Megawati for global coalition
to tackle terrorism
AFP, JAKARTA , August 8
Indonesian president Megawati Sukarnoputri called for
a global coalition to tackle terrorism the day after an
Indonesian court handed a death sentence to one of the Bali
Delivering the ASEAN Lecture
here, Megawati said the September 11 attacks on the United
States, last October's Bali bombing, and the deadly car
bombing in Jakarta on Tuesday have shown that regional plans
of action to tackle terrorism and cross-border crimes like
drug smuggling are inadequate.
became clear that no single country or group of countries
could overcome this threat alone. In Indonesia's view, which
is shared by the rest of the ASEAN members, it would take a
global coalition involving all nations, all societies,
religions and cultures to defeat this threat," she said.
Indonesian newspapers on Friday welcomed
the death sentence handed to Bali bomber Amrozi by a court on
Thursday but warned it will not stop future terror attacks.
Amrozi, 41, was the first of 34 suspects
to be tried for the October 12 bombings that killed 202
people, mostly Western holidaymakers, on the resort island.
Police blame the Bali attack on the
Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) militant Islamic network, which seeks to
topple elected governments and set up a pan-Islamic state in
much of Southeast Asia.
They have also
linked JI to the JW Marriott blast in Jakarta and warned of
future attacks, possibly in retaliation for the Bali verdict.
The sentence is "an event of major
significance," wrote The Jakarta Post in an editorial.
"Indeed, both the judgment and the
circumstances that led to it can be regarded as setting a new
milestone in the country's history of jurisprudence," the
A smiling Amrozi welcomed
his death sentence with a raised right fist and then gave two
thumbs up as police led him away.
Republika daily called his behaviour "rather odd...as if a
hero had just won a war."
said Amrozi's reaction to the sentence is a reminder that
terrorism cannot be defeated by relying only on heavier
penalties and repressive actions.
Amrozi's thumbs-up drives us to reply that we will never run
out of militants ready to become martyrs," the paper wrote in
The paper said rising
"social frustration" and exploding unemployment contribute to
militancy while Megawati's government has failed to promote
democratic reform necessary for combating terrorism.
Koran Tempo warned the battle against
terrorism will be a marathon one that must be conducted with
the guarantee of civil rights and free speech.
"Without all that, we will watch again
with shattered hearts a smile and happy flash in the eyes like
the one shown by Amrozi yesterday," the paper said.
US used napalm-like firebombs
during Iraq invasion: Pentagon
AFP, WASHINGTON, August 8
forces used napalm-like MK-77 firebombs against Iraqi forces
in their drive toward Baghdad last spring, a Pentagon official
confirmed Thursday, defending their use as legal and
US Marine Corps jets dropped
the firebombs at least once in March to take out Iraqi
positions at the town of Safwan just across the Kuwait border
from the US-led invasion force, the official said, speaking on
condition of anonymity. It is like this: you've got enemy
that's hard to get at. And it will save your own lives to use
it, and there is no international contraventions against it,"
the official said. "I don't know that there is any humane way
to kill your enemy."
Marines used the
napalm-like bombs on at least two other occasions during the
drive to Baghdad - against Iraqis defending a bridge across
the Saddam Canal and near a Tigris river bridge north of the
town of Numaniyah in south central Iraq, the San Diego Tribune
"We napalmed both
those (bridge) approaches," Colonel Randolph Alles, the
commander of Marine Air Group 11, was quoted as telling the
newspaper. "Unfortunately, there were people there because you
could see them in the (cockpit) video.
"They were Iraqi soldiers there. It's no
great way to die," he said. The MK-77 are filled with a
different mix of incendiary chemicals than napalm but have the
same terrifying effect, a penetrating fire that seeps into
dug-in infantry positions.
West Bank violence jolts
REUTERS, West Bank, August 8
militant Islamic group Hamas vowed to punish Israel and said
it was reviewing its commitment to a month-old cease-fire
after a West Bank raid on Friday in which two members of its
armed wing were killed.
soldier was shot dead in the operation in Askar refugee camp
in the city of Nablus, and violence also erupted along the
Lebanon frontier, shattering months of calm.
Asked if Hamas was reassessing the
three-month truce that has helped underpin a U.S.-backed
Middle East peace plan, Ismail Abu Shanab, a leader of the
organization in Gaza, told Reuters: "That is correct."
An Israeli field commander, who could be
identified under army regulations only as Colonel Harel, said
the raid was aimed at arresting two senior Hamas men planning
attacks on Israelis.
