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Monthly Archives: August 2010

Russian pilots abducted in Sudan’s Darfur region

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August 30, 2010

(KATAKAMI / BBC) —  Two Russian pilots have been kidnapped in Sudan’s western Darfur region, the country’s state-run Suna news agency has reported.

They work for Sudan’s Badr Airlines and were abducted in the town of Nyala on Sunday afternoon.

There has been a spate of abductions in the last year targeting foreigners.

Earlier this month, two Jordanians working with Darfur’s international peace force were taken by unidentified gunmen, but were later freed unharmed.

Correspondents say that most kidnappings appear to be for money.

Trench

“For the moment we don’t have any information, either on the kidnappers or the kidnapped,” AFP news agency quotes South Darfur’s governor Abdel Hamid Kasha as saying.

According to Reuters news agency, the UN and African Union peacekeepers are digging a trench around Nyala, Darfur’s largest town, to prevent kidnappers entering the town.

Unrest and fighting has intensified in Darfur over the last few months after rebel Justice and Equality Movement rebels pulled out of peace talks with the government, accusing it of acting in bad faith.

The UN estimates the six-year conflict in Darfur has cost the lives of 300,000 people and driven a further 2.7m from their homes.

The government puts the death toll at 10,000 and has said the problems in Darfur have been exaggerated for political reasons.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes committed in Darfur – charges he strongly denies.

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New Zealand Prime Minister to visit United Kingdom, France

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key (Getty Images)

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August 30, 2010

(KATAKAMI / SCOOP.CO.NZ) — Prime Minister John Key will travel to the United Kingdom and France next week for bilateral talks with leaders and senior Government representatives, and to attend the unveiling of a memorial for World War II hero Sir Keith Park.

At the invitation of The Queen, Mr Key and his wife Bronagh will also make a private visit to join Her Majesty at the royal residence of Balmoral in Scotland.

Mr Key leaves New Zealand on September 10 for London where he will meet British Prime Minister David Cameron and undertake a number of engagements with an economic and business focus.

“This will be an opportunity to establish close links with the new British coalition government and to build on the solid ties we already share with the United Kingdom,” Mr Key says.

“I look forward to seeing Mr Cameron for the first time since he was elected Prime Minister and to meeting other senior members of the Government, including Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.”

“The unveiling of a statue in memory of Sir Keith Park in London will be a proud moment for New Zealand.”

Mr Key will be visiting France for the first time as Prime Minister. He will meet President Nicolas Sarkozy and Prime Minister Francois Fillon in Paris for formal talks.

“New Zealand has a wide-ranging relationship with France which spans across a number of areas,” Mr Key says.

“I look forward to discussing with Mr Sarkozy our cooperation in the Pacific and in Europe.”

During his time in France Mr Key will visit Longueval on the Somme, where he will lay wreaths at the New Zealand and French memorials to the fallen in World War One.

In Paris, Mr Key will also hold discussions at the OECD before departing for New Zealand. He is scheduled to arrive back in New Zealand on September 19.

Russian President Medvedev meets Director of Federal Security Service (FSB) Alexander Bortnikov

President Dmitry Medvedev & Alexander Bortnikov

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August 30, 2010

(KATAKAMI / KREMLIN.RU)  –  Mr Bortnikov briefed the President on the results of special and tactic operations in the North Caucasus.

Dmitry Medvedev noted that participants in the special operations in the North Caucasus should receive state decorations.

* * *

PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Mr Bortnikov, the Federal Security Service in cooperation with other law enforcement agencies has recently conducted a number of special operations in the North Caucasus Federal District, and on the whole they were a success. I would like to hear your report on what has been done recently and what lies ahead.

DIRECTOR OF FEDERAL SECURITY SERVICE ALEXANDER BORTNIKOV: Mr President, during August, a number of special and tactic operations were conducted against the militants who remain active on the territory of the North Caucasus. This resulted in the elimination of over 30 militants and their leaders, and huge quantities of firearms and explosives have been confiscated. In addition, we were able to prevent several terrorist attacks planned by the militants.

