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Daily Archives: 11/01/2010

Australia, Malaysia to Push Forward Free Trade Agreement

Malaysian deputy premier Muhyiuddin Yassin (R) shows a view of the administrative capital Putrajaya to Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard from the prime minister's office on November 1, 2010. Gillard arrived here on a two-day official visit to hold talks with the Malaysian high officials on bilateral and international issues. AFP PHOTO / Saeed Khan (Photo by SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

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November 01, 2010 (KATAKAMI / VOA) — Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said on a visit to Malaysia that the two countries hope to reach a free trade deal next year.

Ms. Gillard met Monday with Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, standing in for Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is ill with chickenpox.

Muhyiddin told reporters that he hoped the trade agreement would move forward next year and be signed as soon as possible.

Ms. Gillard also called for a center to be set up in East Timor to process refugees and asylum seekers, mostly from Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, who use Malaysia as a transit point to Australia.

Muhyiddin said Malaysia needs more information before coming up with an official position on the processing centers.

Ms. Gillard is on her first regional tour since becoming Australia’s first female prime minister earlier this year. She began her tour by attending the 16-nation East Asia Summit in Vietnam Saturday and was to travel on to Indonesia later Monday.

Some information in this story was provided by AP and AFP.

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Medical council meets to decide on surgery for Gen. Shamanov, Commander of the Russian Airborne Forces

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, left, greets Lt. Gen. Vladimir Shamanov, the commander of the Russian Airborne Forces in the military hospital in Moscow, Russia, late Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010. Shamanov was involved in a serious car accident on Saturday. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Pool)

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November 01, 2010 MOSCOW, November 1 (KATAKAMI / Itar-Tass) — A medical council has met at Burdenko Central Military hospital on Monday to decide on further tactics of treatment of Russian Airborne troops’ commander Leut.-Gen. Vladimir Shamanov and of Acting chief of the 106th paratrooper division deployed in Tula Col. Aleksei Naumets, spokesman for the Russian Airborne troops Alexander Cherednik told Itar-Tass Monday, speaking from the Burdenko hospital. The medical council is being presided by Chief of the military-medical department of the Russian Defense Ministry Maj.-Gen. Alexander Belevitin, the spokesman said.

On October 31 Deputy Chief of the Burdenko hospital Col. Konstantin Panyushin told Itar- Tass that Gen. Shamanov’s condition improved and showed “certain positive dynamics.” The purposes of the concilium is to decide, whether urgent surgery intervention on Gen. Shamanov’s arm and leg was needed, Panyuyshin said..

According to the spokesman the condition of Acting commander of the 106th paratrooper division Col. Alexei Naumets is grave corresponding to the character of injuries he received in the accident as result of which he had his ribs, hip and legs broken broken, suffered a chest and brain injury. Col. Naumets was in a state of shock immediately after the accident, but he came to after intensive therapy at an intensive care ward at the Tula branch of the Burdenko hospital. Col. Naumets is conscious at present, and he endured transportation from Tula to Moscow normally, the Burdenko hospital deputy head doctor said.

Ahmadinejad congratulates Brazil’s new president Dilma Rousseff

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

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November 01, 2010 (KATAKAMI / YNET) — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad congratulated Dilma Rousseff on her election as Brazil’s new president.

In a missive he sent to Rousseff, Ahmadinejad wrote that the last few years have seen major progress in relations between Tehran and Brasilia, and that he hopes that the cooperation between the two countries would continue throughout her term as president.

Qatari emir to pay official visit to Moscow

Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani

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November 01, 2010 (KATAKami / RIA NOVOSTI) — Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani will pay an official visit to Russia on November 2-4 at the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s invitation, the Kremlin said.

Russian-Qatari high level talks are scheduled on November 3, the statement said.

Russia and Qatar are planning joint projects to develop gas deposits on the Yamal Peninsula in the Russian Arctic, the countries said in April.

Russia’s largest independent gas producer, Novatek, has expressed an interest in involving Qatari partners in the Yamal LNG project, which will draw resources from the South Tambeiskoye gas condensate field with estimated gas reserves of 1.3 trillion cubic meters.

