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Wednesday, 16 August 2006 01:12

World Media Watch for August 16, 2006

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WORLD MEDIA WATCH

1//The Daily Star, Lebanon--FNEISH SCRAMBLES TO SECURE CRUCIAL FUEL AS POWER PLANTS RUN ON FUMES (Lebanon's power plants may soon be unable to provide any electricity to the rest of the country if tankers anchored off the coast of Cyprus do not deliver fuel in the coming days. "We are trying to secure enough fuel oil for the Zouk and Beddawi power plants but the ship owners are reluctant to unload their cargos under the current circumstances," Energy and Water Minister Mohammad Fneish told The Daily Star. He added that the ministry was still negotiating with the ships' owners to dock at the ports and unload their cargos. Sources said five ships laden with fuel oil, kerosene and gasoline were in Cyprus awaiting final approval from Israel and the United Nations to go to Lebanon. Maritime insurance premiums in Lebanon and Israel skyrocketed after the war broke out, prompting many ships to steer clear of the two countries. Israel is still imposing a tough naval, air and ground blockade on Lebanon in an attempt to pressure the government to disarm Hizbullah.)

2//AKI-Adnkronos International, Italy--INDONESIA: MILITANTS SIGN UP FOR HOLY WAR (The news of the truce between Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah militia appears to have done little to snuff out the desire of jihadi groups in the world's most populous Muslim nation to dispatch fighters for this "Holy War". During the weekend, 500 members of Indonesian Mujahadeen Council [MMI] - led by convicted cleric Abu Bakar Bashir - signed up in Solo and Surabaya [Central and West Java] and, as Adnkronos International [AKI] witnessed, military training started in Pabelan, Central Java. "The training is the first selection for the participants. The committee will eventually select ten people to send to Lebanon and Palestine to investigate and evaluate the recent condition in Middle East," MMI recruiting coordinator, Adi Basuki, told AKI. "We are looking for qualified people in religion and also as militants. The most important thing is that they must be willing to die of Syahidin [holy death]," he added. ... In the meantime, Lebanese ambassador in Indonesia, Hassan Muslimani, has said that his country does not need foreign fighters but appreciates moral support. Din Syamsuddin, chairman of Indonesia's second largest moderate Islamic organization, the Muhammadiyah, has advised any Indonesian civilians thinking of joining the war in Lebanon to drop their plans and instead donate money to help Hezbollah and Hamas fighters buy arms.)

3//TehranTimes.com, Iran--IRAN, TURKEY KEEN TO EXPAND COOPERATION IN ENERGY SECTOR (Iranian Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh and Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Hilmi Guler in a meeting here Tuesday discussed ways of expanding cooperation between the two countries in the energy sector. Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh arrived in Turkey on Tuesday in response to an official invitation by Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources. At the meeting, in which Iran's Ambassador to Ankara Firouz Dolatabadi was also present, transit of gas from Iran to Europe via Turkey, joint investments in establishment of oil refineries and petrochemical projects were high on the agenda. ... For his part, the Turkish minister invited Iranian companies to participate in the privatization process in his country and the relevant energy tenders and make joint investments in Iran, Turkey and third countries.)

4//The Independent, UK--BLAIR'S ‘FRENZIED LAW MAKING' HAS CREATED A NEW OFFENCE FOR EVERY DAY SPENT IN OFFICE (Tony Blair's government has created more than 3,000 new criminal offences during its nine-year tenure, one for almost every day it has been in power. The astonishing tally brought accusations last night of a "frenzied approach to law-making" that contrasts with falling detection rates and climbing levels of violent crime. The figures emerged as police chiefs disclosed they were considering asking ministers for a set of new measures to allow them to impose "instant justice" for antisocial behaviour. The 3,000-plus offences have been driven on to the statute book by an administration that has faced repeated charges of meddling in the everyday lives of citizens, from restricting freedom of speech to planning to issue identity cards to all adults. ... Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, who uncovered the figures, said: "Nothing can justify the step change in the number of criminal offences invented by this Government. This provides a devastating insight into the real legacy of nine years of New Labour government - a frenzied approach to law-making, thousands of new offences, an illiberal belief in heavy-handed regulation, an obsession with controlling the minutiae of everyday life. "The result? A country less free than before, and a marked erosion of the trust which should exist between the Government and the governed." He said ministers had failed to grasp the simple truth that "weighing down the statute book" with new laws was "no substitute for good government".)

