Roberto Abraham Scaruffi: March 2010

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Druze leader Walid Jumblatt makes a move to improve relations with former foe Syria.
Google search sites in China suddenly stopped working on Tuesday, and the U.S. Internet giant, after initially taking the blame for the problem, reversed itself and said China was blocking users' searches with its "Great Firewall."
RFE/RL Headlines
RFE/RL Headlines
A daily digest of the English-language news and analysis written by the staff of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty


Russian Authorities Warn of Possible New Attacks Russian Authorities Warn of Possible New Attacks
Authorities in Russia have vowed to track down the organizers of the deadly March 29 metro blasts, saying they have video footage of the alleged bombers and are on the trail of their accomplices. But critics blame the security services for failing to prevent the bombings and say they're skeptical law enforcers can prevent future terrorism, amid warnings of possible new attacks. More
As Regime Turns Up The Heat, Iran's Rafsanjani Abides As Regime Turns Up The Heat, Iran's Rafsanjani Abides
Attacks on the former Iranian president and his family are the latest measure of how deeply Iran's establishment has split over the Green Movement. More
Iran's Opposition Abroad Swells But Lacks Direction Iran's Opposition Abroad Swells But Lacks Direction
Iran's Green Movement and the postelection crisis have revitalized the Iranian opposition abroad. But the new influx of members and ideas -- supporters range from liberal-minded democrats to monarchists to communists -- has also revealed deep divisions about the movement's ideology and tactics. More

Belgian Ban On Full Veil Clears Hurdle Belgian Ban On Full Veil Clears Hurdle
Belgium is the latest European country where Muslim women's use of the full veil has become a political and social issue. More
Serbian Parliament's Srebrenica Apology Hailed, Criticized Serbian Parliament's Srebrenica Apology Hailed, Criticized
The Serbian parliament's condemnation of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre has been welcomed by the European Union and rights activists -- but dismissed by some survivors. More
Twin Bombings Kill 12 In Daghestan Twin Bombings Kill 12 In Daghestan
At least 12 people have been killed by twin bombs in Russia's North Caucasus republic of Daghestan, including a top police official. More
Obama Says He Wants Iran Sanctions 'In Weeks' Obama Says He Wants Iran Sanctions 'In Weeks'
U.S. President Barack Obama said today that he wants to see a tough new round of sanctions against Iran taken up in the UN Security Council 'within weeks.' Speaking at a joint press conference at the White House with French President Nicholas Sarkozy, Obama said he and the French leader are "united" in their determination to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. More
From Our Bureaus

Umarov Purportedly Claims Moscow Blasts In New Video Umarov Purportedly Claims Moscow Blasts In New Video
In a new video, Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov appears to claim responsibility for two suicide bombings on the Moscow metro system that killed at least 39 people. More
Iraqi Blocs Work To Form Coalition Iraqi Blocs Work To Form Coalition
Iraqi politicians say the parties that placed second and third in the March 7 parliamentary elections are in advanced talks on forming a broad ruling coalition. More
Belarusian Journalist 'Loses Citizenship' Belarusian Journalist 'Loses Citizenship'
Independent Belarusian journalist Paval Sharamet says he has been stripped of his Belarusian citizenship. More
Vladivostok Police Detain Demonstrators Vladivostok Police Detain Demonstrators
Police in Russia's far eastern city of Vladivostok have detained at least 20 protesters who were demonstrating for their constitutional rights. More
Baha'is Barred From Leaving Iran Baha'is Barred From Leaving Iran
The Baha'i representative to the United Nations says that 50 Baha'is in southern Iran have been barred from leaving the country. More
Ex-Karabakh Military Leader's Warning Ex-Karabakh Military Leader's Warning
A former military leader of the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh has warned of the growing threat of another Armenian-Azerbaijani war, which he said could break out "at any moment." More
Romania Eases Entry For Some Moldovans Romania Eases Entry For Some Moldovans
Romania today started issuing special travel documents to Moldovans living along its eastern border that allow them to spend up to 90 days in the EU country without applying for a visa, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports. More
Falsely Accused Chechen Paid Falsely Accused Chechen Paid
A Moscow City Court ruled today that the Finance Ministry must pay the equivalent of $4,700 to a man falsely accused of attempting to assassinate Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov. More
Bashkir Extremist Suspect Detained Bashkir Extremist Suspect Detained
Another suspected member of an extremist group was detained in Bashkortostan today, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports. More
HRW: Ban Must Push Rights In C. Asia HRW: Ban Must Push Rights In C. Asia
Rights advocates hope UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will put human rights issues high on the agenda when he arrives on his first trip to Central Asia. More
Azerbaijan Constructing Film Complex Azerbaijan Constructing Film Complex
Azerbaijani officials announced that foreign companies have invested some $5 million in the construction of a major film complex in Baku. More

