Thursday, July 31, 2008

T V Jul 31-Defiant Karadzic in U.N. court

Jul 31 - Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic appeared before a U.N. war crimes judge for the first time on Thursday (July 31) to answer genocide charges.

Karadzic, who was arrested last week after more than a decade on the run, faces war crimes charges, including two counts of genocide over the 43-month siege of Sarajevo and the 1995 massacre of some 8,000 Muslims at Srebrenica.

The leader of Bosnian Serbs during the 1992-95 Bosnia war is the most prominent Balkan war crimes suspect arrested since late Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, who died in detention in 2006 before his trial ended.

T V Jul 31-Bush: Iraq combat tours to be cut

Jul 31 - U.S. President W. Bush has announced that the length of combat tours for U.S.forces in Iraq is to be cut from 15 to 12 months.

Bush made the announcement during a brief statement on Iraq at the White House on Thursday (31 July 2008).

He said violence in Iraq had fallen to its lowest point since the spring of 2004 and that progress on the ground was showing a "degree of durability."

T V Jul 31-Bush: Prospect of troop cuts

Jul. 31 - President Bush called progress in Iraq "encouraging" and held out the prospect for more troops cuts to come.

Five U.S. soldiers have been killed in combat in Iraq this month compared with 66 in the same month last year, according to the independent website icasualties.org, which keeps records of U.S. military losses in the conflict.




Wednesday, July 30, 2008

T V Jul 19-Temple tensions high ahead of talks

Jul 19 - Thailand and Cambodia say they are willing to negotiate over a disputed temple site as troop numbers escalate.

Both sides are due to hold talks on Monday to resolve the latest row over the ancient temple site which the International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 belonged to Cambodia, a decision which still angers many Thais.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

July, 29, 2008 Cambodia and Thailand


PHNOM PENH - Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Tuesday he would not withdraw troops and artillery from a disputed 900-year-old temple on the Thai border until Thailand started to pull back its forces.

"It is a matter of when the Thais remove their troops," Hun Sen, who won another five years in power with a landslide election victory at the weekend, told reporters at Phnom Penh's Foreign Ministry.

The two southeast Asian nations' foreign ministers agreed on Monday to resolve the spat peacefully and scale back a two-week military build-up around the Preah Vihear ruins, awarded to Cambodia in 1962 by the International Court of Justice, a ruling that has rankled in Thailand ever since.

However, Thailand's cabinet, which is reeling from court decisions against several ministers and a long-running street campaign to remove it from power, issued no directives to the military after a weekly meeting on Tuesday.

Army chief Anupong Paochinda told reporters he was waiting for a government order to pull out the troops after both sides agreed to "redeploy" out of the disputed area on the jungle-clad escarpment that forms the natural border.

"When the government says withdraw, we will immediately do so," Anupong said.

Hun Sen's election victory means he does not have to pander to a nationalist clamor to tough it out with Cambodia's larger neighbor, although the wily former Khmer Rouge guerrilla has little to gain by being seen as the first to blink.

The Thai government faces similar nationalist pressures and is in a considerably weaker position at home than Hun Sen.

The spat first started when anti-government protesters in Thailand seized on Bangkok's backing for Cambodia's bid to have Preah Vihear listed as a World Heritage site, whipping up a nationalist fervor in Thailand.

Monday's 12 hours of talks in the Cambodian resort town of Siem Reap helped relieved fears of a military clash.

"If they pull out, we will do, too," Cambodia's military commander on the scene, Chea Mon, told Reporters. "But this is our pagoda. We should not move far from this area."

Even if they manage to avoid direct conflict, the saga is unlikely to die down quickly as ancient temples are among the most potent symbols of national pride in both countries.




T V Jul 29-Myanmar refugees head for new life

Jul 29 - Residents of the biggest camp for refugees fleeing Myanmar's military junta leave for new countries.

The Mae La camp in Thailand is home to an estimated 48, 000 refugees, many of whom fled Myanmar to escape a military offensive against ethnic Karens.

Monday, July 28, 2008

July 28, 2008, Talks in Siem Reap


Thailand's Foreign Minister Tej Bunnag speaks with Cambodia's Foreign Minister Hor Namhong over lunch at a hotel in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

July 28, 2008, Talks in Siem Reap


Cambodia's Foreign Minister Hor Namhong tries to get past journalists between meetings with Thailand's Foreign Minister Tej Bunnag at a hotel in Siem Reap.




July 28, 2008, Talks in Siem Reap


Thailand's Foreign Minister Tej Bunnag is seen between his meetings with Cambodia's Foreign Minister Hor Namhong at a hotel in Siem Reap. Thailand's new foreign minister held talks with his Cambodian counterpart on Monday over a 900-year-old temple that has raised fears of a military clash between the southeast Asian neighbours.

July 28, 2008, Talks in Siem Reap


Reporters wait for Cambodia's Foreign Minister Hor Namhong and his Thai counterpart Tej Bunnag to hold a bilateral meeting at a hotel in Siem Reap. Thailand's new foreign minister held talks with his Cambodian counterpart on Monday to defuse a land dispute over a 900-year-old temple that has raised fears of a military clash between Cambodia and Thailand.




Sunday, July 27, 2008

July, 27, 2008 Cambodia Votes






PHNOM PENH - The ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) claimed an expected victory in Sunday's general election, giving another five years in power to ex-Khmer Rouge guerrilla Hun Sen, prime minister for the last 23 years.

Party spokesman Khieu Kanharith told Reporters the one-time communist but now firmly free-market CPP was on course to win 80 of the 123 seats in parliament.

A member of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) said early results suggested it was on course for at least 40 seats, although party chief Sam Rainsy, a French-educated former finance minister, put his projected tally much higher.