Qatar has invited Russia’s Gazprom to take part in projects to extract and produce liquefied natural gas (LNG) after a moratorium is lifted on developing its North Field deposits.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said in March that Russia and Qatar, two of the world’s largest hydrocarbon producers, should coordinate their activity on global gas and oil markets.

The two countries already have active energy contacts, including through OPEC and the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF). The GECF headquarters is situated in Qatar’s capital Doha. In December 2009, GECF elected Russian Leonid Bokhanovsky as its secretary general.

Qatar has the third-largest natural gas reserves in the world, behind Russia and Iran, with proven reserves of approximately 25.8 trillion cubic meters, or almost 15% of the global total. Qatar’s proven oil reserves stand at 15.2 billion barrels.

MOSCOW, November 1 (RIA Novosti)

Photostream : Again, Indonesia’s Mount Merapi volcano erupts on Monday morning

Mount Merapi volcano spews smoke as seen from Sidorejo village in Klaten, near Yogyakarta November 1, 2010. Indonesia's Mount Merapi erupted again on Saturday morning, spewing ash into the sky, and prompting authorities to extend the danger radius by two kilometres (1.2 miles). Photo : Getty Images / REUTERS/Beawiharta

Mount Merapi volcano spews smoke as seen from Sidorejo village in Klaten, near the ancient city of Yogyakarta, November 1, 2010. Indonesia's Mount Merapi erupted again on Saturday morning, spewing ash into the sky, and prompting authorities to extend the danger radius by two kilometres (1.24 miles). Photo by REUTERS/Beawiharta

Mount Merapi releases volcanic material as seen from Cangkringan, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Monday, Nov. 1, 2010. Indonesia's most volatile volcano unleashed its most powerful eruption in a deadly week Monday, spewing searing clouds of gas and debris thousands of feet (meters) into the air. There were no immediate reports of new casualties (Photo : AP Photo/Trisnadi)

Mount Merapi releases pyroclastic flow as seen from Cangkringan, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Monday, Nov. 1, 2010. Indonesia's most volatile volcano unleashed its most powerful eruption in a deadly week Monday, spewing searing clouds of gas and debris thousands of feet (meters) into the air. There were no immediate reports of new casualties. (AP Photo/Trisnadi)

Picture taken from Glagaharjo village in Klaten shows Merapi volcano spews smoke on November 1, 2010. Indonesia's most active volcano which has claimed at least 36 lives last week spewed more searing clouds of gas and ash on October 31, triggering fresh panic among locals. AFP PHOTO / ADEK BERRY (Photo by ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images)

Local residents leave a danger zone as Merapi volcano releases ash clouds in Balerante village, Klaten on November 1, 2010. Indonesia's most active volcano which has claimed at least 36 lives last week spewed more searing clouds of gas and ash on October 31, triggering fresh panic among locals. AFP PHOTO / ADEK BERRY (Photo by ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images)

Residents flee on a truck following another eruption of Mount Merapi in Cangkringan, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Monday, Nov. 1, 2010. Indonesia's most volatile volcano unleashed its most powerful eruption in a deadly week Monday, spewing searing clouds of gas and debris thousands of feet (meters) into the air. There were no immediate reports of new casualties. (AP Photo/Slamet Riyadi)

A villager covers his face as Mount Merapi volcano spews smoke as seen from Sidorejo village in Klaten, near the ancient city of Yogyakarta, November 1, 2010. Indonesia's Mount Merapi erupted again on Saturday morning, spewing ash into the sky, and prompting authorities to extend the danger radius by two kilometres (1.24 miles). REUTERS/Beawiharta

Turkish PM vows to punish perpetrators of Istanbul blast

Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (L) is greeted by Turkey's President Abdullah Gul (c) and his wife Hayrunnisa Gul (L) during the Republic Day reception at the Presidential Palace of Cankaya in Ankara October 29, 2010 AFP PHOTO/ADEM ALTAN (Photo by ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images)

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Photostream : Bomb Attack in Istanbul: http://wp.me/pYE9h-2Zu


November 01, 2010 (KATAKAMI / Rantburg.com/ KUNA) — Turkish Prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged to punish severely the perpetrators of the suicide kaboom which injured 32 people including 15 coppers at Taksim Square, central Istanbul, Sunday morning.

“We’ll never tolerate those who threaten Turkey’s peace, security and development,” Erdogan, now on a visit to Mardin – a mainly Kurdish town southeast Turkey, said in a televised speech.