5//Xinhua Online, China--CHINA'S GROWING INFLUENCE IN AFRICA BRINGS OPPORTUNITIES: UN OFFICIAL (China's growing role in Africa offers encouraging opportunities for the region's economic and social development, a senior United Nations official said Tuesday in Beijing. China's diplomatic, economic and people-to-people relations with African nations have expanded dramatically over the last five years, said Jeffery Sachs, director of the United Nations Millennium Project at a seminar on "China-Africa Partnership in the 21th Century". ... Sachs said China has made record-breaking progress in the fight against poverty and is now eager to share its success with other developing countries. "Backed by the experience and confidence gained from its own economic breakthroughs, China is stepping up its efforts to support Africa's economic development. The benefits to Africa are sure to be enormous," the UN official said.)

* * *

1//The Daily Star, Lebanon Wednesday, August 16, 2006

FNEISH SCRAMBLES TO SECURE CRUCIAL FUEL AS POWER PLANTS RUN ON FUMES
Daily Star staff

BEIRUT: Lebanon's power plants may soon be unable to provide any electricity to the rest of the country if tankers anchored off the coast of Cyprus do not deliver fuel in the coming days.

"We are trying to secure enough fuel oil for the Zouk and Beddawi power plants but the ship owners are reluctant to unload their cargos under the current circumstances," Energy and Water Minister Mohammad Fneish told The Daily Star.

He added that the ministry was still negotiating with the ships' owners to dock at the ports and unload their cargos.

Sources said five ships laden with fuel oil, kerosene and gasoline were in Cyprus awaiting final approval from Israel and the United Nations to go to Lebanon.

Maritime insurance premiums in Lebanon and Israel skyrocketed after the war broke out, prompting many ships to steer clear of the two countries.

Israel is still imposing a tough naval, air and ground blockade on Lebanon in an attempt to pressure the government to disarm Hizbullah.

Several key power plants in the South, North and the Bekaa Valley were targeted by Israeli war planes during the intense fighting.

Since the start of the war on July 12, Electricite du Liban has increased electricity rationing from six hours per day to more than 12 hours. Some areas, especially in the South and Beirut's southern suburbs, get no electricity at all.

Sources fear that if the ships fail to unload fuel on in one week EDL will run out of fuel oil before the end of this month.

But Fneish assured Lebanese that the ministry would seek all options to bring in fuel oil, adding that the government would not let the country's citizens down.

"We don't want to create any panic. All that I can say is that we are doing our best to provide electricity," the minister said.

The fuel-oil shortage will surely also affect the private generator owners who are providing electricity to some areas.

(MORE)

2//AKI-Adnkronos International, Italy 14 August 2006


INDONESIA: MILITANTS SIGN UP FOR HOLY WAR

Solo, Indonesia (AKI) - The news of the truce between Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah militia appears to have done little to snuff out the desire of jihadi groups in the world's most populous Muslim nation to dispatch fighters for this "Holy War". During the weekend, 500 members of Indonesian Mujahadeen Council (MMI) - led by convicted cleric Abu Bakar Bashir - signed up in Solo and Surabaya (Central and West Java) and, as Adnkronos International (AKI) witnessed, military training started in Pabelan, Central Java.

"The training is the first selection for the participants. The committee will eventually select ten people to send to Lebanon and Palestine to investigate and evaluate the recent condition in Middle East," MMI recruiting coordinator, Adi Basuki, told AKI.

"We are looking for qualified people in religion and also as militants. The most important thing is that they must be willing to die of Syahidin (holy death)," he added.

Bashir, 68, is considered the ideological leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, the largest regional terrorist group. He was released from jail in June where he had been serving 26 months for conspiracy in the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed 202 people. MMI is an umbrella organization campaigning to turn Indonesia into an Islamic state.

Mohamaed Arif, one of the volunteers, said that his family was fully behind him.

"This is my choice and my family is wishing me luck and is praying for my struggle," he said at an impromptu press briefing.

Basuki told AKI that the successful candidates will receive weapons and religious training. He also said that the MMI will ask the Indonesian military to help with the training and would turn to experienced mujahiddin only if the military declines to help.

Some dummy weapons were introduced during the recruitment procedure, which is scheduled to last a week.

(SNIP)

The MMI is the latest among Indonesian based radical Islamic groups said to be committed to send jihadi to the Middle East. However, to date, there has been no confirmation of local fighters joining the battle in Lebanon.

In the meantime, Lebanese ambassador in Indonesia, Hassan Muslimani, has said that his country does not need foreign fighters but appreciates moral support.

Din Syamsuddin, chairman of Indonesia's second largest moderate Islamic organization, the Muhammadiyah, has advised any Indonesian civilians thinking of joining the war in Lebanon to drop their plans and instead donate money to help Hezbollah and Hamas fighters buy arms.