Full results from Sunday's poll, which passed off largely without incident in a country where democratic politics have frequently been marred by violence, are not expected until late on Monday.

Although he had been widely expected to win thanks to near double-digit economic growth in the last five years, Hun Sen gained extra support from a nationalist spat with Thailand over a 900-year-old temple on their border.

Both Bangkok and Phnom Penh have sent troops to the Preah Vihear ruins, which sit on a jungle-clad escarpment separating the two southeast Asian countries, although so far the only clashes have been verbal and diplomatic, not military.

Hun Sen, a wily chess-playing 57-year-old who lost an eye in Pol Pot's assault on Phnom Penh in 1975, orchestrated the final surrender of the Khmer Rouge in the late 1990s to usher in an unprecedented decade of peace and stability.

Falling political violence is another sign the lot of Cambodia's 14 million people is improving, although human rights groups say four CPP and two SRP activists, including a journalist, were murdered in the month before polling.




Thursday, July 24, 2008

July 24, 2008. Cambodia Thailand Dispute


Monks presence to ease tensions

PHNOM PENH - Cambodia accused Thailand on Thursday of sending more troops to their joint border as a smouldering dispute over a 900-year-old temple showed no signs of easing.

"Thailand has continued to increase its military build-up," government spokesman Khieu Kanharith told a news conference in Phnom Penh, labelling Bangkok the aggressor in a spat that has sparked fears of a military clash.

The Thai Foreign Ministry said Bangkok had only 400 men facing as many as 1,700 Cambodian soldiers. Both sides have moved artillery into the area, occupied by remnants of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge guerrilla army in the 1980s and 1990s.

At the heart of the dispute is a 1.8 square mile (4.6 square km) stretch of scrubland around the Preah Vihear temple on a jungle-clad escarpment that forms a natural boundary between the southeast Asian countries.

The temple itself is claimed by both countries but was awarded to Cambodia in 1962 by the International Court of Justice in The Hague, a ruling that has rankled in Thailand ever since.

United Nations (U.N.)

France and Vietnam said on Wednesday the United Nations Security Council would hold a special meeting in response to a Cambodian request for it to take up the issue, although it was not clear if it would lead to formal Council involvement.

Thailand said it wanted the issue to be resolved on a bilateral basis, and it played down Phnom Penh's claims of rising tensions ahead of a general election on Sunday in Cambodia, where nationalism is a frequently played political card.

"It is a peaceful military stand-off. It is like a picnic. They chat together and lunch together," Foreign Ministry spokesman Tharit Charungvat told Reporters in Bangkok.

While there have been no major incidents at the temple so far, Thai border villages that are home to some 4,000 people are braced for conflict.

Analysts say domestic Thai politics are mainly to blame for the eruption of the dispute, which stems from Cambodia's successful bid to have the ruins listed as a World Heritage site, a source of pride and joy in Cambodia and uproar in Thailand.

Bangkok's initial support for the heritage listing was seized on by anti-government groups who whipped up a nationalist fervour in their attempt to unseat the government of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej. His foreign minister resigned over the issue.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

July 23,Thais living on Cambodia border brace for clashes







KHAO PRA VIHARN, Thailand - Thais living along the border with Cambodia began evacuation and weapon drills fearing a land dispute might escalate into violence after talks failed this week.

In villages near the disputed Preah Vihear temple, where hundreds of Thai and Cambodian troops faced off for a ninth day on Wednesday, workers dug holes for new bomb shelters.

They also renovated old bunkers dating back to the 1980s, when stray shells often landed during fighting between Khmer Rouge guerrillas and Cambodian government troops.

"We have nowhere to move to and we don't want Cambodian infiltrators," 79-year-old guard Mee Kaewsanga told Reporters, cradling a five-year-old pump-action shotgun.

At the heart of the dispute is a 4.6 sq km (1.8 sq mile) area around the temple, which sits on a jungle-clad escarpment that forms a natural boundary and is claimed by both nations.

The build-up of troops and heavy artillery on both sides of the border has worried neighbouring countries and the United Nations, which Cambodia has appealed to for help.

While there have been no major incidents at the temple so far, Thai border villages that are home to some 4,000 people are braced for the worst.

Authorities have begun arming volunteers with shotguns and training villagers how to defend against potential invaders.

"We hope there won't be any violence, but we can't be complacent," Prasert Aramsriworapong, an official in the border town of Kantaralak, told Reporters.

POLITICS

In Bangkok, Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej said he believed tensions would ease after Sunday's general election in Cambodia.

"After the elections, they will soften their stance and talks will be easier," the pugnacious Thai leader said in Bangkok.

"Everything has been done for the July 27 poll and I need to keep quiet so as not to discredit Prime Minister Hun Sen."

But analysts say Thai politics are probably more to blame for the dispute over the temple, which an international court awarded to Cambodia in 1962. The ruling still rankles with many Thais.

Preah Vihear's listing as a World Heritage site this month inspired pride and joy in Cambodia, but triggered political uproar in Thailand.

Bangkok's initial support for the heritage listing has been used by anti-government groups to stoke nationalist passions in Thailand and fuel street protests against Samak.

Groups opposed to former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, ousted in a 2006 coup, accuse Samak's government of selling Thailand's heritage to support Thaksin's business interests in Cambodia.

Phnom Penh and Thaksin denied the charge, but the controversy forced Thailand's foreign minister to resign this month.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

July 22, Cambodia seeks U.N. (United Nations) help in temple row with Thailand










SINGAPORE - Southeast Asian foreign ministers nudged Thailand and Cambodia on Tuesday to resolve a stand-off over an ancient temple on their border before fighting. Cambodia appealed to the United Nations late on Monday.

