment needed to keep 280 million citizen-suspects under careful surveillance from the inside out.

...Officials must naturally defend compulsory passenger X-rays as harmless. But they are signing no guarantees because ionizing radiation in the X-ray spectrum damages and mutates both chromosomal DNA and structural proteins in human cells. If this damage is not repaired, it can lead to cancer.

read more @ no world system

5. India's ridiculous Mumbai evidence vs Pakistan's concrete Waziristan proof

Ø See A Comparison Between India’s evidences and Pakistan’s proof of Indian terrorism inside Pakistan

Ø China Has Strong Evidence Of Indian Terror Involvement In Tibet & Western China

Ø Musharraf showed a photograph to US ambassador Baitullah Mehsood was seen coming out of one of the Indian ‘diplomatic’ missions in Afghanistan

Ø Pakistan’s Interior Ministry & Foreign Office are mysteriously quiet on ridiculous Indian evidence

Ø Use of Indian currency in all parts of Afghanistan is encouraged, another sign of how US is trampling on Pakistan’s security interests in the region

South India's Vaigai Chemical Industries and Indian Ordnance Factories provide arms and explosives to terrorists in Pakistan. Evidence of Indian-origin combustible chemicals has been found in western Pakistan. The mysterious fire that gutted Karachi’s business district is not possible without the use of such material. India has already launched a two-front secret war against both China and Pakistan.

read more @ paknationalists

6. Petraeus hails progress as US transforms command -- talk about spin

BAGHDAD: A top US general hailed progress in Iraq yesterday while American forces underwent a transformation, with their command renamed to reflect the fact that no other countries have troops here. Multi-National Forces-Iraq (MNF-I), the name of the command of the coalition that invaded Iraq in 2003, was changed to United States Forces-Iraq (USF-I) in a ceremony attended by senior generals and Iraqi ministers at Al-Faw Palace at US Camp Victory on Baghdad's outskirts.

read more @ kuwait times


1. Rabbis to ambassador: time to 'go biblical' with Arabs

( A delegation of the Rabbinical Congress for Peace (RCP) met with U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Mr. James Cunningham, today and called for a reassessment of the entire U.S. policy vis-à-vis the Israelis and Palestinians. The rabbis told Ambassador Cunningham that it was time to try the Biblical approach to the dispute over the Land of Israel.

...Rabbi Dov Lior, the Rabbi of Kiryat Arba-Hevron, said: "G-d gave the US the power and influence to affect the rest of the world and supporting Israel is the key to America's success."

Ambassador Cunningham told the rabbis that he does not see how the problem can be solved “without taking into consideration the Palestinians,” to which Rabbi Gold remarked: "Ever since we started taking the Palestinians into consideration the situation only worsened."

The ambassador asked the rabbis, "So what is your solution to the problem?"

Rabbi Gerlitzky replied: "You must switch the entire approach to the situation. We all believe in the Holy Bible and up until now we tried every formula except for that which is delineated in the Bible. Let's try it and who knows, Mr. Ambassador, maybe this is your defining moment, that G-d Almighty has placed you in this capacity in order to precipitate a new course which will bring a true peace to the entire region."

more here:

2. Ayalon says world united against Iran

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon on Saturday said he believes that after the sanctions the international community will impose against Iran over its nuclear program, it could very well lead to a regime change in Tehran.

"It is not certain that the regime in power now in Iran will be there in one year," Ayalon claimed at a question-and-answer session in Tel Aviv.

"The world is uniting against Iran's nuclear program and within a month there will be United Nations Security Council sanctions," Ayalon went on to say.

"There is agreement in Washington, Moscow and Beijing that a nuclear Iran would destroy the current world order," he claimed.

Ayalon also addressed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent efforts to re0launch peace talks with the Palestinians, warning that "the Palestinians need to understand that time is working against them.

He added that he believes the US administration understands that the essential problem is that the "Palestinians aren't willing to be flexible in their approach."

source: al manar tv

3. Germany and Israel set for joint cabinet meeting on 1/18

A joint meeting in Berlin of the German and Israeli cabinets that was postponed in November will now take place on January 18, an Israeli government official said on Sunday.

more @ the local

4. the Kazakhstan plan

MOSCOW, Dec. 31 (Xinhua) -- Russia has no knowledge of an alleged Iranian plan to import purified uranium ore from Kazakhstan, the foreign ministry said Thursday.