Feline Friend Goes Mr. Trololo Feline Friend Goes Mr. Trololo
The Mr. Trololo (aka Eduard Khil) meme continues as this cat hits all the right notes. More
Persian Letters

Rapper Detained For ‘Repulsive’ Dance Moves Rapper Detained For ‘Repulsive’ Dance Moves
Iranian media reports that Sasi Mankan, an underground rapper, was arrested over the weekend during a trip to Kish Island in southern Iran, but the rapper himself has denied the news of his arrest. More
Caucasus Report

Daghestan's Laks Plan Protest Meeting Daghestan's Laks Plan Protest Meeting
Representatives of Daghestan's Lak population have formally requested permission from the Makhachkala municipal authorities to stage a meeting in the city on April 3 to protest the dismissal of their co-ethnic, Amuchi Amutinov, who heads the Daghestan branch of the federal Pension Fund. More
Georgia's Armenian Minority Looks Ahead To Local Elections Georgia's Armenian Minority Looks Ahead To Local Elections
The NGO Javakhk, one of several that seek to represent the interests of the prominently Armenian population of the southern Georgian region of Javakheti, has convened a congress in the regional center, Akhalkalaki, on to discuss priorities and demands in the run-up to the Georgian local government elections scheduled for May 30. More
Dez ministros deixam governo para disputar eleições
Em cerimônia, Lula dá posse a substitutos de Dilma e de outros nove ex-integrantes.
» Dilma diz sentir 'alegria triste' na saída
» SP: Serra deve anunciar saída do governo hoje

São Paulo
Carro é furtado, recuperado e acaba destruído em desabamento
Fiorino havia passado por revisão poucos dias antes de ser destruída. Casa da região dos Jardins desmoronou nesta quarta, por volta das 10h
» Duas pessoas tiveram ferimentos leves

Número de mortos após novas explosões na Rússia chega a 12
Explosões ocorreram em Kizlyar, localizada no Norte do Cáucaso. Na última segunda (29), ataque ao metrô de Moscou deixou 39 mortos.
» Minicanguru albino é apresentado em zoológico de Chipre

Planeta Bizarro
Robôs substituem jóqueis em corrida de camelos no Egito
Festival Sharqeya reúne animais na cidade de Belbeis.
» Gato preto ganha status de policial na China
» Mulher coloca silicone e paga conta com cartão de crédito roubado
» Ao vivo, apresentador faz teste de resistência e quebra TV
today's cartoon
From the Cartoonist Group.

MODE HOMME - Le teddy des étudiants américains revient à la mode, évoquant à la fois la fraîcheur des fifties et les années 80 débridées. Blousant comme un sweat-shirt, il affiche la dégaine cool des vêtements de sport. Mais il eut aussi paraître chic lorsqu'il remplace la veste à la ville.


Plus besoin de s'appeler Céline Dion pour organiser un concert chez vous : le domicile est devenu the place to be pour écouter vos artistes préférés ou découvrir de nouveaux talents. Un concept dans l'air du temps qui vous hissera en tête des meilleures soirées de l'année. Enquête.


24 heures photo

24 heures photo

Découvrez les meilleures images du jour, sélectionnées 
par Le Figaro Magazine.

Le filtrage de l'Internet en Australie suscite l'inquiétude

Les Etats-Unis se mobilisent contre un projet de blocage de sites à l'étude en Australie, relayant les craintes de Google. Le ministre australien des Télécommunications riposte en attaquant le moteur de recherche.