Hamas's armed wing,
the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam brigades, promised a payback.
"The crimes of the Zionist enemy
committed against our people...will not pass without the enemy
paying a proper price for these violations," the brigades said
in a statement.
"We call on our
resistance cells to respond to these crimes and to teach the
enemy a deterrent lesson," the statement added in an appeal
which Abu Shanab said he supported.
brigades identified their dead as Fayez Assader, 26, Qassam's
leader in the Nablus area, and Khamis Abu Salem, 22.
On Israel's northern frontier,
Hizbollah, using anti-tank missiles, automatic weapons and
mortar bombs, attacked Israeli army posts at Shebaa Farms for
the first time in seven months.
guerrilla group regards the area as Lebanese territory. The
United Nations says it is Israeli-occupied Syrian land.
Israeli military sources said there were
no Israeli casualties in the attack, launched six days after a
boobytrapped car killed a Hizbollah official in Beirut in a
blast that Hizbollah blamed on Israel.
Witnesses in south Lebanon said Israeli
aircraft responded with heavy strikes on the eastern and
southern edges of the Lebanese border village of Kfar Shouba.
The Israeli military sources said
Israeli artillery launched barrages and Apache helicopter
gunships took to the air to try to locate the source of fire.
Hizbollah, which is backed by Syria and
Iran, last attacked the Shebaa Farms area in January. Israeli
troops withdrew from south Lebanon in 2000, ending a 22-year
occupation under daily assault by Hizbollah fighters.
Commenting on the West Bank raid,
Colonel Harel said troops who surrounded the building where
the Hamas men were holed up came under fire from inside after
calling on the occupants to leave. Residents heeded the call,
the militants did not.
exchange of fire, an explosive charge or an explosives-making
workshop blew up, the officer said. Witnesses said the blast
caused the top floor of the three-story building to collapse.
The army then blew up the rest of the structure.
Local residents said eight families were
made homeless. Harel said the army had no choice but to
destroy the building because it was "filled with explosives."
Hun Sen wins in polls
amid reports of FUNCINPEC defections
AFP, PHNOM PENH, August 8
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen officially took line
honours in national elections, amid reports of defections from
a rival party that could help him rule in his own right.
The National Election Committee (NEC)
said preliminary results from the July 27 poll showed Hun
Sen's Cambodian People's Party (CPP) had won 2.45 million
The opposition Sam Rainsy Party
(SRP) was next with 1.13 million votes while the royalist
FUNCINPEC party, which served as a junior partner in the
CPP-led outgoing coalition, was third with 1.07 million votes.
"The preliminary results show the CPP is
leading," NEC spokesman Tep Nitha told reporters. "However, we
cannot declare who the winner is until the number of seats is
Tep Nitha said the
allocation of seats in the new parliament -- to be decided on
a proportional representation basis -- would be announced by
CPP President Chea Sim
urged all parties to accept the results, saying they reflected
the will of Cambodians from an election that has been widely
praised by independent election monitors.
"Cambodia is moving forward on the
principle of democracy," he said. "And no other politicians
can destroy the result of this election."
The CPP has claimed it will score 73
seats in the 123-seat National Assembly, a result that falls
short of the two-thirds majority required to rule in its own
Secret of walking on water uncovered
LONDON , August 8
that's how they do it. If you have ever wondered how insects
like water striders walk on water or skim across the surface
of ponds, rivers and oceans, scientists in the United States
have the answer.
Rather than move by
creating waves, as some researchers had thought, the insects
use one of their three sets of hairy legs like oars to create
vortices or spirals in the water that propel them forward at
speeds of up to 60 inches per second.
Professor John Bush of the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology and his colleagues who uncovered the
secret said that although tiny waves were created, they were
not the main driving force.
momentum transfer is primarily in the form of subsurface
vortices," Bush said in a report in the science journal
Water striders, also known as
skimmers, come in hundreds of different species ranging in
size from one centimetre (about half an inch) to the giant
Vietnamese variety - 20 times bigger and still able to walk on
The researchers uncovered the
secret by using sophisticated tracking and a high-speed video
camera that showed the curlicue patterns they made.
They also created a mechanical water
strider, called Robostrider, based on the real thing.
It is made out of a drinks can, with
stainless steel wire legs and an elastic band and pulley as
its middle legs.
Amrozi appeals as Indonesians cheer verdict
Indonesia, August 8
Indonesia's "smiling bomber" told his lawyers on
Friday to appeal against the death sentence he was given for
his role in last year's Bali attacks despite saying during his
trial he wanted to die a martyr.
