-MID-WEEK REVIEW: News from Canada to the UAE

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING

The mid-week review of news for November 24, 2010.

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One hundred famous Norwegians call for cultural and academic boycott of Israel.

EJP reports-One hundred famous Norwegians, led by the country’s national football coach, have signed a petition demanding a cultural and academic boycott of Israel, accusing its educational institutions of “playing a key role in the occupation” and equating it with apartheid. A Norwegian ex-premier denounced their boycott call. Egil Drillo Olsen, coach for the national Norwegian football team, recently wrote in Aftenposten ,the country’s second largest paper, that the call to boycott Israel was “in line with what 90 percent of the world’s population believes. There cannot be many other opinions.” The petition is the last item in a string of similar and high-profile initiatives to have taken place in Norway over the past two years. It was signed by coach Olsen and 99 other public figures from the arts and culture, who stated that a boycott is “necessary” not only to help Palestinians, but also to “support Israelis opposing the occupation.” Norwegian former Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik called the boycott call “unhelpful” and “not representative” of the current government’s policy.

Hezbollah accuses Israel of infiltrating its mobile network.

AFP – Israel bugged the mobile phones of members of Lebanon’s Hezbollah, allowing it to send false text messages and to track the phones’ movements, a senior Hezbollah MP and a government expert said on Tuesday. “The enemy (Israel) has succeeded in planting secret lines … in the mobile phones of some members of the resistance,” Hezbollah MP Hassan Fadlallah said in reference to his Shiite party at a press conference with Telecommunications Minister Charbel Nahhas.

“After a lengthy, complex investigation … it was revealed that three resistance members were using local mobile phones which had been deliberately sold to them after being implanted with secret Israeli lines” by a Lebanese spying for Israel, he said. Fadlallah, chairman of parliament’s media and telecommunications committee, said the Shiite movement had cracked the case in coordination with military intelligence after police zeroed in on the three Hezbollah members as possible Israeli agents. It turned that the three suspected agents were in fact the victims of the Israeli bugging, Fadlallah said.

Hariri prosecutor criticizes Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports: The chief prosecutor for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which is examining the 2005 death of Lebanon’s former prime minister Rafik Hariri, said Tuesday he was “extremely disappointed” by a CBC story linking militant group Hezbollah to the murder. Canadian Daniel Bellemare said the story came as the prosecution is “working flat out” to prepare a draft indictment to be submitted to a judge in the near future. Bellemare said in a statement that he would not comment on the investigation, adding that preserving confidentiality is important for it to succeed. “The most serious impact of the CBC reports is that their broadcast may put people’s lives in jeopardy,” said Bellemare. Bellemare also said it “will be for the judges, and the judges alone, to assess the evidence and reach conclusions based on the facts as established at trial, and the law.” The CBC investigation, which relied on interviews with multiple sources within a UN inquiry into the killing of Hariri, along with some of the inquiry’s own records, found examples of timidity, bureaucratic inertia, and incompetence bordering on gross negligence in the UN probe.

Assembly Pushes to Oust Iran President.*

The Wall Street Journal – Iran’s parliament revealed it planned to impeach President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad but refrained under orders from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, exposing a deepening division within the regime. Lawmakers also launched a new petition to bring a debate on the president’s impeachment, conservative newspapers reported Monday. The reports of challenges to Mr. Ahmadinejad were intended as retorts to a powerful body of clerics that urged Mr. Khamenei to curb the parliament’s authority and give greater clout to the president. In a report released Sunday and discussed in parliament Monday, four prominent lawmakers laid out the most extensive public criticism of Mr. Ahmadinejad to date. They accused him and his government of 14 counts of violating the law, often by acting without the approval of the legislature. Charges include illegally importing gasoline and oil, failing to provide budgetary transparency and withdrawing millions of dollars from Iran’s foreign reserve fund without getting parliament’s approval. Some of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s alleged violations included withdrawing $590 million from the Central Bank’s foreign reserve fund, trading 76.5 million barrels of crude oil in exchange for importing gasoline in 2008, and illegal imports of gasoline, oil and natural gas since 2007 at a value of about $9 billion. * [see jewishinfoNews report of November 17]

IAEA chief accuses Syria of failing to cooperate with inspectors.

Kuwait News Agency reports: — Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano said Tuesday Syria should speed up cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog to iron out all outstanding issues related to Dier Al-Zoor site,  [Al-Kibar reactor site] which was destroyed by Israeli in 2007 on pretext of being a clandestine nuclear facility. Amano, in a new five-page report distributed on member states, said Syria failed to cooperate with IAEA since June 2008 thus unable to achieve any progress in solving thorny issues related to Deir Al-Zoor site and other three facilities linked to the site. He urged Damascus of providing all information about particles of uranium that were found by IAEA inspectors in Mansar facility in Damascus. Amano called on the Syrian government to ratify the additional protocol and facilitate the mission of inspectors to assure that the nuclear program was peaceful.