At the heart of the dispute is a 4.6 sq km (1.8 sq mile) area around the 11th century Preah Vihear temple, which sits on a jungle-clad escarpment that forms a natural boundary and is claimed by both nations. The 900-year-old temple was awarded to Cambodia by an international court in 1962.

"In order to avoid war, the Royal Government of Cambodia has decided to request an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council to find a solution to the problem in accordance with international laws," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

With domestic politics fueling the confrontation on both sides, foreign ministers from the Association of South East Asian Nations, of which both Cambodia and Thailand are members.

Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo, host for this year's ASEAN ministerial meeting, said both sides "reiterated they were committed to a peaceful resolution of the issue", and that another meeting of their General Border Commission to discuss the issue "would be held in the near future".

But no consensus could be reached for ASEAN to get involved, Yeo said in a statement.

Thailand would prefer to settle the issue bilaterally, a Thai official told reporters after the lunch.

"We still have to have talks with Cambodia, and if it fails and we need help from ASEAN, then we will ask for it," said the official who declined to be identified.

ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan said the informal lunch was "just expressing some views on issues that would affect the region, that would affect ASEAN, that would have some implications on the image and credibility of ASEAN. Many issues were discussed."

War Soldiers and Power Weapons

The military build-up began a week ago when Thai troops moved into the disputed area after three Thai protesters were briefly detained there. Since then, both sides have sent hundreds more soldiers and heavy artillery to the border.

Preah Vihear's listing as a World Heritage site in Cambodia this month triggered a political uproar in Bangkok, where the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) accused the government of selling out Thailand's history by initially backing the listing.

The stand-off has become a key issue in the run-up to Cambodia's general election on Sunday, with ruling party and opposition politicians slamming the "Thai invaders".

But domestic politics in Thailand have played an even bigger role in fueling the dispute.

A coalition of activists and royalists is waging a street campaign against Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, whom they accuse of acting as a proxy for former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, ousted in a coup in 2006.

Cambodia had asked ASEAN to form an Inter-Ministerial Group of foreign ministers from Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and Laos to resolve the crisis.

"The proposal found favor with a number of foreign ministers, but there was also a general view that the bilateral process should be allowed to continue, and there was still no consensus for the formation of such a group," Yeo said.




Monday, July 21, 2008

Cambodia and Thailand Hold Talks


ARANYAPRATHET, Thailand - Thailand and Cambodia began high-level talks on Monday aimed at resolving a military stand-off over the disputed Preah Vihear temple on their joint border.

After a week of diplomatic sparring and a build-up of troops, expectations for a breakthrough were low, but both sides said they wanted to ease tensions in a dispute that has regional neighbours worried it could turn violent.

"We believe they will agree to our reasonable offer which will help ease the tension along the border," Thai Supreme Commander Boonsrang Niumpradit told reporters before meeting Cambodian Defence Minister Tea Banh.

"We hope they will have a similar offer that we can accept," Boonsrang said, without giving details of the Thai proposal.

The two met in the Thai border town of Aranyaprathet, about 350 km (215 miles) from the 11th century temple that has been a source of tension for decades after it was bestowed by an international court to Cambodia in 1962.

Hundreds of Thai and Cambodian troops have faced each other at the temple since last Tuesday, backed up by several thousand more troops and heavy artillery on both sides.

In Phnom Penh, government spokesman Khieu Kanharith did not expect a swift end to the stand-off, but "at least it will ease some of the tension because both sides have agreed to sit down at the negotiating table."

At the heart of the dispute is a 4.6 sq km (1.8 sq mile) area around the temple, which sits on a jungle-clad escarpment that forms a natural boundary, that is claimed by both nations.

Cambodia complained to the U.N. Security Council on Friday about Thailand's violation of Cambodia's "sovereignty and territorial integrity", but did not ask the U.N. to intervene.

"While Cambodia exercises maximum restraint to avoid armed confrontation, we cannot ignore that Thai military provocation is to create a de facto 'overlapping area' that legally does not exist on Cambodia soil," Phnom Penh's U.N. ambassador Sea Kosal said.




ASEAN Talks About Cambodia and Thailand Border Dispute






SINGAPORE - Southeast Asian ministers urged Cambodia and Thailand on Monday to show restraint over a military standoff on their border and took steps to create a regional human rights body.

The 10 members of the Association of South East Asian Nations were also tackling spiraling food and fuel prices at their annual meeting on Monday, as worsening inflation adds to political turbulence in the region.

The group, seeking to create a European Union-style community encompassing a half-billion people with a combined GDP of $1.2 trillion, was set to again express profound disappointment with junta-ruled Myanmar, its most problematic member, according to a draft communique.

With Thailand and Cambodia holding high-level talks on Monday aimed at resolving the dispute over a 900-year-old temple on their border, ASEAN ministers offered to help mediate.

"The situation has escalated dangerously, with troops from both sides faced off on disputed territory near the Preah Vihear temple," Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a speech opening the ASEAN meeting. "ASEAN could not stand idly by without damaging its credibility."

ASEAN's diplomacy on the issue "reflects a growing sense that ASEAN is no longer just a 'talk-shop', but a maturing community of nations prepared to act to advance its collective interests", the prime minister said.

After a week of diplomatic sparring and a build-up of troops, expectations for a breakthrough were low, but both sides said they wanted to ease tensions.

Analysts say domestic politics in Thailand, where the temple is known as Khao Pra Viharn, have played a key role in fuelling the border dispute.

HUMAN RIGHTS

The foreign ministers, representing countries that include a kingdom, a junta, communist states and democracies, are expected to agree a framework for a landmark human rights body.