If we talk specifically about the results of our efforts, on August 21 acting together with all the security agencies and the military that are actively participating in the process, and using intelligence material we had received, we succeeded in eliminating the leader of the Daghestan militants Magomedali Vagabov, who was involved in preparing the suicide bombings in the Moscow metro and in Kizlyar. As a result of our operation four militants who were with him were also eliminated, and one more was arrested and handed over to the investigating authorities.

Just in the past 24 hours, Daghestan special purpose police unit (OMON) has conducted a successful operation against another gang led by Vagabov, and five militants have been eliminated.

On August 23 a special operation was organised against the leader of the Ingush militants Magomed Gardanov, who took the place of Ali “Magas” Taziyev, an insurgent leader detained in June. Four other militant leaders operating on the territory of Ingushetia were with him. They resisted and were also eliminated.

Mr President, we have also taken action on case materials on the so-called Volno-Aulski (Free Village) group of militants operating in Kabardino-Balkaria. This group was rounded up in Nalchik, at one of the addresses we had in our information, and was completely destroyed in the course of a special operation. This criminal group was involved in organising an explosion on May 1, 2010 at the Nalchik hippodrome, and a number of other terrorist attacks in Kabardino-Balkaria. A large number of evidence and militants’ archives were seized, including some materials of interest related to the Vagabov group, showing that it was in contact with international terrorists.

We are analysing the evidence, some of which will be used in the preparation and conduct of our future operations, and some has already been submitted as evidence in the criminal cases. We are continuing with our work.

DMITRY MEDVEDEV: This is an excellent result, and the bandits have sustained considerable damage. No doubt, the effort in this direction should continue within the framework of the instructions I have issued and the reports and proposals you have submitted.

With regard to individual gangsters eliminated in the course of the special operations, it is a natural outcome of their criminal activity. That is why, when the terrorist attack was perpetrated in the metro, I said that they must all be found and eliminated. That is the only way to deal with them, we cannot stand on ceremony.

And as for those who took part in these operations, officers of the FSB, Interior Ministry and other agencies, all of them deserve the highest praise and should receive state decorations.

Over 20,000 evacuated after volcano erupts in Sumatra

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August 30, 2010

(KATAKAMI / RIA NOVOSTI) — More than 20,000 people living near Mount Sinabung on the Indonesian island of Sumatra have been evacuated after the volcano erupted on Sunday for the first time in 400 years, local media said.

Earlier reports said at least 12,000 people from villages within a 6 kilometer (3.7 miles) radius of the volcano were evacuated to government-provided shelters outside the danger zone.

A vast cloud of ash and smoke is hanging over the area, causing some local flights to be suspended.

Mount Sinabung erupted again on Monday, Indonesian officials said.

Putin slams opposition rallies as provocation against government

 

August 30, 2010

 

(KATAKAMI / RIA NOVOSTI)  — Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has attacked opposition rallies as a “provocation” against the government, in an interview with Kommersant newspaper.

Speaking during a 2,000-kilometer trip in a Russian-made Lada Kalina car in the country’s Far East, Putin said opposition movements should abide by the law and apply for official permission to stage rallies.

Permission is seldom granted, however, making most opposition rallies “unsanctioned” by the local authorities, who frequently send riot police to deal with protesters. The authorities regularly suggest alternative venues, but these are usually rejected by the opposition.

“All our opponents are standing up for a lawful state. What is a lawful state? It is abiding by the current law,” Putin said. “What does the current law say about an [opposition] march? You should receive a permit from local authorities. You got it? Go out and demonstrate. If not – you don’t have any right to. If you went out without a right to do so – you get hit on the head. That’s it!” he added.

Putin said he was not aware of the opposition’s favored site, Triumfalnaya Square in central Moscow, being closed for reconstruction. The authorities plan to build a multi-storey underground car park there, but the opposition claims this is just another maneuver to prevent protests there.

The opposition movement stages “unsanctioned” March of Dissent rallies on Triumfalnaya Square on the last day of each month with 31 days in honor of Article 31 of the Russian Constitution, which guarantees freedom of assembly.

“Believe me: I don’t know anything about this! I am not dealing with this. I am speaking in all honesty… Yes, sometimes I heard: they demonstrated on Triumfalnaya Square, they were broken up. I ask: why were they broken up? It is because they were allowed [to demonstrate] at one site but they went to the other. I ask: why did they go to the other site? This I still don’t understand,” Putin said.