“Such terrorist acts will never hinder Turkey’s quest for of peace, development and fraternity among all members of society,” he underscored.

President Abdullah Gul said the attack targeted a group of coppers who have been mobilized for the national holidays such as the Republic’s Day celebrated on Friday.

“The attackers will fail to obstruct the nation’s march towards friendship, peace, fraternity and development,” Gul said.

A woman wearing an boom belt struck close to a number of police buses which were parking near the statue of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk – the founder of modern Turkey, at Taksim Square.

Though no group grabbed credit for the attack against Turkey’s business center, Turkish officials believe the attack bears the hallmarks of the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) or Al-Qaeda since the two organizations targeted the city several times in the past.

The attack took place two months ahead of expiry of the unilateral ceasefire announced previously by the PKK .

(MS)

Suicide bomber wounds 32 in Istanbul’s main square

People help victims at the scene of an suspected suicide bombing near the police vehicles in central Istanbul's Taksim Square October 31, 2010. The suicide bomber wounded 32 people in an attack targeting Turkish police in the city's main square on Sunday, an area teaming with tourists and shoppers. Credit: Reuters/Osman Orsal

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Photostream : Bomb Attack in Istanbul: http://wp.me/pYE9h-2Zu

 

November 01, 2010 (KATAKAMI / Reuters) – A suicide bomber wounded 32 people in an attack targeting Turkish police in Istanbul’s main square on Sunday, an area teaming with tourists and shoppers.

No organisation has claimed responsibility, officials said, though the city has been targeted in the past by Kurdish separatist militants and al Qaeda, as well as militants from Turkey’s far-left.

Istanbul police chief Huseyin Capkin said a man had approached police stationed at the square before blowing himself up. Television footage immediately after the explosion appeared to show police firing warning shots and people fleeing in panic.

Fifteen policemen and 17 civilians were wounded in the attack at 10.40 a.m. in Taksim Square, but only nine, mostly police, were kept in hospital, Istanbul Governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu told reporters.

Taksim Square is a tourist and transport hub surrounded by restaurants, shops and hotels, at the heart of modern Istanbul.

The bomber struck near police buses parked close to a monument commemorating Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, and victory in the war of independence in 1923.

The police presence in Taksim is raised around national holidays like Republic Day, which was celebrated on Friday.

Mobile phone footage taken just after the explosion showed a woman lying close to the monument bleeding heavily from her leg, and a policeman also lying with blood streaming from his head.

A taxi driver told CNN Turk news channel he saw a 30 to 33-year-old man approach the police to ask directions, at which point the bomb detonated. Another witness said he saw two men.

According to the governor, police seized plastic explosives found with a detonator at the scene, though it was unclear whether they had been part of a second bomb.

PAST ATTACKS

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was visiting Mardin, in the mainly Kurdish southeast, when the blast struck his hometown.

“Those who threaten Turkey’s peace, security and development will not be tolerated,” he said in a televised speech.

“These kinds of attacks will not stop Turkey reaching its goals of peace, brotherhood and development. We are together, we are brothers.”

Istanbul is the business and financial centre of Turkey, an overwhelmingly Muslim nation of 75 million people that is hoping to become a member of the European Union.

The city has been targeted before by Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) rebels, but the separatist group extended a unilateral ceasefire last month, and on Saturday said it would announce in the coming days whether it would extend it further.

PKK suicide bombers have attacked security forces in the past, but not for many years.

Al Qaeda suicide bombers carried out a series of attacks in Istanbul in November 2003 that killed 62 people and wounded hundreds.

In recent weeks Turkish police have made several arrests of people suspected of providing support to al Qaeda militants fighting in Afghanistan.

On Sunday, Anatolia newsagency reported police in Istanbul and other cities had detained 16 members of a leftist militant organisation, the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C). The report made no connection with the Istanbul attack, but in 2001 a DHKP/C suicide bomber killed two people in Taksim Square.