"It's going to be tough negotiations," said an official nominated to the high-level panel that will negotiate on the functions and powers of the proposed human rights body.

"The member states remained deeply divided on the actual form and substance of the body."

The foreign ministers are discussing "the growing challenge posed by rising oil and food prices ... to our people's welfare as well as our countries' continued economic development," the draft joint communique says.

The high-growth economies of Southeast Asia are worried global financial turmoil could lead to the kind of chain reactions that destabilized them in the "Asian contagion" financial crisis of 1997-98, one Philippines official said.

spiraling prices contributed to unprecedented opposition gains in Malaysia's general election last March and are stoking political turmoil elsewhere in the region, including food riots and protests in some countries and export restrictions in others.

"ASEAN has decided to press on with the charter's implementation without waiting for all 10 member states to ratify," Lee said in his speech.

"ASEAN cannot take its continued relevance for granted. If our efforts to achieve faster and deeper integration falter, ASEAN may well be sidelined," he said.

ASEAN's inability to get Myanmar's junta to reform has been a major stumbling block in its ambition to exert economic and diplomatic muscle.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

KHAO PRA VIHARN, Thailand





Five years after a row over the famed Angkor Wat temples turned violent, the ownership of another religious site is again inflaming passions in Thailand and Cambodia.

A volatile mix of politics and nationalism swirling around the Preah Vihear temple, perched on a disputed border where troops faced off for a sixth day on Sunday, has raised fears it may turn ugly, as in 2003 when a nationalist mob torched the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh.

The trigger for the latest temple tantrum was Preah Vihear's listing as a World Heritage site this month, a move that inspired pride and joy in Cambodia and a political uproar in Thailand.

Groups opposed to the Bangkok government, which backs former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra who was ousted in a 2006 coup, have cranked up nationalist fervor over the temple, which Thais know as Khao Pra Viharn, to attack the administration.

"Preah Vihear has become a casualty of Thailand's political crisis," Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a foreign affairs lecturer at Chulalongkorn University.

The 11th century Preah Vihear complex, sitting on a remote and heavily landmined escarpment separating the two countries, has been a source of tension for decades.

Although easily accessible only from Thailand, it was bestowed on Cambodia in 1962 by the International Court of Justice in the Hague, a ruling which still rankles with Thais.

"I have been crying since the listing of Khao Pra Viharn as a World Heritage site," said 49-year-old accountant Unchana Padungyat, who drove 600 km (370 miles) to join 2,000 Thai nationalists protesting near the temple.

They are members of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), a coalition of royalists, activists and businessmen leading a two-month street campaign against Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, whom they say is a Thaksin proxy.

"Our sacred mission is to protect our motherland and take back Thai territory," PAD leader and media firebrand Sondhi Limthongkul said on Friday, accusing the government of selling out Thailand's heritage.

Words of WAR

The PAD seized on the issue after Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama, Thaksin's former lawyer, agreed to support Cambodia's bid to list the temple, arguing it would not affect Bangkok's claims to 4.6 sq km (1.8 sq mile) of disputed land around Preah Vihear.

Noppadon was forced to resign after a court ruled he had violated the constitution. The PAD is now seeking a similar ruling against Samak's entire cabinet.

Samak, who has slammed the PAD for inflaming tensions over Preah Vihear, has nevertheless engaged in a diplomatic war of words with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen over the temple.

Thitinan said Thai leaders cannot go too far against the nationalist tide, "or you would be accused of being a traitor".

He said the troop build-up on both sides of the border appeared aimed at gaining leverage ahead of hastily arranged talks on Monday to find a peaceful way out of the dispute.

"The talks are critical because if they turn out badly and nothing is agreed, we could see an escalation," he said.

The temple stand-off has also dominated Cambodian politics ahead of a general election next Sunday, allowing politicians to avoid tackling "real issues" such as poverty, rights groups say.

The Sam Rainsy Party, which denied Hun Sen a parliamentary majority in the 2003 poll, has demanded a tougher government response to the "Thai army invasion", including the immediate withdrawal of Cambodia's ambassador.

Hun Sen has accused Bangkok of encroaching "on our territory" and also sent more troops, but the former Khmer Rouge commander's rhetoric has been restrained compared with five years ago.

In the run-up to the 2003 polls, Hun Sen fanned anti-Thai flames after a Thai TV actress purportedly said she would not visit Cambodia until Angkor Wat was returned to Thailand.

Hun Sen said she was "not even worth a blade of grass at Angkor". A few days later, mobs torched the Thai embassy and Thai businesses in Phnom Penh, severing relations for months.

Now, Phnom Penh is working the diplomatic route, calling on the United Nations and regional neighbors to put pressure on Thailand, and downplaying fears of a major escalation if Monday's border talks fail.

"Diplomatically and legally we have a winning case against Thailand. If the talks fail, we'll go to the international courts," Cambodian government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said.




Saturday, July 19, 2008

T V 19-Temple tensions high ahead of talks

Jul 19 - Thailand and Cambodia say they are willing to negotiate over a disputed temple site as troop numbers escalate.

Both sides are due to hold talks on Monday to resolve the latest row over the ancient temple site which the International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 belonged to Cambodia, a decision which still angers many Thais.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Jul 18-Cambodia sends more troops ahead of temple row talks




PHNOM PENH, July 18 - Cambodia sent extra troops to its disputed border with Thailand on Friday, as both sides insisted the flare-up over an ancient temple was unlikely to get violent.

Thai Supreme Commander Gen Boonsrang Niempradit said a joint border meeting on Monday should find an "amicable solution" to the four-day stand-off at the Preah Vihear temple, which has worried investors it might lead to a serious confrontation.