Putin said that by staging unsanctioned rallies, the opposition movements provoke the police to crack down on them. “If their aim is provocation, they will always be successful. But if their aim is to inform the public, both international and Russian, there is no point in… breaking the law,” Putin said.

“If the aim is to make the authorities compromise, and they will compromise, there will be other attempts at provocation, and this process will carry on indefinitely,” he added.



Obama Visits New Orleans on Katrina Anniversary

President Barack Obama waves as he enters Air Force One at the Cape Cod Coast Guard Station in Bourne, Mass., Aug. 29, 2010, after a vacation on Martha’s Vineyard. He will visit New Orleans for the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. (AP Photo/Stew Milne)

August 29, 2010

(KATAKAMi / CBS / AP) President Barack Obama is aiming to underscore his commitment to a region weary of calamity as he travels to New Orleans on the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Obama ends his Martha’s Vineyard vacation Sunday and heads to the Gulf, five years to the day from when Katrina roared ashore in Louisiana. Eighty percent of New Orleans was flooded when the storm tore through protective levees.

More than 1,800 people along the Gulf coast died in the storm, mostly in Louisiana.

After years where halting progress mixed often with setbacks and despair, the city was getting back on its feet when the BP oil spill dealt another blow. The exploded well spewed more than 200 million gallons of crude into the Gulf before it was capped in mid-July.

Obama is to speak Sunday afternoon at Xavier University, a historically black, Catholic university that was badly flooded by the storm. The White House says he will discuss what’s been done and remains to be done in rebuilding from Katrina, and also talk about an oil spill cleanup that’s been complicated by conflicting assessments of how much oil remains and its long-term effects.

For Obama, one challenge is to reassure residents who remain skeptical of government promises after witnessing former President George W. Bush’s response to Katrina, which was criticized as out-of-touch and hamhanded. Although criticism of Obama’s response to the Gulf oil spill rarely reached the level of anger directed at Bush, some still saw it as lacking in speed and coordination. Obama has work to do to change that perception.

Moreover, Obama arrives as many residents of the Louisiana coast chafe under the moratorium on deepwater oil drilling he ordered in the wake of the spill, which is costing New Orleans’ oil-industry-dependant economy. And many residents would like to see a greater federal commitment to restoring the coast’s rapidly eroding wetlands which provide the first line of defense again hurricanes.

The one-day visit to New Orleans is the start of a grueling period for Obama, who must set a fall agenda amid punishing economic news. Crucial midterm elections loom in November.

Tuesday marks the formal end to combat missions in Iraq, and Obama is to address troops in Ft. Bliss, Texas, and deliver an Oval Office speech. The next day he plunges into Middle East diplomacy, hosting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for individual talks and a joint dinner ahead of direct negotiations Thursday between the leaders.

And once Congress returns after Labor Day, more battles await as Obama tries to push his legislative agenda.

Photostream : Remembering the Fifth Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

Rain cascades over the names of victims lost to Hurricane Katrina at he Hurricane Katrina Memorial for St. Bernard Parish in Shell Beach, La. , one day before the fifth anniversary of the storm, which took over 1,000 lives and devastated the region, Saturday, Aug. 28, 2010. (Getty Images)

Parishioners listen to a memorial service for Hurricane Katrina inside the church at Our Lady of Prompt Succor on August 28, 2010 in Chalmette, Louisiana. The casket was sealed and ritually buried beneath the Katrina Memorial in St. Bernard Memorial Garden in remembrance of the five year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall on the Gulf Coast, August 29. (Getty Images)

Musicians including Branford Marsalis (C) lead a second line parade on the eve the five year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana August 28, 2010. (Getty Images)

Second line paraders (L to R) Michael Kilgor, Shirley Cochran and Shirley Hayes dance to a brass band led by Branford Marsalis (rear) on the eve the five year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana August 28, 2010. (GettyImages)

Second line paraders pass a yard filled with debris on the eve the five year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana August 28, 2010. (Getty Images)

A note of remembrance is seen after people place notes and items in a “Katrina casket ” during an Ecumenical funeral service for Hurricane Katrina at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Catholic Church in Chalmette, La. , one day before the fifth anniversary of the storm, which took over 1,000 lives and devastated the region, Saturday,Aug. 28, 2010.

