Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Bible

Somalia: Islamists Lost All Central And Bia Provinces in Somalia

Somalia's Islamic Courts Union have deserted several strategic towns in central and southern parts of the country. Islamists in Mogadishu said they retreated from Bur Hakaba, Dinsor and Daynunay near the government base of Baidoa to change military tactics.

Ethiopian troops, accompanied by government forces, occupied all strategic towns: Galkayo, Bandiradley, Adado, Buloburte and Baledweyn lying in central Somalia. Apparently, Islamists have also admitted they lost Bai provincial towns and tiny villages near the main town of Baidoa to Ethiopian backed government troops.

Witnesses say Hundreds of Ethiopian troops along with their tanks have taken up Adado in Galgadud region, central Somalia.

No Ethiopian air bombardments have been reported on Tuesday.

Sheik Ibrahim Suley, Islamic Courts spokesman, said the ICU fighters have left Bur Hakaba, stating the Ethiopian invaders would regret. "The Ethiopians have attacked our country and they will lose," he said.

Residential militias in Abudwaq have taken control of the town on Monday evening after Islamist fighters left the town in fear of Ethiopian military attacks.

Islamic Courts Union seized the capital Mogadishu in early June this year after forcefully evicting US-backed warlords from Mogadishu and then expanded their military might into swathe of central and southern parts of Somalia, threatening they would also capture the only town under the government control.

Reliable sources in Kalkayo indicate that at least 50 Islamists were brought to the town of Kalkayo and slain by the Ethiopian forces that seized the town from the ICU fighters. Local ordinary and business people have organized mass burial for the dead.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Freedom River

Concentrating on an area of growing concern in our society--the indifference that makes people blind to the injustices around them--this animated parable traces how the erosion of freedom, like the pollution of natural resources, can occur so gradually that both evade the attention of a busy and preoccupied nation. (Narrated by Orson Welles)

Gates Plans Report to Bush on Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq Dec 22, 2006 (AP)— Defense Secretary Robert Gates rushed back to Washington Friday to give President Bush his advice on transforming U.S. policy in Iraq after holding three days of talks in the war zone with military and political leaders.

Gates was scheduled to see Bush at Camp David first thing Saturday morning, said Dana Perino, a White House spokeswoman. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, national security adviser Stephen Hadley and deputy national security adviser J.D. Crouch, who has been coordinating Bush's review of Iraq policy, were also to attend the discussions at the Maryland mountain retreat where Bush was spending Christmas.

As the president weighs a course correction in the increasingly unpopular war, the White House also announced that Bush would convene a meeting of his full National Security Council next Thursday while spending a few days at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. That session was not designed to arrive at final decisions, but to continue to whittle down the options, Perino said.

Originally aiming to unveil his new Iraq policy before Christmas, Bush has put it off until January. Perino said the announcement would come before his scheduled Jan. 23 State of the Union address, but gave no specific date.

Before leaving Baghdad, Gates declined to say whether he plans to recommend a short-term increase in U.S. troop levels. But he said he believes the U.S. and Iraqis have "a broad strategic agreement between the Iraqi military and Iraqi government and our military."

"There is still some work to be done," Gates said. "But I do expect to give a report to the president on what I've learned and my perceptions."

Speaking to reporters at Camp Victory, with the sounds of artillery fire and jet aircraft in the background, Gates said that "clearly there are more discussions that need to take place in Washington and more specific recommendations."

He said Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, was continuing to work with Iraqi officials, with more details expected in the days ahead.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Second Palestinian Truce Fails Amid Ongoing Bloodshed

Ryan R. Jones - All Headline News Middle East Correspondent

Jerusalem (AHN) - For the second time this week, warring Palestinian factions reached a fragile ceasefire in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, and for the second time the truce collapsed almost immediately amid ongoing bloodshed.

The ruling Hamas organization and the Fatah faction of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas have been battling each other in bloody street confrontations throughout Gaza and the West Bank since Abbas declared at the weekend his intention to hold early elections.

Masked Hamas gunmen shot dead two Fatah police officers and wounded six others in an ambush in Gaza City early Wednesday morning, just hours after the two sides had reportedly signed on to an Egyptian-brokered deal to pull back their forces and end the fighting.

While Fatah officials insisted they remained committed to the truce, The Jerusalem Post reported that calls for revenge at the policemen's joint funeral gave the impression that the next round of full-scale violence was just around the corner.

Intermittent fighting had continued throughout the night in Gaza, despite the reported ceasefire.

Tuesday was the bloodiest day of fighting yet between Fatah and Hamas, leaving six people dead and many more wounded.

At least 15 people have been killed since Saturday.

A good way to avoid car accidents (Speedbandits)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Cyborg Insects

Insect Lab is an artist studio that specializes in customizing real insects with antique watch parts and electronic components. This is true science fiction come to life. Every single creation is startling. It's masterfully crafted and beautiful.

Each insect comes in a shadow box or glass bell jars perfect for displaying. They've got spiders, butterflies, beetles, bees and more ranging from $200 - $300.

Monday, December 18, 2006


Ambition and anger will disappear when you stop concerning yourself with the fruit of your actions. -

Abbas insists will hold elections

By Wafa Amr and Katherine Baldwin

RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas vowed on Monday to press on with early elections as a truce between his security forces and the Hamas government threatened to unravel in the Gaza Strip.

Gunmen killed an activist from Abbas's Fatah faction and wounded eight others in north Gaza, Fatah sources and a hospital official said. Fatah blamed the attack in the Jabalya refugee camp on Hamas. The Islamists were not available to comment.

Separate gun battles erupted after Hamas and Fatah traded blame over the abduction of at least three gunmen.

Prime Minister Tony Blair, speaking after meeting Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah, said the international community should try to put together in the coming weeks a package of assistance to help the moderate leader.

Internal fighting, already at its worst level in a decade, escalated after Abbas called on Saturday for fresh elections, a move intended to break a political deadlock with Hamas and get Western sanctions on their government lifted.

A truce deal was struck late on Sunday but already looks as though it could collapse.

"As I told you in my speech, I am determined to go back to the people," Abbas said in a joint news conference with Blair.

"We have been in a crisis for nine months. People cannot wait for long. People are suffering from the economic, social and security situation."

Abbas insisted his Fatah movement was still open to the formation of a unity government of technocrats.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas reiterated his movement's opposition to fresh elections. Hamas surprised the once-dominant Fatah to win polls in January.

Haniyeh also urged Abbas to withdraw his forces from Gaza's streets, saying their deployment was threatening the truce.

Abbas's presidential guard overran two Hamas-led ministries on Sunday and have also taken up positions around Abbas's compound and residence in Gaza.