"The situation is unlikely to escalate into violence," Boonsrang, the country's top military commander, told reporters in Bangkok.

Cambodian officials echoed similar views, although Prime Minister Hun Sen warned on Thursday that the situation was "worsening" because Thai forces had not withdrawn from the temple site that has been a source of border tensions for decades.

But the former Khmer Rouge commander, who faces a general election later this month, said he still hoped to "resolve the problem through negotiations."

Nevertheless, a Cambodian convoy of four heavy military trucks with mounted machine guns and two smaller trucks were seen driving from the capital, Phnom Penh, to the border. The soldiers were armed with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic rifles.

"I am leading these men to reinforce our troops at Preah Vihear," General Yim Sanh.

With hundreds of Thai and Cambodian troops facing off on the border, there are fears it could escalate into a major row five years after a dispute over another Cambodian temple, Angkor Wat, saw a nationalist mob torch the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh. General Nipat Thonglek, head of Thailand's Border Military Affairs Department, denied reports that Thai and Cambodian soldiers had pointed their rifles at each other last night, saying both sides "have agreed not to use violence."

Chea Mon, Cambodia's military commander at Preah Vihear, said: "We are facing each other, but we leave it to our leaders to solve the problem." The 900-year-old Hindu temple has been a source of tension since the International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that it belonged to Cambodia, a decision that still rankles Thais.

The listing of the temple as a World Heritage site this month triggered a political uproar in Thailand stoked by groups seeking to oust Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej's shaky ruling coalition.

Thailand's main stock index .SETI has fallen more than 23 percent since anti-government street protests in Bangkok started in late May, and could drop further if border tensions get worse, dealers said.

T V 18-Sea chase for drug smuggle sub

Jul 18 - Mexico's navy captures a makeshift submarine and its crew suspected of drug running.

It's not yet known what type of drugs are on board or how much - but Mexican navy officials say it's the first time they have caught suspected smugglers using a submarine to transport consignments.

T V 17- Rice: No promises on Iran meeting

Jul. 17 - U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is making no promises about Iran's response to an offer to suspend nuclear work in exchange for incentives.

Earlier this week Rice decided to send the third-ranking official in the State Department, William Burns, to a meeting in Geneva with Iran's nuclear negotiator, along with EU foreign policy chief and other envoys from China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Pictures of the Cambodia Thai Border Dispute




July 17, Land Dispute Cambodia and Thai


KANTARALAK, Thailand, July 17 - Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Thursday a border row with Thailand was "worsening" and urged the immediate withdrawal of Thai troops from a disputed ancient temple.

In a letter to Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, Hun Sen said the stand-off at the Preah Vihear temple was "very bad" for relations, but he still hoped to "resolve the problem through negotiations" at a border meeting on Monday.

"The situation is worsening due to a continuing increase in the numbers of Thai military" and the presence of Thai protesters, said Hun Sen, a former Khmer Rouge commander who faces a general election next week.

With hundreds of Thai and Cambodian troops facing off on the border, there are fears it could escalate five years after a dispute over another Cambodian temple, Angkor Wat, saw a nationalist mob torch the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh.

Cambodia's listing of the temple as a World Heritage site triggered a political uproar in Thailand by groups seeking to oust Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej's shaky ruling coalition.

About 2,000 Thai nationalists were stopped from rallying at the temple on Thursday, some clashing with Thai villagers angry at the loss of cross-border trade. Some protesters suffered minor injuries before riot police intervened.

"Go home, go home, you troublemakers!," one woman shouted at members of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), which is leading a nearly 2-month old street campaign against Samak, whom they accuse of being a proxy for former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 coup.

In Bangkok, Samak said the protesters were "insane" and he accused them of trying to provoke a border confrontation.

LONG-RUNNING DISPUTE


The 900-year-old temple has been a source of tension for decades since the International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that it belonged to Cambodia, a ruling that still rankles Thais.

The latest flare-up was sparked by Bangkok's support for the UNESCO listing, which the PAD said was tantamount to selling out Thailand's heritage.

Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama quit last week after a Thai court ruled the joint communique he signed backing Preah Vihear's listing was illegal because it was an international treaty that required parliament's approval.

Thailand and Cambodia have deployed hundreds of troops since Tuesday when three Thai activists were briefly detained on the Cambodian side for trying to plant a Thai flag there.

Despite the aggressive rhetoric from both sides, the situation at the temple has remained calm while diplomatic efforts get underway.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

T V 16-Mideast prisoner swap: pain and joy

Jul 16 - Hezbollah has handed over coffins said to contain the bodies of two captured Israeli soldiers in exchange for Lebanese prisoners held by Israel.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) took charge of the coffins of the soldiers whose capture in 2006 sparked a 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah.

The exchange was hailed as a triumph by the Lebanese guerrilla group and as a painful necessity by many Israelis.

T V Jul 15- Blair cancels Gaza visit

Jul 15 - A security threat is being blamed for halting what would have been the highest-level diplomatic visit since Hamas seized control.

Hamas says its security forces had taken measures to ensure the safety of Middle East envoy Tony Blair and is blaming Israel for the cancellation even though he was not due to meet any leaders of the Islamist group.

An Israeli diplomatic source said Blair was informed by the Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak "that there was a threat that could materialize as he entered the Gaza Strip."

T V Jul 15- Carnage after Iraq crackdown warning

Jul 15 - At least 27 people have been killed and 70 wounded in attacks in Diyala province and Baghdad, Iraq.

In Baquba, the capital of Diyala province, two suicide bombers killed 27 people and wounded 68 at a recruitment centre for the Iraqi army.