Notes and items which were placed by community members are seen in a “Katrina casket ” during an Ecumenical funeral service for Hurricane Katrina at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Catholic Church in Chalmette, La. , one day before the fifth anniversary of the storm, which took over 1,000 lives and devastated the region, Saturday,Aug. 28, 2010. (Getty Images)

A woman puts a note into a casket, during a symbolic funeral of Hurricane Katrina, on the eve of the storm’s five year anniversary in Chalmette, Louisiana August 28, 2010. (Getty Images)

The Hurricane Katrina Memorial for St. Bernard Parish is seen in Shell Beach, La. , one day before the fifth anniversary of the storm, which took over 1,000 lives and devastated the region, Saturday,Aug. 28, 2010. (Getty Images)

Thomas Stone, chief of the St. Bernard Parish Fire Department, lays a fireman’s helmet with handwritten messages into a casket, during a symbolic funeral of Hurricane Katrina, on the eve of the storm’s five year anniversary in Chalmette, Louisiana August 28, 2010. (Getty Images)

Police and firemen acting as pallbearers place a casket filled with written notes and memories of Hurricane Katrina inside the church at Our Lady of Prompt Succor on August 28, 2010 in Chalmette, Louisiana. The casket was sealed and ritually buried beneath the Katrina Memorial in St. Bernard Memorial Garden in remembrance of the five year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall on the Gulf Coast, August 29. (Getty Images)

A damaged Lower Ninth Ward church has yet to be repaired August 28, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina is August 29. (Getty Images)

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(File) New Orleans areas flooded after Hurricane Katrina with oily water ( 2005)

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(File) Aerial views of damage caused from Hurricane Katrina the after the hurricane hit August 30, 2005

Kenya Defends Bashir Visit as Necessary for Regional Peace

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir waves as he arrives at the promulgation of Kenya’s new constitution at the Uhuru Park grounds in Nairobi, 27 Aug 2010

August 29, 2010

(KATAKAMI / VOA) —  Kenya has rejected international criticism over the inclusion of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in Friday’s Promulgation Day festivities.  The east African nation has defended its actions as necessary for regional stability and national security.

At a news conference in Nairobi, members of the Kenyan government defended the decision to invite controversial Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir to the Friday signing of the country’s new constitution.  The International Criminal Court has issued two warrants for Mr. Bashir under allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur.

Kenya, a signatory to the court, was blasted by the international community for failing to arrest Mr. Bashir and present him to The Hague.

The court’s judges expressed even stronger disapproval Friday, saying Kenya has a clear obligation to enforce the warrant.  The court referred the matter to the U.N. Security Council, asking the body to take “any measure they may deem appropriate” to resolve the issue.

But Transport Minister Amos Kimunya explained Kenya’s obligations under the Court were not the only factors that influenced the country’s policy regarding Sudan.

“National interests come first; regional interests come second in ranking,” he said. “Regional interests include our membership in IGAD, COMESA – where we are members with Sudan – and African Union, where we are obligated as African Union by the decisions of the Union.”

Kimunya was referring to a 2009 decision by the African Union to ignore Mr. Bashir’s arrest warrants.  The decision was made after the U.N. Security Council ignored an AU request to defer the warrant for one year in the interest of peace.

According to Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Bashir’s invitation was also extended in the interest of regional stability.  Sudan is just months away from a January referendum that many expect will split the country in two.  The referendum is the final step of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which ended 20 years of civil war between the government in Khartoum and rebels in the south.

In a statement, the Ministry explained President Bashir and Southern Sudanese President Salva Kiir were invited to the ceremony and frequent interaction with both parties is necessary to push for the implementation of the peace agreement as well as the referendum.

But Mr. Bashir’s presence at the Promulgation ceremony complicates Kenya’s relationship with the international court.  ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo is investigating alleged crimes against humanity committed after Kenya’s disputed 2007 presidential election.

More than 1,000 people were killed in early 2008 after President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga accused each other of rigging the vote.  It is believed that many prominent Kenyan businessmen and politicians played a role in funding and organizing the ethnic violence that rocked the country.