Detendrán a policías que falseen datos
Les exigirán una declaración jurada de antecedentes penales; Macri busca evitar los escándalos con agentes recibidos de otras fuerzas
  • La policía castrista da una paliza a unos disidentes, incluido un bebé

  • Fueron golpeados, esposados y detenidos durante unas horas.
  • 21 'secretos' tecnológicos que quizá desconozcas

  • Google, los fabricantes de gadgets, las 'telecos', tu jefe... Todos o algunos de ellos quizá no tengan mucho interés en que tu sepas algunos de sus 'secretos'. Desde la posibilidad de que te espíen hasta el hecho de que te cobran más de lo que deberían.
    Galerie photo

    Regardez l'actualité
    La semaine en images.>>

    Google accuse la Chine de censure

    Siège de Google en Chine   La société américaine affirme que l'accès à ses services par téléphone mobile avaient été partiellement bloqués en Chine dimanche et lundi.
    Galerie: Kurioses aus aller Welt

      Kurioses aus aller Welt

    Galerie: Nissans Null-Emissions- Auto in Produktion

      Nissans Null-Emissions- Auto in Produktion

    Galerie: Drei Engel für James Bond

      Drei Engel für James Bond                         

    Times Online March 31, 2010

    Kill the Competition: Bank rip-off ... BP's Iraq gusher ... Irish 'bad bank'

    Top stories
    The Times: A consumer watchdog accused banks of paying derisory interest rates on cash Isas in a £3 billion ($4.5 billion) a year rip-off.
    Wall Street Journal: BP awarded $500 million (£330 million) in contracts to drill wells in Iraq's giant Rumaila oil field.
    The Times: The Irish Government to inject billions of euros into the country's banking sector by putting a large chunk of the lenders' problem loans into a "bad bank".

    David Wighton in The Times: The banks came in for a good bashing from the three Chancellors on Monday night. And yesterday brought yet more evidence of how richly deserved the public abuse seems.
    David Prosser in The Independent: How long-term performance plans became a sure thing.
    Anatole Kaletsky in The Times: The two-faced Tories can't have it both ways If Britain is facing an economic Dunkirk, we can't protect every spending programme. If not, Cameron should say so.

    The Times: ONS figures showed the UK emerged from its recession more strongly than previously thought; economy grew 0.4 per cent between October and December.
    Daily Telegraph: Domino's Pizza reported strong sales over the start of 2010 despite having to temporarily close numerous outlets because of cold weather.
    New York Times: Toyota, which introduced generous incentives in a bid to attract customers, said its US sales probably rose by a third in March.

    The Times: Industry data showed sales at Britain's supermarkets in the latest three months grew at their slowest rate for 2 1/2 years.
    Daily Telegraph: Independent valuer said Northern Rock shares were worthless and there was no requirement to pay compensation to those who lost money.
    Wall Street Journal: An Australian business group warned the conviction of four Rio Tinto employees could affect confidence among foreign investors in China.

    Mergers and shakers
    The Times: Gartmore suspended Guillaume Rambourg, its second-most senior fund manager, amid allegations that he had broken the company's trading rules.
    The Times: Taxpayer-owned Royal Bank of Scotland fined £29 million ($44 million) for sharing confidential pricing information on loans with Barclays.
    The Times: Richard Glynn, the new Ladbrokes chief executive, stands to collect £12 million ($18 million) if he can double the bookmaker's share price over the next five years.

    Around Asia
    The Times: Vale and BHP Billiton to price iron ore to Japanese steelmakers quarterly from April 1, signalling the demise of annual fixed-price deals.
    The Times: Web users in China unable to get search results from Google after it made changes to its site resulting in a technical glitch.
    The Times: Standard Chartered, the London-based bank, hoped to raise $750 million (£500 million) through the issue of Indian Depository Receipts in Mumbai.

    Look ahead
    The Times: Businesses to bid to run hundreds of UK schools as politicians open the door to new education providers.
    Daily Telegraph: Giles Thorley, chief executive of Punch Taverns, stepping down at the end of next month from Britain's biggest pub company.
    Daily Telegraph: Tony Fadell, the "godfather" of the iPod, severing all ties with Apple, days before the release of its latest product the iPad.

