US soldiers ‘killed Afghan civilians for sport and collected fingers as trophies
Soldiers face charges over secret ‘kill team’ which allegedly murdered at random and collected fingers as trophies of war
Chris McGreal in Washington
The Guardian, Thursday 9 September 2010
Twelve American soldiers face charges over a secret “kill team” that allegedly blew up and shot Afghan civilians at random and collected their fingers as trophies.
Five of the soldiers are charged with murdering three Afghan men who were allegedly killed for sport in separate attacks this year. Seven others are accused of covering up the killings and assaulting a recruit who exposed the murders when he reported other abuses, including members of the unit smoking hashish stolen from civilians.
Spiral galaxy like our own shines with pink clouds
As a relatively nearby galaxy that is quite prominent in the southern skies, NGC 300 actually can be seen with regular binoculars
By Denise Chow
The wispy arms of a spiral galaxy similar to our own Milky Way can be seen in striking detail in a new image from the European Southern Observatory.
NGC 300, located in the Sculptor Group of galaxies about 6 million light-years from Earth, was photographed by the Wide Field Imager (WFI) at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile.
The many energetic star-forming regions along NGC 300’s spiral arms are visible in the picture as red and pink clouds.
We will burn hundreds of copies of the Koran, insists Florida church
Pastor Terry Jones is sticking to his plan to send an incendiary anti-Islam message – unless God gives orders to the contrary
By David Usborne in Gainesville, Florida Thursday, 9 September 2010
A pile of as many as 200 copies of the Koran will be burnt on a patch of lawn outside a small Christian church here on Saturday on the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in spite of calls to desist yesterday from the White House and the Vatican, one of its pastors told The Independent last night.
“We are pretty much set on it right now,” insisted Dave Ingram, an associate pastor at the Dove Outreach Centre in Gainesville, which plans to stage what it is calling its “International Burn-A-Koran Day”. He and the senior pastor at the church, Terry Jones, did not rule out suspending the event if called to do so “by God”.
Political controversy over Islam surrounds 9/11 anniversary
By Dan Balz and Jon Cohen
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, September 9, 2010; 12:02 AM
For almost a decade, the annual commemoration of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has been seen as a day of national unity and sober remembrance. This year, contentious issues of religious freedom and national identity threaten to color the ninth anniversary of those tragic events.
Controversies over calls to burn the Koran and an ongoing debate over a proposed mosque and Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero in New York are drawing particular attention as the anniversary nears, sparking questions about how 9/11 became so politicized.
Turkish rafting guides still risking lives, says father of drowned schoolgirl
Despite death of nine-year-old Cerys Potter in July, rafts on Dalaman river still taking perilous risks, investigation reveals
Paul Lewis in Fethiye
The Guardian, Thursday 9 September 2010
Hundreds of British tourists are risking their lives on a perilous stretch of river in Turkey where white-water rafts are being overloaded with passengers and intentionally capsized.
An investigation into rafting on the Dalaman river has revealed the risks involved when boats are flipped on rocks so that dramatic footage of rafters scrambling around the capsized boats can be sold to passengers on £40 DVDs.
Spanish arson suspect is former forest ranger
The Irish Times – Thursday, September 9, 2010
JANE WALKER in Madrid
SPANISH POLICE are questioning a former forest ranger they believe is responsible for starting three separate fires that have swept through the Valencia region of southwest Spain. Others are burning in the nearby areas of Murcia and Alicante.
Serafin Castellano, head of security of Murcia region, said he believed that at least one of the fires in his region was also a case of arson. It is always considered suspicious when fires break out simultaneously on several fronts.
Robert Fisk: The lie behind mass ‘suicides’ of Egypt’s young women
Part three of our series demolishes the official claim that Egypt, where a farmer decapitated his own daughter, has no ‘honour’ killings
Thursday, 9 September 2010
There’s a sewer outside Azza Suleiman’s office, a hot ditch in which the filth of one of Cairo’s worst slums has been reduced to a slowly moving swamp of black liquid. A blue mist of exhaust fumes and dust moves down alleyways thick with scarved women, men in white robes, coffee sellers, donkey carts and garbage boys, the five- and six-year-olds who come down from the Mokkatam hills to gather up Cairo’s garbage every morning. Some of it feeds their goats and – yes – the pigs bred in the rotting suburbs. A veil of smog lies over this misery. But a veil of a different kind lies over Egypt, a covering which Azza Suleiman is determined to tear away.
U.S. Says Killings Won’t Affect Iraq Mission
By STEVEN LEE MYERS
BAGHDAD – The killing of two American soldiers by an Iraqi soldier at a military base north of Baghdad was a “deliberate act” but would not undermine the new American mission to advise Iraq’s security forces, the American military said in a statement on Wednesday.
The deaths – the first American casualties here since President Obama declared the official end to American combat in Iraq last week – appeared to have stemmed from an argument that escalated into gunfire, according to Iraqi officials and a relative of the Iraqi soldier involved.
Pakistan stares into a void
By Syed Saleem Shahzad
NOWSHERA, Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa province – The coalition government of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, the brainchild of the United States for an anti-Taliban political force that could effectively fight and support the American war in South Asia, has proved itself incompetent in the face of the country’s unfolding flood disaster.
Devastating floods over the past month have affected more than 20 million people and laid waste a fifth of the country’s land mass. The real fear now is that in the much-anticipated anarchy in the coming weeks, a fiercely anti-American Islamic revolution could break out if correct and timely steps are not taken as the waters recede and lay bare ruined lives
Andal jr massacre executor
First witness for prosecution bares premeditation
Father and son had it all planned out.
Thursday, 09 September 2010
A witness to the planning of what turned out to be last year’s massacre of 57 civilians, including 31 journalists, on Wednesday told a court that the
patriarch of a politically powerful clan in southern Mindanao and his youngest son had covered the bases weeks before the actual mass murder.
At the start of the trial of the wholesale killing, though, it was Andal Ampatuan Jr. who stood as the prime suspect in the Philippines’ worst politically motivated slaughter.
Ampatuan Jr, a former mayor of a town in Maguindanao province in his 40s and heir apparent to one of the most powerful Muslim political clans in the South, faces life in prison if convicted of the November 23, 2009 murders that shocked the world.
Fear of fresh violence in Nigeria
Prison break by armed rebel group Boko Haram raises new fears of violence as security is tightened in country’s north.
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2010 02:54 GMT
A prison break by an armed group known as Boko Haram has raised fears of renewed violence in northern Nigeria just months before elections.
The group staged a raid on the prison on Tuesday night in the town of Bauchi, freeing more than 100 followers.
The attack left the prison in ruins and showed the group, which is seeking to institute sharia [Islamic law] in the country, had access to the sophisticated weapons it needed to overpower prison guards.
Nigeria’s interior minister said on Wednesday the rebels had “overwhelming firepower” and guards were unable to stop them.
Fidel Castro: Cuban model no longer works
Atlantic Monthly interviews touch on Iran, nuclear weapons, dolphins
By Jeff Franks
HAVANA – Fidel Castro said Cuba’s economic model no longer works, a U.S.-based journalist reported on Wednesday following interviews with the former president last week.
Jeffrey Goldberg, a writer for the Atlantic Monthly magazine, wrote in a blog that he asked Castro, 84, if Cuba’s model – Soviet-style communism – was still worth exporting to other countries and he replied, “The Cuban model doesn’t even work for us anymore.”
The comment appeared to reflect Castro’s agreement, which he also expressed in a column for Cuban media in April, with his younger brother President Raul Castro, who has initiated modest reforms to stimulate Cuba’s troubled economy.