Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Libya: civil war breaks out as Gaddafi mounts rearguard fight

Forces loyal to Col Muammar Gaddafi made good on threats to trigger a civil war in Libya on Wednesday night, by taking up positions across the capital, Tripoli and launching a rearguard fight against rebels in major cities.

Residents of parts of the capital were trapped in their homes as "thousands" of soldiers patrolled the streets accompanied by African mercenaries.

Tanks took up positions around public buildings including government offices, while sandbag defences were also being built.

"We will fight until death," a pro-Gaddafi soldier in his early 20s said outside a military compound close to Tripoli's Green Square, which had been cleared of demonstrators by yesterday morning. (read more)

Cameroonians plan anti-government protests

Opposition groups in Cameroon are planning "Egypt-like" protests Wednesday to call for the president's ouster after almost three decades in power.

President Paul Biya is running for re-election later this year.

"People yearn to see a change in government. He's been in place for 28 years," said Kah Walla, 45, an opposition member who is also running for president.

Walla, one of the main organizers, said protests are planned in Douala and the capital, Yaounde.

(Read more)

Streets of fire: Protesters set policeman alight as riots erupt in Athens - 23rd Feb 2011

- Rally of 30,000 in capital turns nasty as petrol bombs are hurled at police
- Central Bank of Greece attacked, and paving stones smashed
- Protesters chat 'Don't obey the rich - fight back!'
- Level of 'anger and desperation' increasing, warns union leader
- Also scuffles in Greece's second-largest city, Thessaloniki

WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT

Protesters clashed with police today in the Greek capital, Athens, as a 24-hour general strike gripped the financially hit country.

More than 30,000 demonstrators clashed with police near to the Greek parliament buildings, and hurled petrol bombs and stones, causing a dramatic inferno.

To combat the angry protesters, who are unhappy about severe budget cuts, the police sprayed the crowd with tear gas and used stun grenades - but that served to only inflame the situation. Read More

Gaddafi's Next Move: Sabotage Oil and Sow Chaos?

There's been virtually no reliable information coming out of Tripoli, but a source close to the Gaddafi regime I did manage to get hold of told me the already terrible situation in Libya will get much worse. Among other things, Gaddafi has ordered security services to start sabotaging oil facilities.

They will start by blowing up several oil pipelines, cutting off flow to Mediterranean ports. The sabotage, according to the insider, is meant to serve as a message to Libya's rebellious tribes: It's either me or chaos. Two weeks ago this same man had told me the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt would never touch Libya. Gaddafi, he said, had a tight lock on all of the major tribes, the same ones that have kept him in power for the past 41 years. The man of course turned out to be wrong, and everything he now has to say about Gaddafi's intentions needs to be taken in that context. (read more)

Libya's Gaddafi DID personally order Lockerbie bombing and I have PROOF, claims former Justice minister - 23rd Feb 2011

Libya's former justice minister claims Colonel Gaddafi personally ordered the Lockerbie bombing which killed 270 people in 1988.

Swedish tabloid Expressen says Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, who has just resigned from his cabinet post in protest at the violent crackdown against anti-government demonstrations, told their correspondent in Libya: 'I have proof that Gaddafi gave the order about Lockerbie.'

He told Expressen Gaddafi gave the order to Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the only man convicted in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, which killed all 259 people on board and 11 on the ground.

'To hide it, he (Gaddafi) did everything in his power to get al-Megrahi back from Scotland,' Abdel-Jalil said.

Al-Megrahi was granted a compassionate release from a Scottish prison in August 2009 on the grounds that he was suffering from prostate cancer and would die soon. He is still alive.

The Expressen said its reporter, Kassem Hamade, interviewed the ex-justice minister at 'a local parliament in a large city in Libya.'

The interview is sure to provoke fury on both sides of the Atlantic, and stoke yet more international pressure on the Libyan leader, who is desperately clinging to power after a popular uprising against his dictatorial rule. Read More

Gaddafi's son Seif wounded in gunfire, dictator has fled: Muslim Brotherhood

Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi’s son Seif al-Islam Gaddafi, who has been leading the campaign to quell the popular uprising that has reportedly led to the fleeing of his father, has been wounded in gunfire, the Muslim Brotherhood has said citing unofficial reports. The report also says Gaddafi, his wife and daughter have fled the country.

The frontline Egyptian Opposition group that took an active role in the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, said in its website on Monday that 38-year-old Seif al-Islam, the second son of Gaddafi, has been wounded in gunfire, but gave no further details.

"Unofficial reports proliferating that Seif al-Islam Gaddafi wounded by gunfire, while his father has fled with his wife and daughter," the website said in a terse report on the unfolding events in Libya, where more than 200 people have been reportedly killed ever since anti-government protests erupted last week. (read more)

Report: Libyan aircraft crashes after troops refuse bombing orders


A Libyan military aircraft crashed Wednesday southwest of Benghazi after the crew refused to follow orders to bomb the city, Libya's Quryna newspaper reported.

The pilot and co-pilot parachuted out of the craft, and the plane crashed in an uninhabited area, the paper said.

The Russian-made Sukhoi-22 aircraft crashed west of the city of Ijdabiya, 160 km (100 miles) southwest of Benghazi, Quryna reported, citing military sources. (read more)

Christiana Figueres Warns Of 'Climate Chaos,' Urges Militaries To Invest In Prevention

Global warming is a looming threat to stability and national security around the world, and militaries should spend some of their ever-expanding budgets on reducing carbon emissions to avoid "climate chaos," the U.N.'s top climate official said Tuesday.

Christiana Figueres, head of the U.N. climate secretariat, warned of the destabilizing effects created by growing water stress, declining crop yields and damage from extreme storms in some of the world's poorest countries, which could set off mass international migration and regional conflicts.