Indonesians from street sellers to a presidential candidate
cheered Thursday's conviction by a court in Bali.
Amrozi, the 40-year-old
mechanic-turned-militant, signed a document authorizing his
defence team to appeal the conviction, his lawyer, Mirzen,
Chief defence lawyer
Wirawan Adnan said they would not argue that Amrozi was
innocent but their appeal, which had to be lodged within seven
days, would be on the grounds their client was denied due
Dubbed the smiling bomber for
his chilling grin, Amrozi admitted buying the van that was
later packed with explosives and detonated outside one of two
nightclubs on the resort island in October 2002. The attack
killed 202 people, many of them foreign tourists.
Legal experts have said any appeal
against Amrozi's verdict was likely to fail, due in part to
immense pressure from a government keen to limit economic
fallout from terror fears.
lauded the death sentence, and one of the country's most
prominent Muslim leaders said convicted "terrorists" should
have their punishment meted out immediately.
US appoints Bush supporter to salvage Iraqi
AFP, WASHINGTON, August 8
major Republican fundraiser and backer of President George W
Bush, Thomas Foley, have been appointed to salvage the Iraqi
corporate sector, one of his companies said.
Foley was named the director of public
sector development for the Coalition Provisional Authority in
Iraq, electronic and mechanical manufacturer TB Woods, of
which he is chairman, said in a statement.
In Iraq, he will oversee 194 state-owned
"Mr. Foley will also be
responsible for developing a privatization plan and foreign
trade and investment programs for Iraq," said the statement,
dated Wednesday. Foley is to report to the US governor of
Iraq, Paul Bremer.
During his posting in
Iraq, Foley is to take an unpaid leave of absence from the TB
Woods board, the company said.
Six killed in factional violence in Somalia
MOGADISHU, August 8
least six people were killed and nine were wounded on Friday
in clashes between two rival armed groups in Somalias southern
Bay region, militia sources and local elders said.
The fighting in the village of Habarre,
175 kilometres (105 miles) south of Mogadishu, was between two
militia groups loyal to rival leaders of the split Rahanwein
Resistance Army (RRA) faction, according to Aden Nur
SaransorEa member of one of the groups.
The Bay and Bakol regions, previously
controlled by a united Rahanwein Resistance Army, have seen
intermittent bouts of violence triggered in 2000 by a power
struggle between warlord Hassan Mohamed Nur ShatigududEand his
two former allies Sheikh Aden Mohamed ModobeEand Mohamed
Somalia last had a
functioning government in 1991 when the regime of dictator
Mohammed Siad Barre was overthrown. The country has since then
been ripped apart by interclan warfare.
Taylor moves closer to exit as humanitarian
AFP, MONROVIA , August 8
Liberian President Charles Taylor was edging closer
towards fulfilling his pledge to finally surrender power, as
the United States promised to provide more aid to help the one
million people facing a humanitarian crisis in the West
African country. But a mysterious arms shipment that arrived
overnight Friday in the Liberian capital Monrovia raised new
questions about Taylor's commitment to stand down.
Taylor, a former warlord indicted for
war crimes by a UN-backed court in Sierra Leone, sent a
message to Liberia's parliament on Thursday in which he
admitted he was no longer in a position to stay on as
He claimed in the message
that he was the victim of an "international conspiracy", which
meant he was no longer able to preside over what he described
as the humiliation of the Liberian people.
"They have prevented me from carrying
out my constitutional responsibility of defending the country,
providing essential social services to the people," he said,
referring to UN sanctions and an arms embargo in place since
Parliament approved Taylor's
resignation by 46 votes in favour with one against, as well as
his choice of Vice President Moses Blah as his successor.
Taylor's comments came as a Nigerian
advance guard of West African peacekeepers made their first
foray into Monrovia, as they bid to impose peace between
Taylor's loyalist troops and rebel forces.
But they also coincided with news of the
arrival of a Boeing 707 jet at Monrovia's main airport with an
illicit shipment of enough arms and ammunition to fill two
Liberian Defence Minister Daniel
Chea attempted to retrieve the cargo, but was prevented from
doing so by the Nigerian peacekeepers, sources close to the
If all goes according to
plan, Taylor should step down at midday on Monday and start
making preparations to travel to Nigeria, the region's
economic and military giant which has offered him asylum.
