Category Archives: 南宁桑拿

Britain, US at odds over Iraq

Britain says the interim Iraqi government will have final control over foreign troops, but Washington has said its forces would remain under US command.

The apparent difference between the allies could complicate their efforts to secure Security Council endorsement for the handover plan, particularly after permanent members France, Russia and China signalled they wanted changes to the draft resolution.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said: “The final political control (over foreign troops) remains with the Iraqi government. That’s what the transfer of sovereignty means.”

But US Secretary of State Colin Powell told a news conference in Washington: “Ultimately… US forces remain under US command and will do what is necessary to protect themselves.”

The discord comes a day after Britain and the US tabled a draft resolution to the Security Council, which outlines Iraq’s return to sovereignty.

In Iraq, members of the interim Governing Council reacted coolly to the draft. Governing Council president Sheikh Ghazi al-Yawar said it “fell short of our expectations”.

He said the two main concerns were that the interim government must have the power to ask foreign troops to leave Iraq and that it exercise full control over reconstruction funds.

He also demanded control of revenue from oil sales, which Washington proposes should be subject to international audit.

Iraqi interim defence minister Ali Allawi said he expected foreign troops to remain in the country for “months rather than years” as the multi-national force will eventually be replaced by Iraqi forces.

France, which along with Russia and China opposed the war in Iraq, and several other countries want an expiry date set for US-led forces, but with a right to renew the deployment if Iraqis agreed.

The Russian government also voiced reservations about the draft proposal.

A minimum of nine votes on the 15-member Security Council are needed for the resolution to pass.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon says it will replace its top commander in Iraq when the interim government takes office.

General George Casey, vice chief of staff of the army, was likely to be named successor to Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, sources said.

Blast kills nine in Russia

The device went off shortly after midday, and local police say more people would have been killed had a truck not driven by as the explosion occurred, absorbing much of the force.

Authorities initially said the blast was most likely caused by faulty gas canisters exploding, but dismissed this theory after Federal Security Service agents inspected the site.

A criminal inquiry for acts of terrorism and murder has now been opened.

“We have dismissed the possibility that this was caused by gas canisters,” said a local police spokesman.

“Our main hypothesis now is that it was an act of terrorism.”

The device was planted near railway tracks running behind the clothes and household goods open-air market, the city’s largest and one of the most profitable enterprises in the region.

The railway line links the city with Moscow, around 800 kilometres away.

Television footage broadcast on Russian television showed scenes of wreckage with bloodied bodies covered by aluminium sheets and debris from trading stalls scattered across a wide area.

“There was a very powerful explosion and a great ball of yellow fire went up many metres into the air,” said one witness.

A woman reportedly went into premature labour due to the shock of the blast.

Police say they suspect the blast may be linked to a struggle for control over the market by rival criminal gangs, rather than the possibility it could be linked to the ongoing Chechnya conflict.

Many of the traders at the affected section of the market are illegal migrants from southeast Asia, who reportedly are forced to pay bribes to the market managers to keep their place.

Spanish troops may be pulled from Iraq

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapotero has vowed to put the fight against terrorism at the top of his agenda, after his Socialists party’s shock election win just days after the Madrid train bombings.

“The war in Iraq was a disaster, the occupation of Iraq is a disaster,” he said.

His comments come as details emerge about the arrests of three Moroccans in connection with Thursday’s attacks, considered Spain’s worst-ever act of terrorism.

An indictment shows that one of the three had ties with an alleged al-Qaeda cell leader charged in connection with the September 11 attacks in New York.

The indictment, dated September 17 2003, and written by Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon, names Jamal Zougam, who was arrested on Saturday, as a follower of Imad Yarkas who was jailed for allegedly helping to plan September 11.

Zougam’s alleged terrorist links strengthen the suspicion that al-Qaeda was involved in the train bombings that killed 200 and injured 1,500 people.

Spain’s new government is to take over the investigation.

The defeated conservative Popular Party, headed by former Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, had initially blamed Basque separatist group ETA for the attacks.

Mr Zapatero’s victory speech was preceded by a minute’s silence for the train victims.

His party won 43 percent of the ballots, compared with 38 percent for the Popular Party.

The change in government is, at least in part, being attributed to voter outrage at the PP’s jump to blame ETA, as well as a perception that the government’s support for the US-led war in Iraq may have led to the bombings.

In addition to the three Moroccans, Spanish police have also detained two Spaniards of Indian origin for questioning.

The five were arrested after a mobile phone and prepaid phone card were found in an explosives-filled gym bag on one of the bombed trains.

Of the 1,500 injured, 252 remain in hospital, 19 of whom are critical, and another 150 in a serious condition.

David’s renewed lustre

The painstaking process of removing grime and sulphate deposits using distilled water and cellulose took almost a year, with the initial expert restorer walking off the job over a dispute over the cleaning methods that should be used.

However some pale yellow streaks and violet-tinged mould stains on the lower back remain.

Florence’s museums chief Antonio Paolucci said the restoration was a “minimalist intervention” with “harmless, very light substances”.

“David is still itself, only what has changed is his luminosity,” said restorer Cinzia Parnigoni, who applied ‘mud packs’ of cellulose pulp and clay to soak away the dirt.

Renaissance expert Agnese Parronchi, who was originally to undertake the work, had wanted to brush away the dirt in a kind of ‘dry’ cleaning, fearing water could harm the surface.

But gallery director Franca Falletti insisted that brushing alone would not be enough to restore David and give him the glow of eternal youth that Michelangelo had intended.

David will now be examined and dusted eight times a year.

The 4.1-metre tall depiction of the young Biblical hero who fought Goliath was first unveiled in Florence on September 8, 1504, and has since weathered much abuse.

In 1527, the statue was damaged during a riot in Piazza Signoria.

More than a century after David was removed to the gallery in 1873, an Italian painter smashed the second toe of the left foot with a hammer.

Now, experts are concerned that the statue’s ankles may not be strong enough to support 5,572 kilograms of dead weight.

A team of engineers will examine ways to stabilise the statue for the future.

Aristide quits African exile

The former Haitian president is understood to have left for the Caribbean island nation in the early hours of the morning.

A delegation of African-American and Jamaican officials arrived on a chartered jet to escort Mr Aristide, but were delayed while CAR President Francois Bozize decided whether or not to allow him to leave.

That was surprising since both the US and France had denied Mr Aristide’s claim he was being held prisoner in CAR, where he was flown on a US-chartered aircraft when he fled Haiti on February 29 amid a rebellion and US and French pressure to resign.

Mr Aristide said he believed President Bozize had to consult with the three countries that had organised his temporary asylum – the United States, France and Gabon.

The deposed leader was also accompanied on the plane by his wife Mildred and a personal aide.

Jamaican Foreign Minister Sharon Hay Webster arrived in CAR on Sunday and met the ousted president.

She said she had come to “get him out of this situation,” adding that Jamaica, as president of the community of Caribbean states, Caricom, was intervening for purely humanitarian reasons.

She said Caricom was seeking a solution that would enable Mr Aristide to leave Bangui and go somewhere where he could see his two daughters, now in the United States.

The return of Mr Aristide to the Caribbean has provoked unease in Washington, which fears it could rekindle violence in Haiti, where the US, as the head of a 2,600-strong multinational force, is spearheading a process of political transition.

Jamaica lies less than 200 kilometres to the west of Haiti.

Jamaican President Percival Patterson last week said that Mr Aristide’s visit, which reports said would last for up to 10 weeks, should not be regarded as the granting of political asylum.