Photostream : U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Cambodia

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) is welcomed by Cambodia's King Norodom Sihamoni during her visit to Phnom Penh November 1, 2010. Clinton's visit to Cambodia is the first by a U.S. Secretary of State since 2003. (Getty Images / REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea )

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, meets with Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni at the Royal Palace on Monday, Nov. 1, 2010, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Clinton on Monday urged Cambodia to confront its tortured past by ensuring the Khmer Rouge are brought to justice for crimes against humanity in the 1970s and improve its current human rights record. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Evan Vucci, Pool)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) listens to Youk Chhang, the director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, as she stands in front of photos of victims during her visit to Khmer Rouge notorious security prison Tuol Sleng (S-21) in Phnom Penh November 1, 2010. From 1975-1979 an estimated 17,000 people were imprisoned, tortured and killed in S-21, once a high school turned into an interrogation centre, during the Khmer Rouge regime. Clinton's visit to Cambodia is the first by a U.S. Secretary of State since 2003. (Getty Images / REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea )

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, talks with a group in a center during a visit to a shelter for victims of sexual exploitation in Siem Reap province, about 230 kilometers, 142 miles, northwest of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010. Hillary is in northern Cambodia, about as far away as one can get from the intense political battle going on back home. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C) listens to Van Sina, 25, a human trafficking victim, beside another victim, Somana, 20, at the Siem Reap AFESIP rehabilitation and vocational training center October 31, 2010. Clinton's visit to Cambodia is the first by a U.S. Secretary of State since 2003. (Getty Images / REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea )

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C) visits the Angkor Wat in Siem Reap October 31, 2010. Clinton's visit to Cambodia is the first by a U.S. Secretary of State since 2003. (Getty Images / REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea )

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, rear center, poses for photo together with Cambodian children during her visit to a shelter for victims of sexual exploitation in Siem Reap, about 230 kilometers (140 miles) northwest of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010. Clinton was in the midst of a two-week, seven-nation tour of the Asia-Pacific. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Clinton urges rights progress in Cambodia

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, foreground, walks through a barbed wire gate of Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, formerly the Khmer Rouge regime's notorious S-21 prison in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, Nov. 1, 2010. Clinton urged Cambodia to improve its human rights record and ensure the Khmer Rouge are brought to justice for crimes against humanity in the 1970s. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

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November 01, 2010 PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (KATAKAMI / AJC.COM) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday urged Cambodia to confront its tortured past by ensuring the Khmer Rouge are brought to justice for crimes against humanity in the 1970s and improve its current human rights record.

In the capital of Phnom Penh, she visited a former school that served as the main Khmer Rouge prison and torture center and appealed for the Cambodian people and government to overcome a legacy of impunity for abuses. The government has refused to allow a U.N.-backed court trying top Khmer Rouge leaders to prosecute lower-ranking members.

Clinton toured the infamous S-21 prison where as many as 16,000 people were tortured before being executed for alleged coutnterrevolutionary behavior. The ultra-leftist Khmer Rouge regime is blamed for the deaths of some 1.7 million people from starvation, disease, overwork and execution during its 1975-79 reign.

“It’s a very disturbing experience and the pictures — both the pictures of the young Cambodians who were killed and the young Cambodians who were doing the killing — were so painful,” she told students after the tour. “But I also came away very impressed because a country that is able to confront its past is a country that can overcome it.”

“Countries that are held prisoner to their past can never break those chains and build the kind of future that their children deserve,” Clinton said. “Although I am well aware the work of the tribunal is painful, it is necessary to ensure a lasting peace.”

The Khmer Rouge tribunal closed its first case in July when it convicted the regime’s chief jailer and head of S-21, Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch. He was sentenced to 19 years in prison on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. A second trial is expected to start next year for the four top surviving Khmer Rouge leaders.

But Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has said the trials will stop there, despite U.N. wishes to bring lower-ranking officers to justice for murder, torture and other crimes. The U.N. says progress has been blocked by political interference from Cambodian officials who oppose more prosecutions.

Critics accuse the Cambodian leader of trying to limit the tribunal’s scope to prevent his political allies from being indicted. Hun Sen once served as a Khmer Rouge officer and many of his main allies are also former members of the group.

In talks with Hun Sen later Monday after meeting the students, Clinton is expected to say that the U.S. wants to see the next trial proceed quickly and judiciously, according to U.S. officials.

