International Update, 10/25

File Under: International NewsWire

Welcome to the International Update, a NewsWire service of The Delta Institute. The purpose International News is to inform, but should be taken as a suppliment only, and not as a authoratative source of world news. Instead, we choose one story from each of the major regions of the world, and bring that story to YOU. The stories we pick may not be the “top stories”, but equally interesting or provocative.

Please welcome the new addition to International Update, In Focus. It is an additional story, usually from a different region each time. It’s interesting, “watercooler-appropriate”, and probably doesn’t get the “headline treatment”. But it’s a story TDI thinks you’ll be interested in hearing about none the less.

Fawzi al-Odah is a detainee at the U.S. base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He went on a hunger strike, but the Americans put in a feeding tube to keep him alive. He is now threatening to seek court interjection, to remove his feeding tube so he can be allowed to die. His lawyer says it is “out of desperation” over his imprisonment without charges. However, the lawyers want al-Odah to get the approval of his family and doctors. However, al-Odah’s family does not want the feeding tube removed. There are a total of 26 detainees participating in the hunger strike. Almost all are being force-fed through nasal tubes. The U.S. military says that it considers hunger strikes a form of suicide and will take whatever steps are necessary to prevent any detainee deaths at the prison.

The government of Nigeria announced that it had requested help from the United States to help determine what happened to the Bellview Airlines Boeing 737-200, which went down late Saturday, killing all 117 people onboard. The Aviation Minister isn’t ruling out foul play, but added: “For now, we just believe it’s an accident.” There were signs of disintegration found on the plane. The control tower lost contact with the plane five minutes after takeoff. The pilots issued a distress call before the plane disappeared from the radar. One unverified witness account said that the plane may have exploded before falling to the ground.

Taliban-led militants killed six civilians in a botched ambush attempt on a U.S. troop convoy south of Kabul, Afghanistan. The militants fired rockets, but missed the convoy, killing civilians instead. One of the civilians killed was a child. To the east, attackers gunned down two police officers. Elsewhere in Kabul, a cache of bombs was found in a Kabul junkyard. Afghan officials believe the militatns were planning to use the bombs against international peacekeepers in Kabul. In the past six months, Taliban-led militants have stepped up violence, killing more than 1,400 people.

Nearly 60 whales died in a mass stranding on a remote beach in southern Australia. Officials struggled to save about 10 survivors. There were two groups of long finned pilot whales that beached themselves near Marion Bay in southern Tasmania, according to a park spokeswoman. When officials and volunteers arrived, the majority of the 67 beached whales had already died. Long finned pilot whales are medium-sized whales, reaching up to about 20 feet in length. A group of 70 long finned pilot whales beached themselves in the same location in 1998. Only 10 survived.

In a meeting with Canadian Foreign Minister Pierre Pettigrew, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice said that “apocalyptic language” will not help resolve a trade fight over Canadian lumber, but offered no promise that the U.S. will repay billions in tariffs that Canada claims were collected improperly. When asked if she came to Ottawa with a check for the disputed $3.5 billion, Rice said, “I don’t travel with that kind of money.” Canada’s Prime Minsiter Paul Martin says that he is willing to negotiate a lumber agreement with the U.S. if the government gives Canada the $3.5 billion they claim they’re owed.

The head of Italy’s military secret services, Nicolo Pollari, will be questioned by a parliamentary commission next week over allegations that his organization gave the U.S. and Britain the disputed “uranium yellowcake” documents, suggesting that Saddam Hussein had been seeking uranium in Africa. The Italian government has repeatedly denied reports that they had passed on documents about the Niger affair. The documents were later deemed unreliable by both Britian and the United States.

An unnamed source is telling the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that Mohammed Sidique Khan, the alleged ringleader of the 7/7 bombings, was tracked by intelligence services last year. The report says that he was secretly filmed and recorded speaking to a British-based terror suspect. The investigation suggested that he was in contact with activist from al-Qaeda. The activist was not named, “for legal reasons”. Khan was one of the 4 homicide bombers who rocked London with the simultaneous terrorist attacks in three subways and one double-decker bus. Police have declined to comment on the BBC report.

A Roman Catholic priest was found shot to death in his car with his hands cuffed in Tijuana, Mexico, in what police said appeared to be an organized-crime killing. Tijuana’s Bishop, Rafael Romo, is calling on city residents to unite against those fueling the drug and crime-fueled violence along Mexico’s border. Priest Luis Velasquez, 51, was found in his car, which was near a shopping mall parking lot. He was in the service for more than 20 years, and an expert in church law. The method in which the killing was carried out suggest “at first sight”, according to officials, that he was murdered by organized crime gangs.

You’ve probably heard by now that the U.S. military death toll has reached 2,000 in Iraq. Americans aren’t the only one’s who die in this war, though. In the past six months alone, at least 3,870 enemies were killed, according to an Associate Press count. A military officials says that the figure for the entire war could be 30,000 Iraqis. Other officials suspect a larger number. However, civilians make up more than 2/3’rds of the Iraqis killed. An estimated 1,000 civilians have died in the 30 months of the Iraqi war.

Israel and Jordan marked the 11th anniversary of their historic peace accord today, with Israel hailing Jordan as its “strategic partner” in Middle-East peacemaking. In the 1994 accord, Israel said that Jordan is as an “important element in efforts to attain peice with neighboring states”. Jordan continues to come under pressure for making this accord, making many Arab enemies who are spiteful of the “Zionist enemy”. Jordan became the second Arab state after Egypt to sign a peace treaty with Israel. Jordan views the accord with Israel as an “irreversible strategic choice”. This past month, Jordan’s King Abdullah II met with Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Repair crews are hard at work to restore power to 6 million people across Florida, reopen airports, and to replace countless windows blown out of high-rises during Hurricane Wilma. It may take weeks for Miama, Ft. Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach to return to normal. Damage estimates are ranging up to $10 billion. Peices of roofs, trees, signs, awnings, fences, and billboards are all scattered across the landscape. Some of the wort damage is in downtown Ft. Lauderdale, where Wilma was the strongest Hurricane to hit since 1950. Most buildings were build before the new building codes set in place by Hurricane Andrew.

Ignoring the newspapers and choosing our own headlines, this is the Delta Institute with the International Update for October 25, 2005.

TDI: Bringing the web to your fingertips.
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