    FTSE 100 5,672.32 down 0.7% (Tuesday close)
    Dow 10,907.42 up 0.1% (close)
    S&P 500 1,173.27 unchanged (close)
    Nasdaq 2,410.69 up 0.3% (close)
    Nikkei 11,130.98 up 0.3% (latest)
    Hang Seng 21,314.48 down 0.3% (latest)
    Sterling $1.5074/1.1247 euros (latest)
    Euro $1.3403 (latest)
    Brent crude $81.29 up 1 cent (latest)
    West Texas crude $82.35 down 2 cents (latest)
    Gold $1107.10 up $1.40 (latest)

    New York
    Reuters: Wall Street stocks rose in a slow session on Tuesday on data showing more stabilisation in the economy, while Apple rallied on a report that it was developing a new iPhone. Apple hit an all-time record closing high, up 1.5 per cent, after the Wall Street Journal reported the company was developing a new iPhone to work on Verizon's mobile network. Verizon advanced 2.6 per cent. Industrials, the best-performing S&P 500 sector this quarter, also rose. 3M shot up 3.6 per cent and contributed the most to the Dow's advance. A KPMG study showed U.S. manufacturing executives were more upbeat on the recovery than their European Union colleagues. After the bell, Honeywell, a major manufacturer, raised its first-quarter profit outlook, sending its stock up 2.3 per cent. Financials kept the S&P 500 under pressure, with Bank of America down 1.6 per cent and Citigroup slid 2.2 per cent as investors continued to weigh the implications of the US Government's planned sale of its Citi stake.

    Bloomberg: Most Asian stocks declined in morning trade amid concerns a rally that took the MSCI Asia Pacific Index to a 10- week high yesterday had overvalued earnings prospects. BHP Billiton lost 0.8 per cent, leading declines by material producers, the region's best performing stocks in the past five days. Samsung Electronics increased 2 per cent in Seoul after the Korea Economic Daily reported the company's semiconductor business may achieve its full-year profit target during the first half. Canon, which gets 28 per cent of sales from the Americas, gained 0.9 per cent in Tokyo as a weaker yen boosted the prospects for exporters' earnings. Seven stocks declined for every six that rose on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index, which lost 0.2 per cent to 125.68 in morning trade. Newcrest Mining, Australia's largest gold producer, dropped 0.9 per cent and Sumitomo Metal slipped 0.5 per cent. Mazda, which gets 30 per cent of sales in North America, climbed 4 per cent and Fanuc, a maker of industrial robots that has more than 70 per cent of its revenue outside Japan, gained 0.6 per cent.
    Myles McIvor:

    Big jumps in the price of bulk commodities including iron ore and coking coal helped lift the mining sector yesterday. BHP Billiton said that it had agreed a shift from the controversial system of pricing iron ore once a year to quarterly contracts, a move that the company hopes will give it more exposure to rising demand for the metal. Its shares rose under 1 per cent. Overall, the FTSE 100 lost 38.34 points to 5,672.32 despite upbeat UK GDP data and US consumer confidence figures.The banking sector was the biggest drag after Irish regulators set new capital requirements expected to lead to the effective nationalisation of two or three more banks. Royal Bank of Scotland lost 3.4 per cent after being fined £28.6 million, the largest UK regulatory penalty against a financial institution, for giving confidential pricing data to Barclays, which lost 2.4 per cent.
    Peter Stiff: 
    03:47 - miércoles, 31 de marzo de 2010
    Enérgica condena del parlamento serbio a la matanza de musulmanes en 1995
    LEER + 

    Inside Jobs... Putin versus Medvedev?