Clinton also plans to tell Hun Sen that his government, which has been harshly criticized for cracking down on opposition groups, must do more to protect human rights. She will meet with opposition leaders before departing for Malaysia on the next leg of a two-week, seven-nation tour of the Asia-Pacific.

Last week, Hun Sen told visiting U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon that he must close down the U.N. human rights office in Cambodia, which he accuses of interfering in the country’s internal affairs.

Cambodian officials are expected to keep up their push for forgiveness from the U.S. of about $445 million in Vietnam War-era debt. Washington has balked, arguing the country has the means to repay the low-interest loans.

Ehud Barak: The Bad News is That Bin Laden is Still Alive

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak

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November 01, 2010 (KATAKAMI / IsraelNationalNews.Com) — Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak participated on Sunday in the Israel Homeland Security International Conference which opened with a gala event in Tel Aviv.

During his remarks, Barak said: “Nine years after the terrorist attacks in the U.S., the good news is that there hasn’t been another such terror attack, but the bad news is that Bin Laden is still alive. Global terrorism is trying to take over the world. The struggle against global terror is a marathon which will continue for half a generation or even more.”

Indonesia’s Mount Merapi Volcano erupts again

Lava flows from the crater of Mount Merapi as seen from Deles, Central Java, Indonesia, Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Irwin Fedriansyah)

November 011, 2010 (KATAKAMI / THE JAKARTA POST) — Mount Merapi erupted again on Monday, spewing hot ash.

Kompas.com reported that the ash was bigger than that in the previous three eruptions.

The Merapi eruptions have killed more than 30 people and force thousands of people to flee homes.

 

(MS)

Indonesian volcano unleashes new powerful eruption on Monday

Lava flows from Mount Merapi volcano as seen from Sidorejo village in the district of Klaten, central Java, October 31, 2010. Indonesia's Mount Merapi erupted again on Saturday morning, spewing ash into the sky, and prompting authorities to extend the danger radius by two kilometres (1.24 miles). Photo by ; REUTERS/Andry Prsetyo / Getty Images

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November 01, 2010. MOUNT MERAPI, Indonesia (KATAKAMI / AP) – Indonesia’s deadly volcano has unleashed another powerful eruption, spewing out towering clouds of hot ash. There were no immediate reports of new casualties or damage.

Mount Merapi, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, has killed at least 38 people in the past week.

Safari Dwiyono, a volcanologist, said ash and debris were fired hundreds of yards (meters) into the air on Monday morning. Searing gases were also spilling down the slopes of the 9,700-foot (3,000-meter) mountain.

Indonesia is prone to earthquakes and eruptions because it straddles a series of fault lines and volcanoes known as the Pacific “Ring of Fire.”

On the other end of the country, rescue workers were ferrying aid to survivors of a tsunami that killed at least 450 people.

 

(MS)

Condition of Russian Airborne Force commander improves in hospital

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, left, greets Lt. Gen. Vladimir Shamanov, the commander of the Russian Airborne Forces in the military hospital in Moscow, Russia, late Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010. Shamanov was involved in a serious car accident on Saturday. (Getty Images / AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Pool)

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Putin visits General Shamanov, Commander of Russian Airborne Forces in hospital: http://wp.me/pYE9h-2Z5


MOSCOW, October 31 (KATAKAMI / Itar-Tass) — The condition of Russian Airborne Force Commander Lt. Gen. Vladimir Shamanov, who was injured in a road accident and taken to the Burdenko Central Military Hospital, has improved a bit, hospital deputy head Col. Konstantin Panyushin said.

“Gen. Shamanov is being prepared for a surgery. A medical panel will schedule the surgery on Monday,” he said.

The general has fractures of an arm and the left thighbone.

Federation Council Chairman Sergei Mironov visited Shamanov at hospital and wished him the soonest recovery.

Meanwhile, acting commander of the 106th airborne division Col. Alexei Naumets, who was injured in a road accident in Tula together with Shamanov, has been taken to the Burdenko Central Military Hospital in Moscow, Airborne Force spokesman Col. Alexander Cherednik told Itar-Tass.

Naumets was initially taken to the intensive care unit of the Tula branch of the Burdenko hospital on Saturday.

Panyushin said that Naumets was in a serious condition: he had broken ribs, cerebral concussion, chest contusion, a fracture of the right thighbone, and a fracture of both shinbones.