In Baghdad, Electricity Minister Wahid Karim escaped a bomb attack on his convoy in the eastern part of the city, but two of his guards were wounded.

T V Jul 15- Stand-off at Bosnian massacre site

Jul. 15 - Bosnian Serb police have stopped relatives of the victims of the Srebrenica massacre from visiting the site where many were killed.

Police said the presence of 100-odd women in the eastern Bosnian village of Kravice posed a security risk because local Serbs did not want them there. The women had wanted to lay flowers outside a warehouse where their relatives were executed on July 13, 1995, in the last months of the 1992-95 war. More than 8,000 men died in the Srebrenica massacre, Europe's worst atrocity since World War Two.

Sonia Legg reports.

SOUNDBITES:
# Hatidza Megmedovic, Victims' family member, saying (Bosnian):
"A law was passed in March saying every place of killing can be marked, regardless of the ethnic group involved. But today we Bosnians, the biggest victims of the war, aren't allowed to do it."
# Dragomir Peric, Serbian police spokesperson, saying (Serbian):
"We will follow the temporary ruling of the court and when the court makes its final decision we will act accordingly."

T V Jul 15- GM sets new revival plan

Jul 15 - General Motors announced plans to cut $10 billion in costs and repair its balance sheet as the worst sales slump in a decade threatened its future.

The beleaguered automaker plans to slash thousands of white-collar jobs, cut its dividend, seek new financing, and sell some of its assets in an attempt to prevent a slide into bankruptcy

T V Jul 15-Bush's Economic Legacy

Jul 15 - Bush came into office as America's first "MBA president, " determined to run the economy like a business.

Some seven-and-a-half years later, with oil prices at record highs, the housing market imploding and a recession looming, there are questions about Bush's economic legacy.

T V Jul 15 - Israeli-Hezbollah prisoner swap

Jul 15 - Feelings run high as Israel and Hezbollah agree to exchange detainees.

Israel is handing over five Lebanese prisoners including a man jailed for life for the murder of a police officer.

In exchange Hezbollah is due to hand over two reserve soldiers, now feared dead, whose capture triggered the 34-day war with the Iranian-backed group two years ago.

T V Jul-16- Hezbollah return bodies to Israel

Jul 16 - Hezbollah return two coffins to Israel saying that they contain the bodies of two Israeli soldiers captured two years ago.

The return of the bodies is part of an exchange deal between Hezbollah and Israel.

Lebanon is declaring the day of the exchange as a public holiday, but Israel mourned the dead soldiers, whose fate had been unknown, describing the event as a painful necessity.

The coffins were given to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) at the Lebanon-Israel border and then taken into Israel.

In return for the bodies of the two army reservists, Israel will release five Lebanese prisoners.

The deal is being mediated by a U.N intelligence officer, with the ICRC carrying out DNA tests on the bodies to confirm their identities.

The soldiers' capture in a cross-border raid in 2006 sparked a 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

T V Jul 15- Tropical Storm Bertha hits Bermuda

Jul 14 - Heavy rains and wind hit the shores of Bermuda as Tropical Storm Bertha makes its way across the island.

Although spared the brunt of the storm, islanders were seeing wind gusts above 50 mph.

T V Jul 14 -Bush lifts offshore drilling ban

Jul. 14 - In a mainly symbolic move, President Bush said he was lifting an executive order that had banned oil drilling in the nation's Outer Continental Shelf.

The Democratically controlled US Congress has its own ban on offshore drilling. It's set to expire September 30, but could be renewed.

T V Jul 15- Reuters Quickcut: F-22 Raptor

Jul 14 - Lockheed Martin Corp's F-22 Raptor fighter puts on a spectacular display at the world's largest airshow in Farnborough, England.

The Raptor is widely considered the most advanced fighter jet ever, capable of ground attack, electronic warfare and intelligence gathering. Unlike most fighter aircraft, no weapons are carried externally on the Raptor, making it harder to detect on radar screens.

According to the U.S. Air Force, each F-22 is worth $142 million (USD).

The 15-minute display of dips, dives and pirouettes was a highlight of the opening day at Farnborough.

T V Jul 15-Obama anger over satirical cartoon

Jul 15 - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has failed to see the funny side of a magazine cartoon poking fun at smears directed at him.

The cover of this week's New Yorker magazine portrays the Illinois senator in a fez and robe bumping fists with wife Michelle, who sports an Afro, a rifle and military garb.

The Obama campaign, which has taken aggressive measures to knock down these perceptions, is not amused and says most readers would consider it tasteless and offensive.

Monday, July 14, 2008

T V Jul 14- World leaders attend Bastille Day

Jul 14 - A day after the launch of the Mediterranean Union, world leaders were invited by President Nicolas Sarkozy to attend celebrations to mark France's 14th July Bastille Day.

Alongside more than thirty foreign national leaders was Sarkozy's wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy who joined the leaders' spouses to witness the colourful military displays.

The annual Bastille Day celebrations in France on 14th July mark the day in 1789 when the Bastille, the state prison in Paris, was stormed by the citizens of Paris and burned to the ground at the start of the French Revolution.

T V 14- Tokyo-Seoul island storm heats up

Jul 14 - South Korea says it's recalling its ambassador to Japan in an escalating dispute over a group of rocky islets.

The long-running dispute took a new twist when Tokyo said it would refer to the desolate volcanic islets as Japanese territory in teachers' guides for middle school children, outraging South Korea which also lays claim to them.