    08:25 - miércoles, 31 de marzo de 2010
    Rusia distribuye las fotos de las 'viudas negras' de los atentados de Moscú
    A quoi sert la psychanalyse
    A quoi sert la psychanalyse

    Deux tortues se battent pour un chien
    Deux tortues se battent pour un chien

    L'interdiction totale de la burqa dangereuse juridiquement
    L'interdiction totale de la burqa dangereuse juridiquement

    Sarkozy et Obama ont discuté des grands dossiers
    Sarkozy et Obama ont discuté des grands dossiers           
    HomeVideoMP3 RadioNewsNews BriefsIsrael PicsOpinionJudaism

    Wednesday, Mar 31 '10, Nisan 16, 5770

    Today`s Email Stories:
    ‘Abbas Turned Tables on Israel’
    Hamas Police 'Hold Up' Gaza Bank
    Congress vs. Obama on Jerusalem
    Building Freeze in Jerusalem?
    Dep. Min.: 'Shun Hussein Obama'
    Obama: Oil Hampers Sanctions
      More Website News:
    Jets Scrambled in Terror Scare
    Bus Ads Show Rebuilt Temple
    Police Let Jews on Temple Mount
    2nd Chance for PLO in US Lawsuit
    Pesach Events in Judea, Samaria
    Needy Samaria Families Celebrate
      MP3 Radio Website News Briefs:
    Talk: Exodus - A War of Ideology
    Music: Songs of Army Bands
    Yom Hashoah


    1. Fatah Returns to Violence, Wound Border Police in Riot
    by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu 
    Fatah Returns to Violence

    Nearly 200 Fatah leaders and Israeli leftists rioted late Wednesday morning near a military prison near Jerusalem and stoned Israeli soldiers and police, wounding two Border Police officers. 

    The violent riot was in protest of Sunday’s arrest of Abbas Zaki, a senior member of Fatah, led by Palestinian Authority PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Zaki and a dozen others were arrested near Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem after storming an Israeli checkpoint during a march, and he has refused to appear in an Israeli military court.

    Following speeches of incitement outside the Ofer military prison located west of Ramallah and near Jerusalem, police dispersed the rioters with tear gas, injuring three demonstrators.

    The arrest of Zaki is politically significant because he is the most senior Fatah official to have been arrested by Israel in 17 years, according to the pan-Arab Al-Jazeera news service. “The response from the [Fatah] political leadership has been a commitment to step up popular resistance," according to Al-Jazeera.”

    The IDF closed the Bitunia checkpoint, near the Ofer prison, after protesters broke through it. Among the demonstrators were three Fatah Central Committee members, leading rioters who threw rocks at Israeli security officers.

    Abbas recently has told English-speaking media he is against violence but in Arabic media he has encouraged “resistance,” a code word for violence and terrorist attacks.

    Israel Pics

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    Political Cartoon
    Sunday, March 28, 2010
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    2. Abbas Urged Israel to Topple Hamas in Cast Lead, Says Lieberman
    by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu 
    ‘Abbas Turned Tables on Israel’

    Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas urged Israel to topple the Hamas government in Gaza during the Operation Cast Lead campaign last year, according to Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

    A former close aide to former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert confirmed Lieberman’s claim, which was rejected by Abbas aide Nabil Abu Rdainah, who told Reuters, “This is not true. It is a continuation of the campaign of defamation ... to create an atmosphere that would destroy any chance of salvaging the peace process.”

    Although Lieberman was not a member of the Olmert government during Cast Lead, the former Olmert official confirmed to Reuters that his account was "essentially accurate."

    Lieberman accused Abbas of duping Israel by asking the government to topple Hamas and then alleging that Israel was guilty of ”war crimes” in the three-week counterterrorist campaign. "A month after the operation ended, he filed a complaint against us with the International Court of Justice at The Hague for war crimes. Is that a partner?" Lieberman asked in an interview with a Hebrew-language newspaper.

    Hamas previously has criticized Abbas for not being more vocal against Cast Lead and for not initially backing the Goldstone Report alleging Israel with committing war crimes. Lieberman’s comments “reaffirm the fact that Mahmoud Abbas is no longer fit to represent our people,” said Hamas spokesman Sami abu Zuhri. He charged that Abbas “conspired against his people during a war.”

    3. Hamas Police 'Hold Up' Gaza City's Palestine Bank
    by Hana Levi Julian 
    Hamas Police 'Hold Up' Gaza Bank

    Hamas Police held up the Gaza City Bank of Palestine on Monday, taking nearly half a million dollars allegedly on behalf of a medical organization, “aggressively” forcing staff to open the bank vault. 