Russia’s Medvedev arrives at Kuril Islands

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev

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November 01, 2010 (KATAKAMI / RIA NOVOSTI) — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has arrived at Kunashir Island, the southernmost island of the Kurils.

This is Medvedev’s first visit to the islands, the dispute over which prevents Moscow and Tokyo from signing a formal peace treaty since 1945.

Prior to the visit, Japan voiced its concerns saying the arrival of the Russian leader could complicate bilateral relations, but Medvedev rejected Tokyo’s attempts to change his plans saying he will “define the routes of trips across his country on his own.”

Tokyo’s continued claim over four South Kuril Islands (Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan, and Habomai) to the northeast of Japan has so far prevented Russia and Japan from signing a peace treaty to end World War II hostilities. The islands were annexed by the Soviet Union after World War II.

 

KUNASHIR ISLAND (Sakhalin Region), November 1 (RIA Novosti)

Israel’s Tea Party draws few supporters to ‘Say No to Obama’ event

A Likud supporter puts up a sign expressing Likud support for settlements. (Haaretz)

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October 31, 2010 (KATAKAMI / HAARETZ) — Movement is not a breakaway from Netanyahu’s party, Likud MK and organizer says, but is meant to help PM reject Obama’s pressure to bend to Palestinian conditions for peace talks.

A “Say No to Obama” event in Israel drew only 100 supporters on Sunday as the Likud Party launched its own version of the Tea Party movement that is challenging the U.S. President in Tuesday’s mid-term elections.

There were no security police outside and parking was easy in the notoriously clogged center of Tel Aviv, as former Knesset deputy Michael Kleiner, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud bloc, inaugurated the movement.

“This is a message to the United States president that in relations between democracies you do not force people to do things they did not vote for,” Kleiner told reporters.

The Israel Tea Party launch did not mark the start of a breakaway right-wing party, he said. It was meant to help Netanyahu reject Obama’s pressure to bend to Palestinian conditions for the revival of flagging peace talks.

“Obama will use the next two or three months not to bend Netanyahu’s arm but to break it,” Kleiner warned.

Like the rest of Likud, his supporters back Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and reject U.S. calls for a continuation of the partial freeze Netanyahu ordered last November to open the door to direct talks. It ended a month ago.

For the moment, Israel’s Tea Party is simply a grassroots movement intended to back up Netanyahu, Kleiner said, but it is also ready to break with him if he yields to American pressure.
Obama is not popular with many Israelis who believe he sympathizes with the Palestinians, polls show.

Launching their movement in a modest auditorium decked with red and black balloons and seating for 130, however, organizers clearly did not expect a massive turnout to the “Say No” event.

But it was early days, said Tea Party member Boaz Arab, of the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies (JIMS).

Obama’s drive for a Middle East peace agreement that would create a state for the Palestinians living alongside Israel was the target of the launch, he said. But there were further goals.

“Our perspective is much wider. Israel needs a capitalistic movement to free the economy from its burden of high taxes, high government spending and a bloated administration,” he said, in a message American Tea Party supporters would recognize.

An index calculated by the institute shows that after annual taxes are paid Israelis “start working for themselves only after June 22 this year”, said Arad, a research fellow at JIMS.

“We need this movement, to remind government that they are here to serve the people and not the other way around.”

Polls in the United States indicate this same sentiment among Americans could deliver bad results for Obama’s Democratic party in Tuesday’s mid-term elections for the House of Representatives and one third of the U.S. Senate.

Netanyahu said on Sunday he would meet U.S. Vice President Joe Biden after the results are known next week, at the Nov. 5-9 General Assembly of The Jewish Federations of North America. He said he would discuss how to revive stalled peace negotiations.

A new round of direct talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians got under way in Washington on Sept. 2 only to stop a few weeks later when his government refused to extend the curb on West Bank settlement building he had imposed for 10 months.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas wants a construction freeze before going any further.

House Republican Leader John Boehner Is Offering Himself as 2010 Version of Change

John A. Boehner, in Chillicothe, Ohio, on Sunday, could become the next House speaker.

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October 31, 2010 HANOVERTON, Ohio (KATAKAMI / NYTimes)  — The speaker in waiting was waiting to speak, perched atop a bale of hay on a small platform outside the Spread Eagle Tavern, where the windows were draped with patriotic red, white and blue bunting.