Kazakhstan sidestepped questions Wednesday on reports it planned to ship purified uranium ore to Iran, saying only that it complied with international law and would issue a formal statement later.

5. Iranian lawmakers reject Kerry's request to visit

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian legislators on Sunday rejected a request filed by Head of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee John Kerry for paying a visit to Iran.

more @ fars

major fearmongering: save the earth through mining (and get ready to blame China), and mass death by germs, aka the earth strikes back at humans

1. concern as China clamps down on rare earth exports

Britain and other Western countries risk running out of supplies of certain highly sought-after rare metals that are vital to a host of green technologies, amid growing evidence that China, which has a monopoly on global production, is set to choke off exports of valuable compounds.

Failure to secure alternative long-term sources of rare earth elements (REEs) would affect the manufacturing and development of low-carbon technology, which relies on the unique properties of the 17 metals to mass-produce eco-friendly innovations such as wind turbines and low-energy lightbulbs.

China, whose mines account for 97 per cent of global supplies, is trying to ensure that all raw REE materials are processed within its borders. During the past seven years it has reduced by 40 per cent the amount of rare earths available for export.

...Jack Lifton, an independent consultant and a world expert on REEs, said: "A real crunch is coming. In America, Britain and elsewhere we have not yet woken up to the fact that there is an urgent need to secure the supply of rare earths from sources outside China. China has gone from exporting 75 per cent of the raw ore it produces to shipping just 25 per cent, and it does not consider itself to be under any obligation to ensure supplies of rare earths to anyone but itself. There has been an effort in the West to set up new mines but these are five to 10 years away from significant production."

read more @ independent

2. precious metals that could save the planet

Baotou was of little interest to the outside world for millennia. When one of the first visitors reached its walls in 1925, it was described as "a little husk of a town in a great hollow shell of mud ramparts". Some 84 years later, this once barren outpost of Inner Mongolia has been transformed into the powerhouse of China's dominance of the market in some of the globe's most sought-after minerals.

The Baotou Rare Earth Research Institute is home to some 400 scientists whose work has put China at the pinnacle of research into a group of 17 metals which sound as if they were dreamt up as poisons for superheroes – yttrium, promethium, europium – but whose unique properties make them indispensable to technologies worth trillions of pounds.

read more @ independent

3. deadly animal diseases poised to infect humans

The world is facing a growing threat from new diseases that are jumping the human-animal species barrier as a result of environmental disruption, global warming and the progressive urbanisation of the planet, scientists have warned.

At least 45 diseases that have passed from animals to humans have been reported to UN agencies in the last two decades, with the number expected to escalate in the coming years.

Dramatic changes to the environment are triggering major alterations to human disease patterns on a scale last seen during the industrial revolution. Montira Pongsiri, an environmental health scientist at the US Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, says that previous transitions in human history have had a devastating impact in terms of the spread of disease.

read more @ independent

4. 90 day pandemic simulation

Simulation of a pandemic flu outbreak in the continental United States, initially introduced by the arrival of 10 infected individuals in Los Angeles.

The spatiotemporal dynamics of the prevalence (number of symptomatic cases at any point in time), is shown on a logarithmic color scale, from 1 or fewer (blue) to 100 or more (red) cases per 1,000 persons. Without mitigation strategies, the entire nation becomes infected within a few months.

Depending on the reproductive number R0, effective intervention strategies can be successful without resorting to economically damaging measures like school closure, quarantine, and work or travel restrictions.

This large-scale agent-based simulation involves 280 million people, and uses demographic and worker flow data at the Census tract level, as well as long-range travel statistics, to describe the geographic movement of people. In this simulation, long-range travel is assumed to occur at a lower-than-normal rate (10 percent) due to travel advisories, but with no other mitigation strategies the pandemic quickly spreads nationwide, peaking about 90 days after the initial introduction.

Blue: Few or none of the population is showing symptoms, more precisely 1 or fewer per 1000 persons.

Green: 50 per 1,000

Red: 100 or more cases per 1,000 persons

source: prevent disease

5. on the bright side: top 10 health research initiatives for 2010

Rather than pursuing a new year's resolution that may be destined for failure, why not establish educational initiatives for your health to expand your knowledge. By researching the most effective health strategies, you will not only optimize your health for 2010, but you will develop a framework for health exploration that will take you in directions you never imagined in the years to come.

In no specific order, here's a list of 10 of the most critical topics of research to optimize your health this year and beyond.