Kenya has promised to cooperate fully with Moreno-Ocampo, but recent events have cast doubts over the country’s commitment to justice.

Former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said Sunday he was surprised by the presence of Mr. Bashir and urged Kenya to clarify its position and reaffirm its commitment to cooperate with the Court.

Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Richard Onyonka said Mr. Bashir’s visit had no bearing on the ICC investigation in Kenya.

“We will continue with the arrangements which we have with the International Criminal Court to make sure that any individuals who may have participated in committing crimes against humanity and other crimes during the post-election violence will be prosecuted,” he said.  “We will take this to its logical conclusion.  As far as we are concerned, the two issues between what has happened in President al-Bashir coming to the country and us being a signatory to the International Criminal Court and having issues pertaining to the post-election violence are mutually exclusive.”

Moreno-Ocampo is expected to return to Kenya in October to continue his investigation into the post-election violence; the prosecutor has indicated he will bring charges against six suspects when he presents his case to The Hague at the end of the year.

Chechen militants killed 5 police in Kadyrov’s home village

Chechen militants killed 5 police in Kadyrov’s home village

August 29, 2010

(KATAKAMI / RIA NOVOSTI) —  Five police officers were killed on Sunday morning in a clash with Chechen militants in the home village of Chechnya’s president, investigators said.

“During the clashes, 12 militants were killed. Seven of them blew themselves up and it appears impossible to visually identify the gunmen. Four were fingerprinted and their identities are being established,” the regional investigators’ spokesman said.

“The identity of one has been determined,” he added. “In early August, the investigations committee put him on a federal wanted list for participation in illegal armed groups.”

Seventeen police and seven civilians were injured in the attack, which was the first on the village of Tsentoroi in six years. Earlier reports said that two police and five civilians were killed.

According to Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, the militants attempted to penetrate the village at dawn, but almost all of them were destroyed.

“From the forest, they crept up to a house on the outskirts and began shooting. A few minutes later we were at the scene. Fighting erupted. The gang was surrounded and destroyed. Twelve devils were killed,” Kadyrov wrote on his official blog.

He said some militants who were filming the attack managed to escape. “We are confident that they will be found,” he said, adding that the nearby forest was being searched.

A source in the power structures of the North Caucasus Federal District told RIA Novosti earlier that there could have been as many as 30 militants.

Kadyrov, who personally led the active phase of the response to the militant attack, said the situation in the village had returned to normal.

“It is calm in Tsenteroi. I am with my family in our native village,” he said.

Investigators said three houses on the outskirts of the village were damaged during the clashes.

Chechnya shootout leaves 19 dead

Ramzan Kadyrov, the Chechen president, in his home village of Tsentoroi last year. Photograph: Viskhan Magomadov/AFP/Getty Images

August 29, 2010

(KATAKAMI / GUARDIAN.CO.UK)  — Five civilians were among 19 people killed today in a shootout between the Chechen president’s security guards and suspected separatists, officials said.

At least 12 insurgents and two security officers were killed when the rebels entered Tsentoroi, Ramzan Kadyrov’s home village, his spokesman Alvi Karimov said. TV reports said five civilians were killed in the crossfire.

Kadyrov, who is thought to regularly supervise security operations in the field, was in the village at the time and directed the counter-offensive, Karimov said.

“We let them into the village so they couldn’t escape,” Kadyrov told Channel One television, which showed him examining the bodies of the suspected militants strewn across a road. “We forced them into a place where they could be eliminated.”

A reporter at the scene saw homes damaged by fire and bullets, with body parts lying among the rubble.

Resident Vargan Edelgeriyeva, 48, said the gun battle started at about 3am at a construction site approximately 150 metres from Kadyrov’s residence.

Militants entered homes but were quickly surrounded, Edelgeriyeva said. In one house an insurgent detonated explosives, perhaps a grenade, killing himself and a 30-year-old resident, she said.

Police averted a possible assassination attempt on Kadyrov in 2009, shooting dead the driver of a car suspected of containing explosives before he could reach a construction site where Kadyrov was due to make an appearance.