Back in his home state on the weekend before the biggest election of his career, John A. Boehner absent-mindedly flicked a hand through his hair, though it was already perfectly in place. He listened as one local conservative after another railed against Washington and the federal government and the Congress that Mr. Boehner has inhabited for 18 years, only to emerge now, perhaps improbably, as the face of much hungered-for change.

With the autumn leaves fluttering down in a swirl of crimson and bronze, Mr. Boehner stood up to make his case for Bill Johnson, the local Republican candidate for the House, and more broadly for a nationwide sweep that he hopes will propel Republicans into the majority and himself into the speaker’s post, second in line to the presidency.

It is a case squarely against President Obama and the current speaker, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, whose name he always pronounces, “pell-oh-Zee” as if practicing his conversational Italian.

“If you want to send Nancy Pelosi packing her bags, back to San Francisco, elect Bill Johnson,” he told the crowd.

At each stop he draws on nostalgia for the Republican glory days of the 1980s, by telling the same joke. “Remember when Ronald Reagan was president,” he said. “We had Bob Hope. We had Johnny Cash. Think about where we are today. We have got President Obama. But we have no hope and we have no cash.” It draws hoots of laughter and applause every time.

As he zipped across a southeastern swath of Ohio this weekend, partly by coach bus, occasionally by the black S.U.V. that is the more customary mode of transport for Congressional leaders these days, Mr. Boehner made a succinct and forceful pitch for Republican candidates and for their view of America.

He is also playing it safe, refusing to answer reporters’ questions about substantive topics, including the recently foiled terrorist effort to mail explosives to the United States.

Instead, he offers a sharp stump speech, tightened to about six minutes.

“Look, I have got to tell you straight up,” he begins, “because I am not Nancy Pelosi, I am not Barack Obama. I say what I mean, and I mean what I say.”

He reminds his audience of Mr. Obama’s health care forum with Congressional leaders last winter. “You remember the seven-hour Obama infomercial? Oh yeah, we were just supposed to be the potted plants for that event,” he said. “And during that event the president said, when we have ideological differences or we have philosophical differences, he said, and I’ll quote, ‘that’s what elections are for.’

“Well, he certainly is right,” Mr. Boehner continued. “Because if you are tired of all the bailouts, if you are tired of all the stimulus spending, if you are tired of the government taking over virtually everything in America, remember what the president said: ‘That’s what elections are for.’ ”

Mr. Boehner is also reintroducing himself to voters in Ohio and by extension to an American public that still largely has no idea who he is or what he is about.

He presents himself as a regular guy, an unlikely leader who sort of stumbled into elective office. His perma-tan, the result of many hours on many golf courses, has faded — either because he is working too much or in a strategic effort to — literally — tone down his appearance.

“You know I am the last guy in the world who should be standing here,” he said. “I have got 11 brothers and sisters. My dad owned a bar. I grew up mopping floors, waiting tables, washing dishes and every rotten job. I have worked every night shift you can imagine, and I am going to tell you what: I loved every job that I had, at least until I get the next one.”

Mr. Boehner is also dressing the part of regular guy, a dramatic departure from his Washington wardrobe of designer suits and ties. On Saturday, he wore blue jeans, a checkered shirt, and a blue fleece pullover with the collar turned up. On Sunday, he looked like an overgrown schoolboy in blue chinos, and a white collared shirt covered by a cable sweater with the cuffs slightly rolled at his wrists.

But most striking is his argument against Washington, where he has served as the Republican leader for the last four years and was responsible for delivering Republican votes, even his own, for the big financial system bailout in 2008.

At a rally on Sunday evening in Chillicothe, Mr. Boehner nodded to his own longevity, noting that some people might say, “Well, you’re part of the problem.” But he insisted, and the hugely enthusiastic crowd seemed to agree, that he was in fact dedicated to change, including an overhaul of the way the House does business.

“Understand this: if we are lucky enough to be in the majority in the U.S. House and I am lucky enough to be the next speaker of the House,” he said, “it’s going to be different, and not just different than it is today under Democrat control, but different than when Republicans last had the chance to govern in Washington, D.C.”