T V 14- TalkOfTheTown - Twins for Brangelina

Jul 14 - The latest celebrity news including the birth of twins for Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, the weekend box office and "The Who" rock out

T V Jul 14- Record cocaine haul in Sierra Leone

Jul 14 - Sierra Leone made its biggest seizure of cocaine at the weekend when it seized 700 kg (1,545 lbs) of the drug on a plane which landed at Lungi international airport

Impoverished West Africa, with its unguarded coastline and sparsely populated interior, has become an important trafficking route for Latin American drug runners into lucrative European markets.

T V Jul 14-France honours Betancourt

Jul. 14 - Former hostage, Ingrid Betanourt, has recieved France's highest award, the Legion d'Honneur.

President Nicolas Sarkozy presented Betancourt with the Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in the gardens of the Elysee Palace, pinning the medal to her dress in a ceremony shown live on French television. The 46-year-old French-Colombian politician was rescued along with 14 other hostages earlier this month by the Colombian military after more than six years at the hands of the FARC Marxist rebels.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

1-T V -Jul 12-China floods' death toll rises

Jul 12 - Authorities in China say hundreds have died from perennial floods.

This year's flooding has also seriously damaged crops and forced tens of millions to evacuate.

It's estimated that the floods have caused over 7 billion dollars worth of economic losses so far.

Friday, July 11, 2008

T V Jul 11-Heatwave fans California wildfires

Jul 11 - Fire crews are struggling to contain hundreds of wildfires that are burning out of control across northern California.

Most of the fires were ignited by lightning storms three weeks ago. Record temperatures have compounded the tinderbox conditions.

Thousands of residents from small rural towns and communities have been evacuated ahead of advancing walls of flame.

T V Jul 11-Clashes at Tibet rally in Nepal

Jul 11 - Tibetan refugees in Nepal have clashed with police following pro-Tibet independence demonstrations in Kathmandu.

More than 20,000 Tibetans live in Nepal since fleeing their homeland after a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule. Nepal considers Tibet part of China, a key aid donor, and does not allow anti-China activities. However, exiles have been staging regular protests since the Chinese crackdown in Tibet in March.
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Jul 11 - T V A question of troop levels

Jul. 11 - Debate about US troop levels in Iraq continues as Iraqi forces control more ground.

Iraqi forces now control nine of the country's 18 provinces. The United States has about 146,000 troops in Iraq

Thursday, July 10, 2008

T V G8, nations eye economy, climate

Jul 9 - The G8 summit in Japan concluded Wednesday, with developed and developing nations looking to boost growth and reign in greenhouse gases.

The world's biggest polluters agreed on Wednesday (9 July, 2008) on the need for "deep cuts" in greenhouse gas emissions, but differences between developing and emerging economies kept them from setting specific targets.

T V U.S. beef tasting demo

Jul 9 - South Koreans hold a U.S. beef tasting lunch to demonstrate the meat's safety.

South Korean business and medical groups held the beef banquet to prove the meat's safety, after it returned to store shelves this week.

Meanwhile anti-U.S. beef rally leaders held a peaceful protest.

T V Iran in missile test launch

Jul 9 - State media reports test firing of nine weapons including one capable of reaching Israel and U.S. military bases.

The tests come at a time of increased tension between Iran and Israel over Tehran's disputed nuclear programme, which the West fears is aimed at making nuclear weapons but Iran says is for civilian nuclear power.

TV Rival gunmen clash in Lebanon

Jul 9 - Clashes between rival groups of Sunni and Alawite Muslim gunmen flare up again in the Lebanese city of Tripoli.

At least two people died in renewed sectarian clashes overnight (8 -9 July, 2008) and 41 people were wounded.

The fighting began after grenades were fired at a street separating the Sunni Bab Tibbaneh district and Alawite Jabal Mohsen district, scenes of deadly clashes last month.

T V Istanbul gun battle at U.S.consulate

Jul 9 - Three policemen and three gunmen are killed in an armed attack on the United States consulate in Istanbul

Governor Muammer Guler said one of the police officers died at the scene in a gunbattle lasting several minutes, at a time of day when many Turks go there to apply for visas.

Two had died of their wounds at a nearby hospital. Two other people were also injured.

US still wants diplomacy with Iran

Jul 9 - After Iran fires missile test, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the Bush Administration is seeking a diplomatic solution in Tehran.

In Bulgaria, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the Iranian test underscores the need for the US to adopt a missile defense system.

Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

T V Iran in missile test launch

Jul 9 - State media reports test firing of nine weapons including one capable of reaching Israel and U.S. military bases.

The tests come at a time of increased tension between Iran and Israel over Tehran's disputed nuclear programme, which the West fears is aimed at making nuclear weapons but Iran says is for civilian nuclear power.

T V Rice: Iran test shows threat

Jul. 9 - US Secretary of State Rice says Iran's missile test shows that the Iranian threat is not "imaginary".

In Washington, Administration officials downplayed the test. U.S. Under Secretary of State for political affairs William Burns said, Iran's real "nuclear progress has been less than the sum of its boasts."

T V President Bush on FISA passage

Jul 9 - President Bush praised the passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) legislation by the U.S. Congress.

Delivering a statement in the White House Rose Garden, the President said, "This vital intelligence bill will allow our national security professionals to quickly and effectively monitor the plans of terrorists outside the United States while respecting the liberties of the American people."

T V New bids for US tankers

Jul. 9 - The Defense Department said it's reopening bids for a $35 billion contract for aerial refueling tankers.

The move comes one month after a Congressional watchdog upheld Boeing's protest that Northrop Grumman and Europe's EADS had unfairly been awarded the contract

T V Lava flow threatens homes

Jul 10 - Hawaii's Kilauea volcano is once again demonstrating its awesome power.

Red hot lava is pouring out of the volcano and speeding toward the ocean. Scientists say the lava is moving to the east and is threatening the few remaining homes in the royal gardens subdivision where 66 homes and building have been lost.