1) WATER - The quality of our water is becoming of great concern as toxins continue to increase worldwide infecting all municpial water systems. Without proper filtration, soon it will be nearly impossible to access clean water in any major city throughout the world. Most governments continue to inject chlorine, fluoride and many other harmful chemicals that equally and negatively affect drinking and bathing water. Only independent research on techniques to clean your own water will keep your body free of toxins. Moreover, water wars will likely replace oil wars in the future, so relocating near a natural water source may be a growing consideration.

Research Terms:
water filtration, ceramic filters, tap water, pure drinking water, fluoride, reverse osmosis, carbon filters, distillation, structured water, bottled water

2) ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS AND WIRELESS RADIATION - The negative health effects of electromagnetic fields on biological tissue is very real although it remains highly controversial mostly due to the influence of the technology sector. However, virtually all scientists agree that more research is necessary to determine safe or dangerous levels. It's like one big human experiment which we won't know the results of for several decades. Now, with the increasing proliferation of wireless handheld and portable devices, it is literally impossible to escape EMFs in any major city.

The danger of magnetic, electric, wireless, radio (microwave), ground current, and high frequency radiation is that it is mostly invisible until great damage is done - like the increased risk of some brain tumors in long term cell phone users.

Research Terms:
electromagnetic fields, EMF, electromagnetic radiation, wireless radiation, cell phones, electrohypersensitivity, radiofrequency, RF, Radiofrequency radiation, electromagnetic radiation exposure, EMR.

read more @ prevent disease

africa news

1. September 2008: Nigeria lawmakers divided over Mossad training -- what could possibly go wrong???

Members of the National Assembly have expressed different opinions on the alleged invitation of Israeli intelligence agency to train the country's security operations under a secret security pact.

Former Chairman House of Representatives Committee on National Security and Intelligence, Rep Abdullahi Farouk (PDP, Kebbi State), said Nigeria does not need Mossad or any foreign intelligence organisation to train the country's security agents because Nigeria has the best security training institution in the country.

However, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on National Security and Intelligence, Senator Nuhu Aliyu, said he supports the alleged security pact with Israeli. He said "They (Mossad) are professionals and they are here to help train our own intelligence agents. I don't see anyway by which their presence in the country pose any threat to our National Security."

read more @ allafrica

2. Al-Sheikh recounts horror in Niger

Al-Sheikh described the events that led to the attack: “We were driving on a road near Niamey on our way to neighboring Mali when we passed an inhabited village at which we did not stop. Three kilometers from there we heard the Azan calling for the Fajr prayer so we stopped to do the prayer and to continue our journey afterwards. At the very moment while we were spreading the rugs to say the prayer, a black Jeep with three armed men stopped near us and besieged us. The armed men got down and started searching our car. They took our money and mobile phones. Then they took us to a place with trees far away from the road. They took us out of the car and started shooting at us. I received the first bullet but luckily I survived. They shot at my colleagues one after the other. Four of them died on the spot and two of us were injured. Only the driver was unhurt.”

read more @ arab news

3. Sudan's Beshir in Saudi Arabia for talks

Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir arrived on Wednesday in Saudi Arabia for talks, the official SPA news agency said. Beshir, who will stay in the kingdom for several days, was met at the airport by King Abdullah and other top officials, before heading to the king's Janadiriyah desert farm outside the capital for a banquet, SPA said.

Beshir will be discussing regional political issues and bilateral economic relations during the visit, Sudan's ambassador Hafez Ibrahim Mohammed said in a statement ahead of his arrival.
He will also visit Medina and undertake an umrah minor pilgrimage, SPA said.

Although Beshir has faced an International Criminal Court arrest warrant for alleged war crimes in Darfur since March 4, Riyadh has made clear it will not act on the warrant.(AFP)

source: naharnet

4. Ethiopian famine exaggerated?

The government of Ethiopia has moved to debunk claims by a US-funded Famine Early Warning System that has claimed that the majority of Ethiopians are starving and in dire need of food. Ethiopia has been extremely sensitive to images showing its people as starving since the famine of 1984-5 and have condemned any further portrayal of such negativity. The FEWS claims come in the backdrop of another report from IFPRI which shows Ethiopia in a distant sixth position on the Sub-Saharan Africa hunger index.

read more @

5. Moroccan, US military to strengthen cooperation

RABAT, Dec. 31 (Xinhua) -- Commander of the United States African Command (AFRICOM) General William E. Ward visited Morocco, vowing to strengthen cooperation with the Moroccan army, local satellite channel Medi 1 Sat reported Thursday.