    The Palestine Monetary Association (PMA), which regulates the Palestinian Authority's banking system, responded by calling on Hamas to “abide by the rule of law to safeguard the soundness of the banks so that they can continue to provide services to the people.”

    The Patient's Friend Association hospital's assets deposited at the Fatah-controlled bank were frozen after Hamas had seized control of its board following the terrorist group's June 2007 victory over Fatah in a bloody region-wide PA civil war.

    The Fatah-run government maintained control of PA areas in Judea and Samaria, as well as primary control over the PA financial institutions. But Hamas took control over the Gaza court system, which then issued an injunction against the bank, ordering it to unfreeze the hospital's assets.

    Hamas police showed up at the bank on Monday, ordering the staff to hand over 1.5 million shekels ($400,000). A bank employee who asked not to be named said the police acted “aggressively,” forcing staff to open the vault before they “signed a paper showing the amount of money they had taken.”

    The Reuters news agency quoted Fatah-linked banking sources as saying the PMA had frozen the hospital's assets “seeking to apply global regulations against money laundering.” 

    A spokesman for the de facto Hamas Interior Ministry in Gaza, Ehab al-Ghsain, said police actions were “implementation of a judicial decision” and that the hospital's board has “resorted to court[s] after the Fatah government froze its account in the bank.”

    The Fatah-run PA government based in Ramallah, funded by Western nations, continues to pay both Fatah and Hamas civil servants in all of the Palestinian Authority areas, including Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, through its banking system. The PA also receives millions of dollars every month from Israel, which collects tax revenues for the PA.

    Chill Zone Videos
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    4. Congress Pressures Obama to Retreat on Jerusalem
    by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu 
    Congress vs. Obama on Jerusalem

    Approximately 75 percent of U.S. Congress members are prepared to sign a letter calling for an end to public criticism of Israel by the Obama administration and to "reinforce its ties with the country," according to the British Guardian. 

    An open letter states, “Our view is that such differences are best resolved quietly, in trust and confidence." The wording was suggested by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobby, which is asking Congress members to help improve relations between U.S. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

    The one-year-old American government has in effect discarded the Roadmap plan, which already had been detoured by then-U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, by mediating indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and gaining concessions from the Netanyahu government without parallel steps by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

    However, its demands concerning Jerusalem apparently have crossed the red line for Diaspora Jews as well as for many liberal leaders in Israel, causing a rift among the president’s advisers.

    The White House on Tuesday tried to smooth over relations, with spokesman Robert Gibbs saying he was ”puzzled" by reports that President Obama snubbed Prime Minister Netanyahu by not holding a press conference or providing an opportunity for a public photograph. “I’m puzzled by the notion that somehow it’s a bad deal to get two hours with the president almost entirely alone,” he told reporters. “That doesn’t seem like a lot of punishment to me.”

    He also denied a rumor in the media that the United States was prepared to refrain from vetoing a possible United Nations resolution against Israel’s building for Jews in areas of Jerusalem that were restored to the Jewish State in 1967 but are not recognized by United States as being under Israeli sovereignty. Approximately 300,000 Jews live in the neighborhoods, which include Ramot, French Hill and Gilo.

    If the report was a trial balloon, the response appears to have let all the air out as Cabinet ministers line up behind Prime Minister Netanyahu to refuse to agree to a temporary building freeze.

    Most of President Obama’s advisers have taken a pro-Palestinian Authority stand, backing its claims to sovereignty over part of the city. Foreign media have reported that President Obama’s public stand against Israel, beginning with his speech in Cairo last June that Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria are “illegitimate,” has placed him out on a limb.  

    “The administration's credibility is at stake,”one source reportedly said.

    5. Inner Cabinet Chilly to Obama's Demand for Freeze in Jerusalem
    by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu 
    Building Freeze in Jerusalem?

    U.S. President Barack Obama wants Israel to extend its temporary building freeze for Jews in Judea and Samaria to include parts of Jerusalem, according to the left-wing Haaretz newspaper. However, most Inner Cabinet ministers already have rejected the idea.

    Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, a member of the seven-member Inner Cabinet, said earlier this week, “I have not seen anyone among the seven who has consented to this [building freeze]. The past few days have taught me that there is no point to further concessions.” 