In a separate incident today, security forces in nearby Dagestan province shot dead four suspected militants travelling in two cars when they refused to stop at a police checkpoint, according to police spokesman Magomed Tagirov. He said weapons were later found in the cars.

Russia‘s volatile North Caucasus suffers daily attacks by insurgents seeking independence from Moscow, but this weekend’s bloodshed has been especially fierce.

On Saturday, nine suspected militants were killed in two separate shootouts with police in the Kabardino-Balkariya republic, while five suspected militants and two police officers were killed in another shootout in Dagestan.

Kadyrov previously fought on the side of the rebels but switched sides and was installed by the Kremlin as Chechen leader in 2007. Comparative peace has arrived in Chechnya and its capital, Grozny, since then, but rights activists say the price has been brutal. They allege Kadyrov has directed widespread human rights violations, including abductions and summary executions of suspected rebels and sympathisers.

South Korean PM nominee Kim Tae-ho withdraws candidacy

Kim Tae-ho (left) was seen as a possible replacement for President Myung-bak (right)

(KATAKAMI / BBC) — The man nominated to be South Korea’s new prime minister has withdrawn his candidacy amid allegations about past financial irregularities.

Kim Tae-ho faced questions from lawmakers at his confirmation hearing last week about suspected misconduct when he was a provincial governor.

At 47, Mr Kim was the youngest person to be nominated for the largely ceremonial post.

He was put forward by South Korea’s president earlier this month.

Chores

Mr Kim is accused of under-reporting his income while he was governor of Gyeongsang province, that he illegally took bank loans to fund political campaigns.

Mr Kim was also criticised by lawmakers for making local government employees do his household chores.

His wife was also criticised for using provincial government employees and vehicles for her own private use.

“I am giving up the designation in order not to do more damage to the president’s political operations,” Mr Kim said.

“Even if I become prime minister, how could I do anything if I do not have the people’s trust?” He said.

President Lee Myung-bak nominated Mr Kim in an attempt to connect with a younger generation of South Koreans.

Mr Kim was being groomed as a possible replacement to lead the ruling Grand National Party after President Myung-bak’s five year term ends in just over two years time, correspondents said.

Pope at Angelus: Christ took lowest place ‘in the world’

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Castel Gandolfo, Italy, Aug 29, 2010 / 07:34 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Christ did not limit himself to taking just the lowest place at the table, explained Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday. Jesus, taught the Pope, repeatedly offers humanity “a model of humility and of free giving” and showed the world “radical humility” by accepting the Cross.

Joining the many pilgrims and faithful in attendance in the courtyard at Castel Gandolfo for the Angelus were participants in the annual conference being held for members of the association of the Pope’s ex-students. There was also a group from the Pontifical North American College, who were greeted specially by the Holy Father after the Angelus.

In his catechesis prior to the Marian prayer, the Pope reflected on the passage from St. Luke’s Gospel read in Sunday’s Liturgy. In the reading, Jesus is invited to the house of a leader of the Pharisees for a meal where, based on what he witnesses, he is inspired to tell the parable which teaches of humbling onesself and taking “the lowest place” at the table.

The Lord’s words were not meant to be a lesson in etiquette or on the hierarchy of authorities, said Benedict XVI, “He insists rather on a decisive point, which is that of humility: ‘everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted’.”

The parable can also be read as a perspective of man’s position in relation to God, explained the Pope, the “lowest place” representing “the condition of humanity degraded by sin, a condition which can only (be) liberated by the incarnation of the Only-begotten Son.”

Citing his encyclical Deus Caritas Est, the Pope taught that “For this, Christ himself ‘took the lowest place in the world – the Cross – and by this radical humility he redeemed us and constantly comes to our aid’.”

Turning to Jesus’ suggestion at the end of the parable that it should be the poorest and most excluded, those who have no way of repayment, who are invited as guests, Pope Benedict stated that the “true recompense, in fact, in the end, will be given by God, ‘who governs the world … We offer him our service only to the extent that we can, and for as long as he grants us the strength’.

“Once again, then, we look to Christ as a model of humility and of free giving: from him we learn patience in the midst of temptations, meekness amidst offenses, obedience to God in sorrow in the hope that He who invited us might say: “Friend, move up to a higher position.’ the true good, in fact, is being close to Him.”