But while it appears increasingly likely
that Taylor will fulfil his pledge to step down in three days,
it remains unclear when he plans to leave Liberia -- a key
sticking point in the search to end the latest four-year bout
of civil war in the country.
officials have indicated Taylor wants guarantees that he will
not be pursued by the Sierra Leone court when he takes up
asylum in Nigeria.
has also asked the International Court of Justice in The Hague
to quash the indictment and the international arrest warrant
issued by the court.
But on Thursday,
both UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and US officials said
that Taylor would not escape trial even if he left Liberia.
"The law has to take its course," Annan said.
Powell reiterates US opposition to
non-aggression pact for DPRK
AFP, WASHINGTON , August 8
Secretary of State Colin Powell reinforced US
opposition to North Korea's demands for a non-aggression pact,
but hinted that Congress could endorse a less formal guarantee
if it emerged from nuclear-crisis talks.
Powell restated the consistent US
refusal to offer the Stalinist state such a formal pact as a
way out of the crisis, noting that President George W Bush has
repeatedly said he has no plans to invade the Stalinist state.
But he suggested during a session with
foreign reporters that Washington could provide some kind of
security assurance to Pyongyang, especially if it eventually
emerged from six-party talks on the showdown expected within
the next two months.
"What we have said
is there should be ways to capture assurances to the North
Koreans from not only the United States, but we believe from
other parties in the region that there is no hostile intent
among the parties that might be participating in such a
discussion," Powell said.
comes up with such a document, such a written assurance, there
are ways that Congress can take note of it without it being a
treaty or some kind of pact," he said.
"A resolution taking note of something,"
Powell said, suggesting a form of action Congress could
pursue, short of ratifying a treaty.
Some observers have suggested that one
way out of the North Korean crisis might be to frame a new set
of East-Asia security guarantees, encompassing not only North
Korea and the United States, but China, Japan and other
As Powell spoke, a Chinese
diplomatic delegation was in North Korea to fine-tune policy
approaches ahead of the six-way talks. Vice Foreign Minister
Wang Yia, who is considered a candidate for Beijing's chief
delegate to the talks, is leading the delegation on its three
day visit, according to China's official Xinhua news agency.
North Korea has said the talks,
involving Russia, Japan, the United States and the two Koreas
would take place in Beijing, but details and timings are still
Russian Guantanamo prisoners fear to return
Russian nationals captured by US troops in Afghanistan and
held at a US base in Cuba fear returning back to Russia
because prison conditions there are even worse, the Gazeta
newspaper reported Friday.
daily quoted a letter written by one of the eight men back to
his family in Russia as saying that detainees in Guantanamo
were being treated well.
being beaten or humiliated," Gazeta quoted Ayrat Vakhitov's
letter as saying.
"I don't think there
is even a sanatorium in Russia that would compare to this,"
said the letter.
Vakhitov's mother Amina
told the paper that she also hoped that her son would not be
extradited to Russia for trial.
the Russian prisons and the Russian courts," Amina said.
She said her son, a native Chechen, went
to the restive republic after serving a brief year prison term
in Russia "just to check things out."
Then he went on to Afghanistan, where he
was detained by the Taliban, and later arrested by US troops.
Last November the US ambassador to
Moscow, Alexander Vershbow, said Washington was prepared to
hand over Russian citizens captured in Afghanistan on
condition that they are put on trial.
Captured in Afghanistan in late 2001,
some 680 people from 42 countries are being held without trial
at the US base in Cuba in conditions that human rights groups
have denounced as unacceptable.
US freezes assets of Chechen rebel warlord
WASHINGTON, August 8
United States on Friday designated feared Chechen warlord
Shamil Basayev a threat to US national security and imposed
financial sanctions on him, including a freeze on his assets.
Basayev "has committed, or poses a
significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism that
threaten the security of US nationals or the national
security, foreign policy or economy of the United States,"
Secretary of State Colin Powell said.
The blacklisting of Basayev under
various executive orders signed by President George W. Bush in
response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the
United States was announced in the Federal Register.
Basayev is the main separatist warlord
in the breakaway Russian republic of Chechnya and has taken
responsibility for a series of suicide attacks in May that
killed nearly 100 people, as well as the October
hostage-taking in a Moscow theatre.
officials also accuse Basayev of having received millions of
dollars from Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network.
In late February, Powell similarly
designated three Chechen rebel groups affiliated with Basayev,
accusing them of ties to al-Qaeda and adding them to the US
list of banned terrorist organizations.