    He confirmed that President Obama asked for a building freeze in most areas in Jerusalem where the United States does not recognize Israeli sovereignty. The freeze proposal reportedly would be for four months, ending at about the same the 10-month building freeze in Judea and Samaria is supposed to expire.

    In return, the Palestinian Authority would agree to direct talks, which has been PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ condition for direct discussions with Israel. He also has presented the Jewish State with demands for recognizing the PA as a country, with Jerusalem as its capital as well as PA sovereignty over all areas of the city that were restored to Israel in the Six-Day War in 1967.

    The report was also published in the Washington Post, which claimed the government may reach a “quiet understanding” without formally announcing a building freeze, although it is not known if that would be satisfactory to Abbas. The government has not commented on the report, but other Cabinet ministers have made it clear that stopping construction for Jews in the capital is out of the question.

    Benny Begin, a member of the Inner Cabinet, said that even Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s concession to agree to discuss with Abbas the final status of Jerusalem will bring about a hardening in the policy of the Arabs and of the Palestinian Authority.

    6. Deputy Minister: If US Balks at Veto, Shun 'Hussein Obama'
    by Gil Ronen 
    Dep. Min.: 'Shun Hussein Obama'

    Deputy Minister Ayoub Kara reacted acerbically to a BBC report that the United States may abstain from using its veto power if the UN Security Council votes to condemn Israeli building for Jews in eastern Jerusalem.

    "If Israel does not receive backing from the United States in the Security Council and the US does not veto a resolution of condemnation,” said the Deputy Minister for Development of the Negev and Galilee, “we should cut off all contacts with Hussein Obama and call upon the American people to raise a cry of dissent against the belligerent policy that has been implemented of late – first and foremost by the president of the US.”

    Enough 'abuse'

    The “abuse” and “aggression” toward the prime minister is abuse of each and every Israeli, he said, in a reference to the humiliations Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has undergone in his visits to the White House.

    Kara intentionally used Obama's Muslim middle name, leaving out his first name, which is also of Muslim origin.  

    Kara said Netanyahu should receive maximum backing within Israel, and particularly inside the Likud party. 

    Dep.-Min. Kara was hosted for the Passover seder at Pisgat Ze'ev, along with dozens of Christian Zionists who came from the US to celebrate Passover in Israel.

    Dep.-Min. Kara, a Druze, is one of the most proudly and aggressively Zionist members of the current coalition. He has compared his connection to the Jewish people to that of Yitro (Jethro) and Moses. The Druze see Yitro – whom they call Shuaib – as their greatest prophet.   

    A senior US source has denied the BBC report, saying that no resolution of condemnation of Israel over construction in Jerusalem is expected in the UNSC. 

    7. Obama: Iranian Oil Obstacle to Sanctions
    by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu 
    Obama: Oil Hampers Sanctions

    U.S. President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that he hopes tougher sanctions will be placed on Iran "within weeks” but admitted that oil from the Islamic Republic sways some countries from agreeing to harsher restrictions.

    The United States wants the current United Nations blacklist to include firms controlled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

    Speaking alongside French President Nicolas Sarkozy in the White House, President Obama said, "What we said, though, was that there was going to be a timeline to it and that if we had not seen progress by the end of the year it was time for us to move forward on that sanctions track. My hope is that we are going to get this done this spring….  I’m interested in seeing that [sanctions] regimen in place in weeks.

    “Let's be honest, Iran is an oil producer, and there are a lot of countries around the world that, regardless of Iran's offenses, are thinking that their commercial interests are more important to them than these long-term, geopolitical interests.”

    China has been the major stumbling block to an American motion for the United Nations Security Council to endorse tougher sanctions. Beijing’s foreign ministry on Tuesday stated it opposes Iranian capability to obtain nuclear weapons, but it has not yet come out in favor of sanctions. China, like Russia, has supplied billions of dollars in investment and equipment in Iran’s nuclear facilities.  

    President Sarkozy said, "The time has come to take decisions." Referring to Germany and Britain, he added, "We will make all necessary efforts to make sure that Europe as a whole engages in the sanctions regimen."