Remembering Sunday’s feast of the “greatest among the prophets of Christ,” St. John the Baptist, the Pope closed by praying for his intercession and that of Mary “to guide us on the way of humility, to become worthy of the divine recompense.”

Prince William to wed Kate Middleton next August: Report

August 29, 2010

(KATAKAMI / DNA INDIA) — Britain’s Prince William will marry his long-term girlfriend Kate Middleton at London’s Westminster Abbey next August, according to sources.

According to sources, royal aides made ‘discreet overtures’ to senior managers at the Abbey, one of London’s most famous landmarks, to hold a wedding there on the second weekend in August next year.

Friends of the couple said a wedding next August would be ‘entirely possible,’ reports the Daily Mail.

The timing would allow Middleton to get acquainted with her role as princess before the Queen’s diamond jubilee celebrations and the London Olympics in 2012, the friends said.

Westminster Abbey would be an emotionally symbolic place for Prince William’s wedding – his mother Princess Diana’s funeral service took place there in 1997.

First Australian Aboriginal MP elected for Liberals

Ken Wyatt was elected as the Liberal representative for the seat of Hasluck

(KATAKAMI / BBC) — An Aboriginal Australian has been elected to parliament for the first time in the country’s history.

Ken Wyatt, 57, an expert on Aboriginal health, took the seat of Hasluck in Western Australia for the centre-right Liberal Party.

Neither the Liberals nor the governing Labor Party gained enough seats at last week’s election for a majority.

Mr Wyatt has dismissed the racist hate mail he received, saying it was time for Australia to move forward.

Historic moment

As counting closed, Mr Wyatt declared victory with a majority of nearly 1,000 votes over his rival from the centre-left Labor Party, with fewer than 1,000 votes still to be counted.

“In 50 years’ time historians and people will be analysing why Hasluck chose an indigenous candidate, and what they’ll discover is that they didn’t choose an indigenous candidate because I was indigenous,” Mr Wyatt told reporters on Sunday.

“They chose a person who they believed would represent the interests of everybody within Hasluck.”

“Start Quote

Let’s move on from that [racism] – what’s more important is the way in which we move Australia forward, ”

End Quote Ken Wyatt Newly elected Aboriginal MP

The Liberals have 73 seats while the centre-left Labor Party have 72. Independents took four seats, and the Greens one. Seventy-six seats are needed in order to form a government.

Negotiations between the two main parties and the independents who hold the balance of power are continuing.

Mr Wyatt said he was disappointed by the hate mail sent to him by people who said they would not have voted for him if they had known he was indigenous.

“I’ve had that all my life, growing up as an Aboriginal in the ’60s, the ’70s and the ’80s,” he told reporters.

“Let’s move on from that – what’s more important is the way in which we move Australia forward, and the thinking that we have, and the society that we build on.”

Medvedev says special operations in N Caucasus produce good results

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, left, shakes hands with federal security chief Alexander Bortnikov before a meeting of the national Security Council at the Gorki residence outside Moscow. Shown from left in the background are, Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov. (Getty Images)

GORKI, August 28 (KATAKAMI / Itar-Tass) — President Dmitry Medvedev said the special operations in the North Caucasus in August produced good results and caused heavy damage to criminal underworld.

“This is a good result. Rather heavy damage was caused to bandits,” Medvedev said at a meeting with Federal Security Service (FSB) Director Alexander Bortnikov on Saturday, August 28.

“Naturally, this work should continue,” the president said.

As for the criminal groups destroyed during the special operations, this is a natural result of their criminal activities, he added.

“This is why when a terrorist act in the Moscow subway occurred, I sad that all of them should be punished and all of them should be destroyed. This is they way to act. No need to be ceremonious with them,” Medvedev said.

More than 30 militants were killed in special operation in the North Caucasus in August, Bortnikov said.

“A number of special operations and combat measures were carried out in August against militants operating in the North Caucasus. As a result of this work, more than 30 bandits and chieftains were killed, a large amount of arms and explosives was seized. In addition, several terrorist acts were prevented,” he said.

