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Pakistanis angry over detentions in Times Sq. case

Monday, May 24, 2010
ISLAMABAD – Relatives of three men detained by Pakistan for alleged links to the suspect in the attempted Times Square bombing say the men are innocent.
They said during a news conference Sunday they are concerned the men were mistakenly targeted because they are devout Muslims.
They demanded the government either officially charge the men or release them.
The three have been in custody at least two weeks. They are among at least six men who have been detained in Pakistan for alleged ties to Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani-American arrested in the United States two days after the failed May 1 attack in New York.

Taiwan denies boycotting Australian film festival

Thursday, August 6, 2009

AFP - Thursday, August 6TAIPEI (AFP) - - Taiwan's Beijing-friendly government on Wednesday denied boycotting an Australian film festival amid a row over the exiled leader of the Uighur minority.

Merkel's support dips, regional ally resigns International

Thursday, September 3, 2009

By Sarah Marsh and Noah Barkin

BERLIN (Reuters) - Chancellor Angela Merkel suffered a double blow on Thursday as a senior party ally in east Germany resigned his post and a new poll showed support for her conservatives at a three-month low weeks before an election.

Merkel has held a double-digit poll lead over the rival Social Democrats (SPD) for months and looked on track to win a second term on September 27 and seal the center-right coalition that eluded her four years ago.

But her party suffered big losses in two German regional elections on Sunday and nervousness in her conservative camp is rising as the federal vote approaches.

The poll from Emnid for private television station N24 was the first to fully take into account the results of the regional votes and showed support for Merkel's conservatives dipping to 34 percent, their lowest level since early June.

It also showed her conservative bloc -- the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Christian Social Union (CSU) -- short of the backing it needs to form a governing majority with the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP).

Merkel wants to partner with the FDP after the federal vote to push through tax relief and extend the lifespan of Germany's nuclear plants. But the new poll suggests another awkward "grand coalition" with the SPD could result.

"I am quite sure Merkel will be re-elected but I'm a lot more cautious about whether she'll be able to get her preferred coalition with the FDP," said Frank Decker, a political scientist at Bonn University.


As a consequence of the decline in support for her party in the eastern state of Thuringia at the weekend, state premier and longtime Merkel ally Dieter Althaus resigned on Thursday.

Althaus, who ruled in Thuringia for a decade, saw his popularity dip after he was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter for crashing into and killing a 41-year-old woman on a ski slope in Austria on New Year's day.

He also caused an uproar weeks before the state election by suggesting that federal subsidies for eastern regions that date back to German reunification in 1990 should be pared back.

"This is the result of the dramatic losses from last Sunday," said SPD leader Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Merkel's challenger in the federal vote.

Althaus' departure could allow the CDU to hold onto power in Thuringia by forming a "grand coalition" with the SPD -- an option regional SPD leaders had said they would only consider if the conservative stepped aside.

"The Althaus resignation actually improves the chances of Merkel's party to hold onto power in Thuringia, so it shouldn't be seen as overly negative," said Decker.

The other option in the state is a leftist grouping of the SPD, Greens and far-left "Linke," or Left party.

Thursday's poll showed Merkel's conservatives on 34 percent, eight points ahead of the SPD. Together with the FDP they would have 48 percent, matching the combined scores of the SPD, Greens and Left.

Minister seeks closure of anti-Berlusconi websites

Wednesday, December 16, 2009
ROME (AFP) - – The Italian government moved Tuesday to close down Internet sites encouraging further violence against Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who suffered a bloody attack at the weekend.
"After Sunday's very serious attack a proliferation of sites... praise the head of government's assailant," Interior Minister Roberto Maroni told parliament.
"As has happened in the past, they incite violence against Berlusconi," Maroni said.
"Judicial authorities have been alerted, but we also plan legislative initiatives to bring about the closure of these sites that send out messages of real incitement to delinquency, with the effects that we have all seen," he added.
The attack by a man with a history of mental problems occurred in Berlusconi's native Milan on Sunday, leaving the 73-year-old prime minister with a broken nose, two broken teeth and other facial injuries.
The assailant, 42-year-old Massimo Tartiglia, hurled a heavy souvenir model of Milan's many-spired gothic cathedral at Berlusconi following a political rally in the northern city.
Two groups on the social networking site Facebook are already under investigation.
One calling itself "Ten, a Hundred, a Thousand Massimo Tartiglias" counted 84,000 members as of Tuesday.
Another is called simply "Death to Berlusconi".
Rome prosecutors launched a probe in October into calls for the assassination of Berlusconi posted on Facebook.
Legal authorities asked Facebook to pass on the personal details of those making the threats and threatened to sue if it does not comply.
The government also wants to set up a way to monitor the Internet to combat content that incites hatred and violence, Maroni said.
Berlusconi will leave hospital on Wednesday after which he will be under doctor's orders to halt "important" public activities for "at least" two weeks, his personal physician said Tuesday.
Tartaglia, who is in jail facing charges of inflicting premeditated gross bodily harm, has sent a letter to Berlusconi apologising for what he called a "superficial, cowardly and inconsiderate act".

Asian markets mixed after Wall Street rally

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

By ELAINE KURTENBACH,AP Business Writer AP - Wednesday, March 18SHANGHAI - Asia's stock market rally seemed to be running out of steam Wednesday, despite an overnight surge on Wall Street, as investors cashed in on recent gains amid persistent doubts about the outlook for the global economy.

Researchers Discover Ruins Of Entire City In Peru

Wednesday, December 24, 2008
AHN Staff Lima, Peru (AHN) - Researchers discovered then ruins of an entire city in northern Peru, which could provide the missing link between the old cultures of the Wari people and the Moche civilization.
The find is located near the city of Chiclayo, estimated to date back to the Wari culture which ruled the Andes from the 7th to the 12th century. The ancient city indicated human sacrifices were made.
It confirms earlier findings by forensic anthropologist John Verano from Tulane University in New Orleans and published by the National Geographic in 2002, that skeletal remains he found in the valleys of lowland Peru underwent brutal deaths. Some were skinned alive, while others had their bloods drained, heads chopped or tied up and left to be consumed alive by vultures.
Cesar Soriano, chief archeologist of the research team, theorized the victims were thrown over a nearby cliff.
Aside from skeletal remains, also discovered by the archeological team were ceramics, clothing and remains of a young woman.
The National Geographic's theories were that under the Moche culture people were sacrificed to please their gods and improve their land's fertility or the skeletal remains belong to victims of Moche executioners who won after a fierce power struggle between rival city-states.

Banks Agree To Foreclosure Moratoriums Until Obama Details Housing Plan

Monday, February 16, 2009
David Goodhue - AHN Reporter Miami, FL (AHN) - Some major U.S. banks have halted foreclosure proceedings until President Barack Obama unveils the details of his $50-billion plan to keep more people from losing their homes.
JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley, Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co. and Bank of America Corp., and Florida banks BankUnited and BankAtlantic announced that they would stop foreclosures for at least a month until they learn more about Obama's proposal.
Lawmakers asked bankers for the foreclosure moratoriums during a congressional hearing in Washington on Wednesday.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner unveiled an outline of Obama's plan last week and said the details of the proposal will be released at a later date.
Obama is scheduled to discuss his plan to slow foreclosures this week.