He said he was willing to take on challenges that other Congressional leaders have ducked in the past two decades. “It’s about time that Americans come together and have an adult conversation with each other about the serious challenges that our country faces,” he said.

That Mr. Boehner has the luxury of being in his home state on the final weekend of the campaign, after months spent raising tens of millions of dollars and stumping for Republican candidates across the country, is simply the lucky consequence of Ohio being a hotly contested political battleground. Both Mr. Obama and former President Bill Clinton were also here this weekend.

Mr. Boehner’s speeches are peppered with jabs at Mr. Obama, and he dwells in particular on a recent interview in which, he says, the president referred to his political opponents as “enemies.”

“I can’t hardly believe the president said this,” Mr. Boehner said. “For the president to use that word about people who oppose bigger government, people who are freedom-loving and love our Constitution, I have to tell you, I have got to find that very appalling. And so Mr. President, I have got a word for those people, those people who oppose your policies, those people who love our Constitution, who love freedom and love the principles that America was built on. You know what I call those people? Not enemies. They’re patriots.”

While he is predicting a big win for Republicans, Mr. Boehner also said he would not gloat and, indeed, aides have said he would not hold a big election-night victory party.

“Our job in Washington is to respect the Constitution and to respect the will of the American people,” he said at an appearance at a Republican tailgate party at the Muskingum County Fairgrounds in Zanesville. “And I can tell you, on Tuesday night we are going to have a big win. But it’s not a time to celebrate. When one out of 10 of our fellow citizens are out of work, when we have buried our kids and grandkids under a mountain of debt, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and go to work.”

Former presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush throw out ceremonial 1st pitch

AP Photo - Former Presidents George Bush, right, and his son, George W. Bush shake hands with Texas Rangers President Nolan Ryan before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch for Game 4 of baseball's World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Texas Rangers Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010, in Arlington, Texas.

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October 31, 2010 ARLINGTON, Texas (KATAKAMI / THE NEWS TRIBUNE)  – Game 4 of the World Series had a presidential doubleheader.

The father-and-son team of George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush threw out the ceremonial first pitch Sunday night in what Major League Baseball said was the first time two former presidents attended a World Series game.

George W. Bush, the 43rd president, threw the pitch, with his dad, the 41st president, at his side.

The duo drove in from left field together in a golf cart, with the younger Bush wearing a blue Texas Rangers jacket and the elder Bush a red World Series jacket. The older held a cane in his left hand and walked haltingly, and he later needed assistance getting into his seat in the first row next to the Texas Rangers dugout.

As they approached the infield dirt and drove past four Giants, San Francisco outfielder Cody Ross gave a handshake to the older Bush.

Former First Lady Barbara Bush took pictures from her first-row seat with former First Lady Laura Bush, her daughter-in-law, standing next to her.

When the golf cart pulled up next to the mound of the first-base side, the two ex-presidents were greeted by Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, the current Rangers president. George W. Bush threw a high pitch to Ryan, who caught it over the right-handed hitter’s batter’s box.

After the pitch, the pair got back in the golf cart and drove the short distance to in front of the Rangers dugout. Once they were in their seats, the umpires walked over to shake their hands.

Barbara Bush appeared to be keeping a scorecard of the game in the early innings.

The younger Bush is a familiar face at Rangers Ballpark, where he became controlling owner in April 1989 and relinquished the baseball position when he took over as Texas governor in 1995. His group owned the team until selling to Tom Hicks in 1998.

The elder, more of a Houston Astros fan, was a first baseman at Yale and captain of the Bulldogs’ baseball team. He played in the first two College World Series, losing the 1947 championship to California 8-7 and the 1948 final to Southern Cal 3-1. Bush kept his Yale first baseman’s glove in his Oval Office desk during his White House years, and he is friends with former baseball commissioner Fay Vincent.

Both threw out first pitches many times while president. The older, nicknamed 41, performed the task at the 1992 All-Star game in San Diego and 43 did it before Game 3 of the 2001 World Series at Yankee Stadium.

The older Bush was president from 1989-93 and the younger, nicknamed 43, was president from 2001-09. The younger also attended Game 3.

Rangers spokesman John Blake said neither Bush would discuss the World Series appearance because of a media embargo related to the publication of George W. Bush’s upcoming book.

 

(MS)