The FSB, acting together with other law enforcement agencies, “neutralised” Dagestani rebel leader Vagabov on August 21. He was involved in the terrorist acts in the Moscow subway system and in Kizlyar, Dagestan, that were carried out by female suicide-bombers.

As a result of the operation, four militants were killed, and one was detained and handed over to investigators, Bortnikov said.

Magomedali Vagabov had been on the federal and international wanted lists for many years. His ‘Shariat wife’, Maryam Sharipova, was one of the two female suicide bombers who blew themselves up in the Moscow metro on March 29. The two blasts occurred almost one after another at the Lubyanka and Park Kultury metro stations. As a result, 40 people died and more than 90 were injured.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, calls for redoubling efforts

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, right, and Union Sports Minister M.S. Gill, center, talk as Commonwealth Games Organizing Committee Chairman Suresh Kalmadi, second left, looks on during a visit to Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the main venue of the Commonwealth Games 2010 in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2010. (Getty Images)

New Delhi, Aug 29 (KATAKAMI / NEW KERALA.COM)  —  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh this morning visited the Jawaharlal Nehru Sports Complex where the opening and closing ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games are scheduled to be held.

The visit took place amidst allegations of massive corruption by agencies involved in the works relating to the Games and reports of delay in the completion of sports venues. The Commonwealth Games are starting from October 3.

Accompanied by Sports Minister M S Gill and Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chairperson Suresh Kalmadi, Dr Singh was shown the various facilities including playing fields, media centre, the royal box, stands for spectators, security and other arrangements.

The Prime Minister said it was a beautiful stadium and urged all authorities concerned to redouble their efforts to quickly complete whatever works remained as the people were expecting a spectacular and flawless opening to the Commonwealth Games.

The Prime Minister had in his Independence Day speech, promised the Nation that the games will be a success.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit had revised the deadline to September 15.

Concerned over the delays and the corruption allegations, the Prime Minister had convened a high-level meeting on August 14 to review the preparations for the Games.

He had formed a committee of bureaucrats headed by the Cabinet Secretary and given it over-riding powers by bringing into its ambit the Games Organising Committee that has been tainted by corruption charges, following which Mr Kalmadi had complained of having been deprived of some important powers.

A Group of Ministers (GoM) was constituted to oversee the Games and a final call on any issue will be made by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

The Prime Minister, who was concerned over the state of preparedness, was invited by Gill to personally inspect the Games venues.

The Nehru stadium has been refurbished at a whopping Rs 9.6 billion (approximately 200 million dollar) with international consultants from six countries – Germany, Switzerland, Britain, the US and Australia – putting their heads together to construct the state-of-art facility.

British PM enjoys time with new baby daughter

British Prime Minister David Cameron holds on August 28, 2010 his baby daughter, Florence Rose Endellion Cameron, who was born on August 24 during the premier’s summer holiday in Cornwall. (Getty Images)

Camerons release first pictures of newborn daughter


London (KATAKAMI / ZEENEWS) —  British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha were enjoying their first full day out of hospital with their new baby, Florence Rose Endellion.

The Camerons have resumed their holiday in Cornwall, southwest England, where the early birth of their fourth child caught them by surprise.

The Prime Minister posed for pictures with his four-day-old daughter yesterday.

The baby, weighing six pounds and one ounce (2.7 kilogrammes), was delivered by caesarean section on Tuesday in the Cornish capital Truro.

Samantha Cameron left the city’s Royal Cornwall Hospital on Friday.

Conservative Party leader Cameron is planning to become the first British prime minister to take paternity leave. Under British law, new fathers can take up to two weeks’ paid time off.

Paid paternity leave was introduced by Tony Blair’s government in 2003.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has been in day-to-day charge of the coalition government while Cameron has been away.

The Liberal Democrat leader said on Friday he would “carry on holding the fort” until Cameron returned to work.

Florence Cameron is only the second child born to a serving British prime minister since 1849, after Blair’s son Leo in 2000.

The name Endellion refers to the village of St Endellion on the north Cornish coast, near where the Camerons are staying.

The Camerons already have a daughter, Nancy, six, and a four-year-old son, Arthur. Their first child, Ivan, who had cerebral palsy and severe epilepsy, died suddenly in February last year, aged six.

David Cameron is 43 and his wife is 39.