Ward met with Lieutenant General Abdelaziz Bennani, general inspector of the Moroccan Royal Armed Forces (FAR) and governor of the Southern Zone, and the two discussed bilateral military cooperation and opportunities to strengthen partnership between the Royal Armed Forces and the U.S. Army, the report said.

This is Ward's third visit to Morocco, heading a AFRICOM delegation, after two previous visits in 2008.

Morocco is an important partner in the region for the United States, and its efforts of counter-terrorism and smuggling and involvement in peace-keeping operations are highly appreciated by the U.S. Army, the report noted.

AFRICOM command, currently temporarily headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, will coordinate U.S. military and security interests throughout the African continent.


milestones of the rich and powerful

1. Foreign Policy names 100 top thinkers, can't think of a single Russian

Foreign Policy, an influential political magazine, published the rating of The Top 100 Global Thinkers who affected mankind the most in 2009. The list includes experts in various spheres who affect public opinion and the world in general. The authors of the project intended to identify people whose intellectual quests shape the world where we live and will live in the future. This year, no Russians whose ideas determined the agenda of 2009 made it to the rating.

read more @ pravda

2. Spain takes reins of revamped EU

MADRID – Spain on Friday assumed the rotating presidency of the European Union, the first under a new leadership structure for the bloc which includes its first full-time president and a new foreign policy supremo.

...Spain has set as the priorities for its presidency of the EU a smooth implementation of the treaty and tackling the continent's economic woes.

read more @ global nation

3. world's tallest building opens in Dubai, exact height remains a secret until later today. must be a "special" number.

Developer Emaar Properties spent $1.5 billion on the tower since construction began in 2004. The building's official height will be disclosed later Monday, though it is certain to exceed the 800-meter mark. The world's second-highest tower, Taipei 101 in Taiwan, stands at slightly above 500 meters.

more @ reuters

4. Rothschild in talks to acquire Veolia Israel stake

Sources inform ''Globes'' that France's La Compagnie Financiere Edmond de Rothschild (LCF Rothschild) is in considering acquiring 30-40% of infrastructures company Veolia Environment Israel Ltd. in cash. ...Veolia Environment Israel operates through four divisions: Veolia Environmental Services; Veolia Transport Israel Ltd.; Veolia Water, which owns half of the Ashkelon desalination plant; and Dalkia Energy and Services Ltd., which owns 20% of private power producer Ofer Power Stations Ltd. (OPC). Veolia Israel's annual revenue is estimated at $350 million and has 1,600 employees and subcontractors.

more @ globes

5. butcher Sharon still in coma

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Ariel Sharon, the tough army general turned premier who shocked his hawkish supporters by pulling Israel out of Gaza in 2005, is still lying unconscious in a hospital bed, friends said Sunday on the fourth anniversary of the massive stroke that put him in a coma.

Sharon, 81, led Israel from 2001 until the January 2006 stroke that left him comatose.

Dov Weisglass, a close friend of Sharon and his former spokesman, told The Associated Press on Sunday that Sharon's vital signs are good but it was not clear if he would ever regain consciousness. Medical experts have said that is most unlikely.

read more @ rrstar

crime and trafficking news

1. woman in envoy's car

THE Romanian diplomat linked to a hit-and-run case was spotted in a car with an Asian woman less than an hour before the accident on Dec 15. The Straits Times understands he is believed to have dropped off a woman, said to be a Korean national, at her home in Bukit Timah at about 2.30am....The long-haired passenger in a white dress, who looked to be in her 20s, was quarrelling with Dr Ionescu, he claimed. The altercation was so serious that the Audi did not budge even when the lights turned green. Only after the cars behind had sounded their horns for almost a minute did the vehicle speed off in the direction of Bukit Timah, he added.

read more @ straits times

THE police are carrying out "very thorough" investigations into the hit-and-run accident linked to a Romanian diplomat, said Foreign Minister George Yeo on Monday.

2. Iranian police seize over 6 tons of opium

TEHRAN (FNA)- More than 6,256 kg of opium was seized from drug traffickers in Iran's northern city of Karaj, near the capital, the city's prosecutor office announced on Monday.

"More than 340 tons of drugs have been seized all over Iran in the past nine months," General Hamid Reza Hossein-Abadi said.

