Foreign articles

US under pressure on WikiLeaks allegations

US under pressure on WikiLeaks allegations

Washington on Sunday came under increasing pressure to investigate the allegations in the leaked Iraq war documents published by WikiLeaks, which Britain’s deputy premier called “shocking”.
Governments and human rights organisations alike put the focus on answers to the allegations made against the United States, allied and Iraqi troops as the whistleblowing website released 400,000 classified US military documents.
The flood of material from 2004 to 2009 offers

‘Israel can’t cite Bible to justify occupation’

Israel cannot claim Palestinian territory as its promised land citing the Bible to justify its occupation and the expulsion of Palestinians, a Catholic archbishop said Saturday.
Cyril Salim Bustros, head of the Greek Melkite Church in the United States, made his comments after the Middle East synod of Catholic bishops called on the United Nations to implement its resolutions and end Israeli occupation of Arab lands.
The synod’s final statement, drawn up by

Afghans say NATO killed 2 students as bomber attacks UN office

Afghan officials accused NATO-led troops of killing two school boys in central Afghanistan on Saturday after a patrol came under fire by Taliban insurgents, as three suicide bombers wearing police uniforms and burqas attacked the UN office in western city of Herat on Saturday, senior police and UN officials said.
Civilian casualties caused by international troops while fighting insurgents are an emotive issue in Afghanistan, causing friction between President Hamid

Leaked documents recount tales known by every Iraqi

Iraqi schoolteacher Fatima Razak does not need the WikiLeaks revelations to know about the scars of the US-led occupation, because she wears them on her disfigured face.
Every morning she looks in the mirror and relives the horror of 2007, when she says a bullet fired by a US soldier sliced through her cheek. Fatima was caught in a bottleneck at one of the numerous checkpoints the Americans set up throughout Baghdad after the 2003 US-led invasion.
She waited

French unions fight on as pension law nears adoption

The French government struggled to restore fuel supplies on Saturday, but unions dug in their heels at strike-hit oil refineries after the Senate approved the pension reform bill at the heart of the dispute.
Despite weeks of protests and strikes that have hit railways and refineries hardest, the flagship reform of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s term is expected to be finally adopted by Wednesday. On the first day of a 12-day mid-term school holiday, Transport Minister

Peace with Palestinians would help US on Iran: Peres

Israel needs good ties with the US to survive and must be more understanding of US demands over securing peace with the Palestinians, Israeli President Shimon Peres said on Friday.
Peres said an end to the Palestinian conflict would improve the US’ own security position in the Middle East and help isolate Iran. His comments came as a diplomatic deadlock deepened over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s refusal to bow to demands from Washington to extend a freeze

‘Nuclear codes lost during Clinton presidency’

Special codes that allow the US president to order a nuclear attack went missing “for months” during Bill Clinton’s time at the White House, his former top military officer says in a memoir.
The nuclear authorization codes, known as the “biscuit,” are supposed to remain close to the US president at all times and are safeguarded by one of his aides. “At one point during the Clinton administration – and until this day, to my knowledge this has never been released –

Cholera epidemic in quake-hit Haiti kills 135

A cholera epidemic in northern Haiti has claimed 135 lives and infected 1,500 people, an official said Thursday amid concerns of a wider outbreak in the impoverished nation.
The epidemic has grown in the past few days but has not yet reached the major displaced persons camps in and around the capital Port-au-Prince, which was ravaged by a 7.0 earthquake in January that left 1.2 million people homeless.
But officials fear an outbreak in densely populated tent

French unions defiant as police clear refinery

French riot police rushed picket lines to break a blockade of the main fuel refinery supplying Paris on Friday as unions hardened their stance before a vote on President Nicolas Sarkozy’s pension reform.
Signalling their determination to keep fighting even after a bill raising the retirement age becomes law, the country’s six main unions have called for two more days of action on October 28 and November 6 against the unpopular reform.
“The protests are not

Berlusconi pledges to end Naples waste crisis

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi pledged a swift end to the Naples garbage crisis on Friday as TV pictures of piles of rubbish and angry protests put his struggling government under pressure.
At least 20 police officers were injured on Thursday and there was further violence overnight as the chronic problem of waste disposal in Italy’s third largest city flared into violence for another night.
Hundreds of tonnes of garbage lie uncollected in the

Bomb on crowded bus kills nine in Philippines

Nine people were killed on Thursday when a bomb exploded aboard a packed passenger bus in the troubled southern Philippines, authorities said.
The military and police said Muslim militants or bandits who are known to operate on the southern island of Mindanao could have been behind the attack, with extortion the likely motive.
“The bus company has long been receiving extortion letters from armed groups operating in the region,” regional military spokesman

China won’t confirm Japan meeting, tensions return

China refused to say on Thursday whether Premier Wen Jiabao will meet Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan at a regional summit this month, and a Chinese diplomat accused Japanese foreign affairs minister of rekindling ill-will.
The swipe at Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara by Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Hu Zhengyue exposed the prickly tensions that still dog ties between Asia’s two biggest economies, despite their efforts to overcome a maritime dispute.

Ahmadinejad tells Saudi king he wants united Lebanon

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Saudi King Abdullah in a telephone call that the aim of his controversial visit to Lebanon last week was to promote its unity, his office said on Thursday.
The Wednesday evening conversation between the two leaders their second in eight days came as the regional arch-rivals have been competing for influence in both Lebanon and Iraq.
Praising King Abdullah’s own visit to Lebanon in July, Ahmadinejad said: “We too have now

French students clash with police ahead of new protest

French protestors blocked key sites and clashed with police Thursday as unions called for further mass nationwide protests against President Nicolas Sarkozy’s bid to raise the retirement age.
With no fuel left in more than a quarter of petrol pumps, police are playing what unions dubbed a game of cat and mouse with protestors at depots and refineries in a bid to prevent the country grinding to a halt.
“By taking the French economy, businesses and daily life

EU parliament endorses 5-month maternity leave

STRASBOURG: European lawmakers voting amid a sea of pink and blue baby balloons, gave their blessing to hotly contested plans for all new mothers across Europe to have five months of maternity leave.
Some governments have warned the 20-week fully paid leave will add a huge burden to hard-pressed taxpayers, while business leaders say it may work against giving jobs to women in the long term.
In a first reading of the proposal, a large majority of MEPs voted in favour of

Britain cuts spending, raises retirement age

LONDON: Britain said on Wednesday it would cut half a million public sector jobs, raise the retirement age and slash the welfare state as part of the biggest spending cuts in a generation.
After months of bitter negotiations, Conservative finance minister George Osborne confirmed he would press ahead with almost all the spending cuts he had outlined in a June budget.
Capital spending, however, he said would be 2 billion pounds higher per year than originally planned

Israeli minister warns Netanyahu of peace talk failure

PARIS: Israel’s Labour Party would walk out of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government if peace talks with the Palestinians do not resume by the end of the year, a senior party figure said.
“We will force the Labour Party to move out,” Minorities Affairs Minister Avishay Braverman, who intends to challenge Defence Minister Ehud Barak for Labour’s leadership, told Reuters.
“I will do everything I can,” he said in an interview at a left-wing think tank in Paris. “I