Figueres said the world's military budgets grew by 50 percent in the first nine years of this century. Rather than continue that growth in weaponry, she said, the generals should invest in preventative budgets to "avoid the climate chaos that would demand a defense response that makes even today's spending burden look light." (Read more)

Government shutdown is likely, Pelosi aide says

A high-ranking aide to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told chiefs of staff of Democratic lawmakers that a government shutdown is more likely than not, according to attendees.

Speaking at a regular meeting of the top aides to House Democrats, Pelosi’s floor director, Jerry Hartz, offered, unprompted, his assessment that the odds favor inaction before the government runs out of money, sources said.

That became the focal point of the meeting, sources said, with the other aides asking only questions about “the possibility of a government shutdown and the logistics” — i.e., what it would mean for their offices and government services — according to one chief of staff who spoke to POLITICO on the condition of anonymity. (Read more)

Growing number of investors fearing a catastrophic stock market crash

In an unprecedented move, the number of investors fearing a catastrophic stock market crash is rising even with the stock market at 2 ½ year highs.

The unusual dislocation comes from two distinct reasons: a lack of trust in the U.S. financial markets following the so-called Flash Crash last May and the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2007.

This means the Flash Crash Advisory Commission that met on Friday has a long way to go in restoring confidence to the point that will bring the individual investor back into a market still ruled by high frequency trading, exchange-traded funds and leveraged hedge funds. (Read more)

Control: 10 Ways In Which Google Runs The World


As far as mega corporations in bed with the government go, Google sits somewhere close to the top of the tree. The company was seeded with CIA money and is literally an a corporate arm of the intelligence community.

The following ten facts highlight how much influence Google has, and how the company has seemingly abandoned its own corporate motto, “Don’t be evil”.

#1 – Google has intimate and long standing connections to government spy networks.

The company has established a close working relationship with the National Security Agency, the government spy force responsible for warrantless monitoring of Americans’ phone calls and e-mails in the wake of 9/11. Google is supplying the software, hardware and tech support to US intelligence agencies in the process of creating a vast closed source database for global spy networks to share information. (Read all 10 ways here)

First Egypt, then the US? Wisconsin protests show why 'week of rage' matters to rest of America

Plans by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) and the legislature to gut collective bargaining – the tool by which public unions secure pay and benefits – for most public employees could spill into other Midwest states as a wave of small-government conservatives elected last year take on some of Democrats’ most cherished ideals.

No region of the country was more comprehensively recast by the 2010 elections than the seven states of the upper Midwest that arc from Minnesota to Ohio. Where before Democrats had held the upper hand, Republicans now have a virtual stranglehold on politics, controlling both houses of the legislature and the governors’ chairs in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

The full import of that switch has become apparent on the streets of Madison, Wis., this week. At least 25,000 union Wisconsin protesters amassed Friday morning in and around the Capitol to protest the governor’s plans. Earlier in the week, there had been as many as 40,000. Schools have been canceled, and one rally lasted a marathon 17 hours. (Read more)

Could the U.S. government shut down?

Could the United States government run out of money, stop paying its creditors worldwide and just shut down?

"The strength of the American dollar as a world currency is grounded on the unconditional guarantee by the United States to pay its debts," said Democratic Senator Dick Durbin.

"A default on that commitment, a near default, a threat of default, no matter how short, would be a first in the history of the United States."

From Tokyo to Toronto, governments of all sizes are facing tough budget choices. The U.S. is no exception and this week President Obama proposed a multi-trillion-dollar budget that lawmakers will probably fight over for months.

The problem is that Washington faces a bigger budget decision much sooner. Read more

Vulture Gyps indicus, have declined in population by more than 90 per cent throughout India. - 23rd Feb 2011

'Electrocution may be a cause for falling number of vultures'

PUNE: City-based NGO Ela Foundation and the National Institute of Virology (NIV) have said in a recently-published research paper that electrocution may also be an explanation for the decreasing numbers of vultures in India, apart from other factors like shortage of food and Diclofenac poisoning, which occurs after vultures scavenge carcasses of livestock treated with a drug called diclofenac.

The research is based on the behavioural and virological studies done on a rescued Oriental White-backed Vulture Gyps bengalensis, which was found in an open field at Bhangaon village in Shrigonda taluka.

"It has been reported that the two species of vultures, the Oriental White-backed Vulture and the Long-billed Vulture Gyps indicus, have declined in population by more than 90 per cent throughout India. It was believed that morbid birds exhibit signs of illness (neck drooping syndrome) for approximately 30 days prior to death. Read More

North Korea criticizes Seoul over 'mad' military exercise - 23rd Feb 2011

SEOUL: North Korea Wednesday criticized a "mad" upcoming major military exercise by the United States and South Korea, saying it heightens the danger of war.

The drill "proves South Korean warmongers are going crazier in provoking a war regardless of the people's desire for dialogue and peace", said Pyongyang's government newspaper Minju Joson.

The annual Key Resolve/Foal Eagle drill, starting next Monday and ending on March 10, will take place amid high tensions on the peninsula following two deadly border incidents last year.

The North's shelling of a South Korean border island last November killed four people including civilians and briefly sparked fears of war.

Seoul says Pyongyang also torpedoed one of its warships near the disputed Yellow Sea border last March, a charge it denies.

Inter-Korean military talks aimed at easing tensions broke down this month.

The newspaper, quoted by the North's official news agency, said the South's authorities "have answered our suggestion of wide-ranging talks with a mad military exercise.

"With South Korean warmongers' reckless war provocations, the inter-Korean relationship is worsening and the danger of war is increasing day by day," it said.

The United States bases 28,500 troops in the South to deter any attack from the North.

It says the annual drill is defensive while the North habitually describes it as a rehearsal for invasion. Source