The United Nations credits Iran with the seizure of 80 percent of the opium netted around the world. During the past Iranian year (ended on March 20,) Iran seized more than 1,000 tons of opium smuggled from Afghanistan, the largest producer of opium poppy in the world.

read more @ fars

3. nearly 300kg of drugs seized in East Turkey

ANKARA, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- Turkish security forces have seized 120 kg of heroin and 170 kg of hashish in the country's east, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported Monday. Gendarmerie teams impounded the drugs hidden in rice sacks believed to be heading for Istanbul from Iran, the agency quoted officials as saying.

Six people were also detained in the operation in the Baskale town of the Van Province, it said. Turkey is a key transit route for smuggling drugs from Asia and the Middle East to markets in Western Europe.

source: chinaview

4. theft of 30 paintings in southern France

Around 30 paintings, including works by Picasso and Rousseau, valued at around a million euros (1.4 million dollars), have been stolen from a private villa in the south of France, police said yesterday. But a Modigliani initially believed to be part of the haul has since been found, police in Toulon said. The villa's French owner was holidaying in Sweden at the time of the break-in, which was discovered by the caretaker on Thursday afternoon.

Police said the owner had returned home to carry out an inventory of his collection to establish the exact loss. The reported burglary in La Cadiere d'Azur comes after a pastel by Degas disappeared from the Cantini museum in Marseille on New Year's Eve. The 1877 pastel worth 800,000 euros had been lent for an exhibition by Paris' Orsay museum. The painting had been unscrewed from the wall and there was no evidence of a break-in, police said, indicating the thief or thieves knew how to get round the museum's security system.-AFP

source: kuwait times

5. conviction for Sweden's 'youngest female pimp'

A 17-year-old girl from Malmö in southern Sweden has been convicted for selling the sexual services of a 14-year-old mentally disabled girl. The 20-year-old man suspected of masterminding the pimping operation was acquitted....In addition, three other women, two aged 19 and one 18 years old, were also convicted for their role in exploiting the disabled teen....A subsequent police investigation revealed that the girl was pimped out weekly to about five customers, who paid between 500 kronor ($75) and 1,000 kronor for the girl's sexual service, with the lion's share of the revenue going straight into the pockets of the suspects.

source: the local


useful failed states in the War on Terror: Somalia

1. Somalia: minister says Yemeni rebels send weapons to Somali Islamist groups

Mogadishu, (RBC Radio) Somalia’s defense minister of state had said on Saturday that the Yemeni rebel groups sent weapon to Somali islamist groups, to support the fighting against the government.

...The Shabab rebel groups had vowed on Friday to send their fighters to contribute the fighting between Yemen government and Shias rebel group of Huthis in the northern province of Yemen.

...He added that two boats carrying arms from Yemen and arrived at the port of Kismayo, which is controlled by a group of young people in southern Somalia last week.

There is no effective central government in Somalia since 19 years and has undermined the insurgency led by the youth movement which Washington regards as an agent of al Qaeda in the region, the West’s efforts to install a government.

And Western security services say that the role of Somalia as a haven for militants, including foreign jihadists are using Somali territory of conspiracy to carry out attacks in the region and beyond has grown over the years.

read more @ rbc radio

2. Alhu-Sunnah recapture strategic central town from rebels

Fighters loyal to Somalia’s Ahlu-Sunnah Wal-Jama have reportedly recaptured central Somali town of Dhusamareb, the capital of Galgadud region after battling with Al-Shabaab insurgents who earlier took the control of the town.

Heavy fighting in the town on Saturday claimed the lives of at least 30 people, including combatants and civilians while 70 others who were wounded are now getting treatment in a hospital in central town of Guriel.

...The two groups have long history of animosity and the latest clashes are feared to ignite more violence in the central regions where they both have large military presence.

read more @ garowe online

3. US & UK close embassies in Yemen due to aq threats

The US and Britain shut their embassies in Sana’a on Sunday after security threats from a Yemen-based al-Qaeda group that has claimed responsibility for the foiled Christmas day attack on a transatlantic passenger jet.

On its website, the US embassy said the closure was “in response to ongoing threats by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to attack American interests in Yemen”. The UK embassy made no comment. However, the closure of the embassies in the Yemen capital underlined the seriousness with which western governments are taking the threat posed by AQAP.

read more @ financial times

4. UK to help US in Yemen AND Somalia

LONDON, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- Britain has agreed to continue working hand-in-glove with the United States to tackle the evolving threats of terrorism from Yemen and Somalia, the prime minister's office said on Sunday.