The three groups affected by that move
were the Riyadus-Salikhin Reconnaissance and Sabotage
Battalion of Chechen Martyrs, the Special Purpose Islamic
Regiment and the Islamic International Brigade.
All were implicated in the Moscow
theatre hostage-taking incident, in which 129 people died, and
also have ties with bin Laden, al-Qaeda and Afghanistan's
former ruling Taliban militia dating back to the mid-to-late
1990s, the State Department said at the time.
Antidepressants grow new brain cells: US study
WASHINGTON , August 8
Antidepressants may help stimulate the growth of new
brain cells, US-based scientists said on Thursday in releasing
research that may lead to the development of better drugs to
Research on rats shows
that two different classes of antidepressants can help brain
cells regenerate Eand not in areas normally thought of as
being involved in depression.
an important new insight into how antidepressants work," Dr.
Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental
Health, said in a statement.
fits in with others that suggest depression can shrink the
hippocampus, a brain region crucial to learning and memory but
only recently found to be involved in depression. Major stress
and trauma -- both depression triggers Ecan also cause the
"We have known that
antidepressants influence the birth of neurons in the
hippocampus. Now it appears that this effect may be important
for the clinical response," Insel said.
New antidepressants may be developed to
target this process directly, said Rene Hen of Columbia
University in New York, who led the study.
"The proof in humans is going to come
when we extend the work into finding drugs that stimulate
neurogenesis. If these drugs have antidepressant effects in
humans, this is going to be proof that the process is critical
in humans," Hen said in a telephone interview.
"There is a push already in the
pharmaceutical industry to find such compounds."
The new study may also help explain why
it can take weeks for antidepressants to give patients relief.
"If antidepressants work by stimulating the production of new
neurons, there's a built-in delay," said Hen. The stem cells
that give rise to new cells need time to divide, to
differentiate into neurons, move to their new homes and link
up with other neurons.
To make sure that
the new brain cells in the hippocampus was the source of the
lifted depression, Hen and colleagues at Yale University and
in France worked with genetically engineered mice, using
X-rays to kill newly growing cells in the hippocampus.
These mice did not respond as they
normally would to antidepressants. Mice which were given
fluoxetine, an antidepressant sold under the brand-name Prozac
by Eli Lilly and Co., and were then given X-rays did not
resume grooming as would be expected.
Mice that received no X-rays and were
killed after being dosed for 11 or 28 days with fluoxetine
showed significant growth of new brain cells.
A drug in a different class, the
tricyclic imipramine, also stimulated the growth of neurons,
Hen's team reported in Friday's issue of the journal Science.
"Besides finding drugs that target this
process, the other basic research challenge for me is to find
out what the function of these new neurons is," Hen said.
Experts say that 16 percent of Americans
Emore than 30 million people Ewill suffer major depression at
some point in their lives.
Saudi man linked to Sept 11 was on govt
AFP, WASHINGTON, August 8
al-Bayoumi, a Saudi national suspected of having contacts with
two September 11 hijackers, was paid with Saudi government
funds for several years while living in the United States, The
Wall Street Journal said Friday. MAIN
PAGE | TOP
details of Bayoumi's source of financial support was gleaned
from newly reviewed internal documents from the Saudi
government and Bayoumi's employment records that link him to
the Saudi government more directly than was previously known,
the daily said.
Bayoumi, who worked for
a contractor for the Saudi civil aviation authority,
befriended future September 11 hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and
Khalid al-Midhar when they came to San Diego in early 2000 and
even helped them pay rent, according to people familiar with a
still classified section of a recently released congressional
report on the attacks.
He was questioned
in Britain shortly after the attacks, but was released and
quickly left for Saudi Arabia. Saudi Ambassador to the United
States Prince Bandar bin Sultan has called allegations that
Bayoumi was a Saudi agent "blatantly false."
Bayoumi, in interviews with Arab media
outlets, has also dismissed the charges that he had contacts
with the September 11 hijackers as groundless.
An unclassified section of the
congressional report said Bayoumi worked for the Saudi civil
aviation authority at one time and had access to large amounts
of money from unspecified sources in Saudi Arabia.
The employment records in the hands of
US investigators, however, show that money from the Saudi
government was paid to Bayoumi as salary, ostensibly for
working for a Saudi government contractor, when he lived in
When the contractor tried to
end Bayoumi's employment in 1999 a Saudi government official
objected and Bayoumi remained on the payroll, the daily said.
For seven years, the finance department
of a Saudi Civil Aviation Presidency project called Air
Navigation Systems Support employed Bayoumi, the daily said.