T VRice: "Iran is in violation"

Jul 10 - U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said Iran should have no doubt about the United States' commitment to defend its allies from possible attack.

Speaking in Tbilisi, Georgia U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the United States will defend its allies against Iranian aggression.

The response comes as Iranian state media said Tehran tested more missiles in the Gulf.Iran test fired nine missiles on Wednesday (July 9), which it said could hit Israeli and U.S. bases, and rebuffed Washington's call to halt further missile tests by later announcing night-time manoeuvres.
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Iran tests more missiles as U.S. vows to defend allies

China urged restraint in the row over Iran's nuclear plans, but did not echo Western rebukes over the missile firings.

"We express our concern about these developments," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said of the tests.

He welcomed the prospect of fresh talks on the nuclear program being pursued by Iran, the world's fourth largest oil producer and China's third biggest crude supplier.

The United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China have offered Iran incentives to curb its nuclear work. Tehran rejects their demand that it suspend uranium enrichment.

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, acting for the six powers, is expected to meet Iranian officials for talks on the package, but no time or place has been announced.

China and Russia, which is building Iran's first, and so far only, nuclear power plant, have been resisting U.S.-led calls for expanding U.N. sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Sanctions have made Western firms increasingly wary about investing. France's Total said on Thursday it would not invest for now in a big gas deal due to the political risk.

Iran has brushed off the impact of Western caution saying it has a big enough cash pile from windfall oil earnings to carry out the project itself or find other interested parties.

"This is our message. We will proceed with development with or without them," Iranian Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari told journalists when asked about the latest comments from Total.

Iran tests more missiles as U.S. vows to defend allies

Rice said a planned U.S. missile defense shield, to be partly based in the Czech Republic and Poland, would dampen any threat of an attack from Iran. Russia opposes the project.

"We also are able to look to the future of a missile defense system that will make it more difficult for Iran to threaten (and) and be bellicose and say terrible things because their missiles won't work," Rice said.

Iranian state TV and radio said the Revolutionary Guards -- the ideologically driven wing of Iran's armed forces -- had fired ground-to-sea, surface-to-surface and sea-to-air missiles overnight. Long-range missiles were also launched.

CHINA URGES RESTRAINT

"The ... maneuver brings power to the Islamic Republic of Iran and is a lesson for enemies," Guards Commander-in-Chief Mohammad Ali Jafari was quoted as saying.

Iran has threatened to shut the Strait of Hormuz, a vital route for Gulf oil exports, if it is attacked. Thursday's exercises involved divers and speedboats, as well as the launch of a high-speed torpedo called Hout, state media said.

Commenting on Iran's Gulf maneuvers, Kuwait said it hoped wisdom would prevail on all sides. "The region has had enough of continuous wars," Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Khaled Jarallah was quoted by state news agency KUNA as saying.

On Iranian threats to close the Strait of Hormuz, he said: "We hope it does not come to this."

The missile tests rattled global oil markets, pushing up the price of oil. Crude prices have dipped in recent days but have hit a series of record highs this year partly on Iran tensions.

Iran tests more missiles as U.S. vows to defend allies TV

Thu Jul 10, 2008 2:10pm EDT . - Iran tested more missiles in the Gulf on Thursday, state media said, and the United States reminded Tehran that it was ready to defend its allies.

Washington, which accuses Tehran of seeking nuclear arms, said after Iran test-fired nine missiles on Wednesday there should be no more such tests if Iran wanted the world's trust.

U.S. leaders have not ruled out military options if diplomacy fails to assuage fears about Iran's nuclear program, which Tehran says is only to produce electricity.

Israel, long assumed to have its own atomic arsenal, has sworn to prevent Iran from emerging as a nuclear-armed power. Last month it staged an air force exercise that stoked speculation about a possible assault on Iranian nuclear sites.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Thursday he favored the use of diplomatic pressure and sanctions, but added: "Israel is the strongest country in the region and has proved in the past it is not afraid to take action when its vital security interests are at stake."

Iran has vowed to strike back at Tel Aviv, as well as U.S. interests and shipping, if it is attacked, asserting that missiles fired during war games under way in the Gulf included ones that could hit Israel and U.S. bases in the region.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on a visit to the former Soviet republic of Georgia that no one should be confused about Washington's commitment to protect its allies.

"We are also sending a message to Iran that we will defend American interests and ... the interests of our allies," she said after meeting Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

TVFormer officials on war powers act

Jul 8 - A panel led by former Secretaries of State say the 1973 War Power Resolution is ineffective and that a new law should force the U.S. president to consult with Congress before going to war.

The commission led by former Secretaries of State James Baker, a Republican, and Warren Christopher, a Democrat, aimed to clarify the cloudy division between the White House and the U.S. Congress over the power to conduct war.

T V Iran tests 9 missiles

Jul 9 - Nine long and medium-range missiles have been tested by Iran, including one which it has previously said could travel as far as Israel and U.S. bases in the region.

The tests occurred at a time of increased tension between Iran and Israel over Tehran's disputed nuclear programme, which the West fears is aimed at making bombs. Iran says its nuclear programme is only for power generation.

State Press TV said the missiles tested by Iran's Revolutionary Guards included the 'Shahab 3' missile, which officials have said could reach targets 2,000 km (1,250 miles) away.

In response, a U.S. White House spokesman said Iran should "refrain from further missile tests if they truly seek to gain the trust of the world"

Iran tests missiles amid tension with U.S., Israel

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France said Iran's response had ignored the world powers' demand that it suspend enrichment.

The U.S. dollar weakened on Wednesday and U.S. treasuries trimmed their losses over news of the missile tests.

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