...British Prime Minister Gordon Brown told the BBC on Sunday that Britain has been working closely with the Americans to strengthen counter-terrorism cooperation in Yemen.

read more @ chinaview

5. piracy picks up off Somali coast

After an apparent lull in activity, pirates off the coast of Somalia have hijacked four merchant ships within one week, including two British-flagged vessels. Over 250 seamen are now held hostage.

...Although the location of the seized vessels is well known, they can all be seen anchored off the Somali coast, experts say it would be impossible to liberate the hostages without severe loss of life.

"If the pirates are already on board, then there is not much that we can do - if you value the lives of the hostages," Commander Pieter Bindt, head of the EU's anti-piracy taskforce, NavFor, said.

In the past, heavy ransoms amounting to millions have been paid for hijacked ships.

But it's believed the ransoms have merely encouraged the pirates, enabling them to equip themselves with faster boats, better guns and state-of-the-art tracking technology.

read more @ dw-world

6. piracy money being laundered through Kenyan real estate

Kenyan government spokesman Alfred Mutua said that there is suspicion that some of the money that is being collected in piracy is being laundered by the purchase of property in the country especially at this time when Kenya is facing global challenges of security such as terrorism and others, it is very important for them to know who is where and who owns what. Mutua also hopes that this will also help the government catch tax evaders. The reason why Kenya may be an attractive spot for pirates to launder their money is because it shares borders with Somalia and has investment opportunities and a large Somali community in the country.

read more @ newstime africa

7. LONDON - A cargo ship and a chemical tanker have both been hijacked by pirates in the perilous waters off the coast of Somalia, officials said yesterday....the Singaporean-flagged Pramoni, a chemical tanker with a crew of 24, was seized by pirates in the heavily defended Gulf of Aden, one of the world’s busiest waterways.

source: boston globe

8. limited hangout -- yeah so maybe we missed a few things what of it?

LONDON: British intelligence agencies knew three years ago the accused Detroit bomber had made contact with Islamic extremists while studying at university in London but failed to flag him as a possible terrorist risk.

And, according to counterterrorism officials, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had had ''multiple communications'' with MI5 targets who had been the subject of email and phone surveillance.

read more @ sunday morning herald

9. UN sanctions Eritrea for helping Somali rebels because *somebody* needs to be punished

Somalia — The Islamist officials of Hizbul Islam have sharply denounced the arm embargo which the United Nations imposed on Eritrean government which allegedly supporting the Islamist fighters in Somalia, officials said on Wednesday.

The information secretary said that they were very sorry for the sanction against the Eritrean government pointing out that there are more governments intervening Somalia and were not imposed any sanction.

read more @ angop

10. China to establish naval base around Somalia

Rear Admiral Yin Zhou’s, a senior Chinese naval officer has suggested that China will establish a permanent base in the Gulf of Aden to aid its anti-piracy operations. The proposal was posted on China’s Defence ministry website. The Admiral went on to say that supplying and maintaining the fleet off Somalia was challenging without such a base, and said other nations were unlikely to object. The Chinese navy currently has no overseas bases, but media outlets and forums in China are calling for this to change. On Monday, a Chinese cargo ship and its crew of 25 were rescued from Somali pirates on Monday, and a $4m ransom was paid to their kidnappers.

read more @ newstime africa

11. Aha, solution solution: bring in the international community.

In various circles—especially within the Somali Diaspora—there are lively discussions on the seemingly forgotten values of compromise, coexistence, collective security and common-good. And the consensus seems to gravitate toward two particular priorities.

...On their part, as was reiterated in the 16th meeting of the ICG (International Contact Group) recently held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the international community is committed to take a more active role in the Somali issue.

...Though the international community’s interest in Somalia is broad, here is some of the oft-cited strategic rationale:

- To prevent potential spread of transnational terrorism
- To prevent radicalization of Somali Diaspora youth
- To find a home for the floating command center known as AFRICOM ( Africa Command Center )
- To control the Indian Ocean and thus control the life-line of China ’s energy security as its oil imports from various African nations travel through that route
- To protect one of the world’s most critical commercial arteries from piracy
- To monitor and stabilize the threat coming from a volatile geographical area that the Pentagon refers as The Arc of Instability [ Somalia , Sudan , Eritrea , Ethiopia , Yemen , and Kenya. 2/3 of the world’s refugee population come from three of these countries]
- To provide access to the identified but unexplored natural resources DING DING DING DING DING!

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