Galloway, Corbyn rapped for Press TV Israel programme.

The Jewish Chronicle (UK) reports: Ofcom [The independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries] has ruled that George Galloway [seen on the left with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal] repeatedly breached broadcasting standards on impartiality during a series of Press TV programmes on which he described Israel as “a terrorist gangster state” and a “miscreant, law breaking rogue, war launching, occupying state.” The media watchdog also found that Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn did not show due impartiality when he appeared on the Iranian-backed channel as a guest on Mr Galloway’s weekly Comment show.

An initial complaint against the former Respect MP and pro-Palestinian campaigner was made last February following a segment on the death of a Hamas operative in a Dubai hotel. An Ofcom investigation found that the piece was in breach of standards for “inequitably representing alternative viewpoints”. The regulator also found examples of breaches of impartiality in other episodes of Comment in May and June 2010, involving comments “which could be interpreted as being pro-Palestinian and highly critical of the actions of the Israeli government and its military forces.” In one instance Mr Galloway referred to Israel as a lunatic state. He also said: “If I was running Iran I would build a bomb because Israel is aiming hundreds of nuclear weapons at me.” [This past August, the head of Gaza’s Hamas government Khaled Meshaal,  named his newest grandson after the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.]

British bishop hires extreme-right lawyer in Germany.

AFP—A British bishop appealing his conviction in Germany for Holocaust denial will be represented by a lawyer with reported links to banned neo-Nazi groups, the court said on Monday. Richard Williamson’s appeal, scheduled to take place on November 29, will now not be heard until February or March as a result of the change, a spokesman for the court in Regensburg, southern Germany, told AFP Williamson has hired Wolfram Nahrath, [seen on the left] one of the best-known lawyers on the extreme-right scene with close links to several groups banned by the government, according to media reports. Williamson, 70, was found guilty of inciting racial hatred in April and fined 10,000 euros (13,600 dollars), reduced from an earlier fine of 12,000 euros he had refused to pay.

Hard-line Muslims oppose pardon for Pakistani Christian Woman.

From WRN – Around 250 hard-line Muslims staged a demonstration in the central Pakistani city of Lahore on Wednesday, warning the president not to pardon a Christian woman sentenced to death for insulting Islam. They also denounced any attempt to change Pakistan’s blasphemy law, which critics say is often misused to persecute Christians like Asia Bibi [seen here on the left] and other minorities. Her case has prompted outrage from human rights groups and a personal appeal from Pope Benedict XVI for her release…”We are ready to sacrifice our life for the Prophet Muhammad,” chanted protesters in Lahore – many of whom were students from Islamic seminaries in the city… Bibi, a 45-year-old mother of five, has said she was falsely accused by a group of Muslim women angry at a dispute over whether they could share the same water bowl. She has been jailed in the eastern province of Punjab since her initial arrest 1 1/2 years ago. A court sentenced her Nov. 8 to hang after convicting her of insulting the prophet. It is the first time a woman has been condemned to death under Pakistan’s blasphemy law, often criticized as being abused to inflame religious extremism and settle personal grudges.

Turkey vows to prevent war in Lebanon.

Gulf News:  Turkey will do everything in its power to prevent war in Lebanon, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an interview to the Al Safir newspaper on Wednesday.  Erdogan, who is hugely popular in the Arab world, visited Beirut on Wednesday in an effort to defuse the rising tension over the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s reported plans to indict some Hezbollah members over the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. “Today, we stand by Lebanon as we always have,” Erdogan said, adding that he did not wish to see the country descend into civil war again. “This tribunal is aimed at destabilising Lebanon rather than rendering justice,” Lebanese Druze leader Walid Junblatt said. “It would be appropriate at this time for the cabinet to meet and unanimously denounce the tribunal and its [upcoming] verdict.” Pressure has been piling on Lebanon’s government to reject the tribunal and its findings and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has threatened to “cut the hand” of anyone who tries to arrest its members.

And finally:

Who do you think was behind the assassination of Lebanon’s Rafik Harir?

Well,  a recent poll of 1,337 on-line readers conducted by Gulf News (UAE) stated:

-Hezbollah:  16%

-Israel:  47%

-Syria:  10%

-Iran:  5%

-Everyone had a hand in it:  22%

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(Photo credits: Norway- pollsb.com;  Hezbollah- waronline.com;  Ahmadinejad – UN;  IAEA – israelmatzav.blogspot.com;  Galloway-  AP;  Wolfram Nahrath – freeweb.dnet.it; Pakistani Christians-  International Christian Concern; Turkey – daylife.com)

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