3//TehranTimes.com, Iran August 16, 2006


IRAN, TURKEY KEEN TO EXPAND COOPERATION IN ENERGY SECTOR

ANKARA (IRNA) -- Iranian Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh and Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Hilmi Guler in a meeting here Tuesday discussed ways of expanding cooperation between the two countries in the energy sector.

Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh arrived in Turkey on Tuesday in response to an official invitation by Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources.

At the meeting, in which Iran's Ambassador to Ankara Firouz Dolatabadi was also present, transit of gas from Iran to Europe via Turkey, joint investments in establishment of oil refineries and petrochemical projects were high on the agenda.

During the meeting, Iran was asked to submit its proposal on transit of gas to Europe via Turkey to its Turkish partner tonight to enable it respond on Wednesday.

Once agreement is reached on the issue, a memorandum of understanding will be signed by representatives of the two states.

For his part, the Turkish minister invited Iranian companies to participate in the privatization process in his country and the relevant energy tenders and make joint investments in Iran, Turkey and third countries.

In return, he called for preparing the grounds for participation of Turkish enterprises in exploration as well as other activities in oil and petrochemical industries.

Both sides declared the political will of their countries to expand mutual ties and urged the need to attempt raise the level of ties, particularly in economic, trade and industrial fields.

At the end of meeting, both officials took part in a joint press conference and briefed reporters on agreements reached between them.

They hoped that expansion of cooperation in the energy sector will lead to strengthening cooperation in other domains.

(MORE)

4//The Independent, UK Published: 16 August 2006

BLAIR'S ‘FRENZIED LAW MAKING' HAS CREATED A NEW OFFENCE FOR EVERY DAY SPENT IN OFFICE

By Nigel Morris, Home Affairs Correspondent

Tony Blair's government has created more than 3,000 new criminal offences during its nine-year tenure, one for almost every day it has been in power.

The astonishing tally brought accusations last night of a "frenzied approach to law-making" that contrasts with falling detection rates and climbing levels of violent crime.

The figures emerged as police chiefs disclosed they were considering asking ministers for a set of new measures to allow them to impose "instant justice" for antisocial behaviour.

The 3,000-plus offences have been driven on to the statute book by an administration that has faced repeated charges of meddling in the everyday lives of citizens, from restricting freedom of speech to planning to issue identity cards to all adults.

In total, the Government has brought in 3,023 offences since May 1997. They comprise 1,169 introduced by primary legislation - debated in Parliament - and 1,854 by secondary legislation such as statutory instruments and orders in council.

Remarkably, Labour is creating offences at twice the rate of the previous Tory administration. During its last nine years in office, under Margaret Thatcher and John Major, fewer than 500 new crimes reached the statute book via primary legislation.

And the rate at which offences are being created is accelerating the longer that Tony Blair remains in Downing Street. In 1998, Labour's first full year in power, 160 new offences passed into legislation, rising to 346 in 2000 and 527 in 2005.

Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, who uncovered the figures, said: "Nothing can justify the step change in the number of criminal offences invented by this Government. This provides a devastating insight into the real legacy of nine years of New Labour government - a frenzied approach to law-making, thousands of new offences, an illiberal belief in heavy-handed regulation, an obsession with controlling the minutiae of everyday life.

"The result? A country less free than before, and a marked erosion of the trust which should exist between the Government and the governed."

He said ministers had failed to grasp the simple truth that "weighing down the statute book" with new laws was "no substitute for good government".

Many offences are uncontroversial and will have widespread support, such as tougher penalties for selling contaminated food or against violent crime. But the Government has still managed to produce a surreal list of new offences.

It is now illegal to sell grey squirrels, impersonate a traffic warden or offer Air Traffic Control services without a licence. Creating a nuclear explosion was outlawed in 1998.

Householders who fail to nominate a neighbour to turn off their alarm while they are away from home can be breaking the law. And it is an offence for a ship's captain to be carrying grain unless he has a copy of the International Grain Code on board.

The Home Office, which has produced 60 Bills over a hyperactive nine-year period, is responsible for 430 of the new offences.

(MORE)

5//Xinhua Online, China 2006-08-16 02:04:24


CHINA'S GROWING INFLUENCE IN AFRICA BRINGS OPPORTUNITIES: UN OFFICIAL

BEIJING, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- China's growing role in Africa offers encouraging opportunities for the region's economic and social development, a senior United Nations official said Tuesday in Beijing.

China's diplomatic, economic and people-to-people relations with African nations have expanded dramatically over the last five years, said Jeffery Sachs, director of the United Nations Millennium Project at a seminar on "China-Africa Partnership in the 21th Century".

Sachs, who is a special advisor to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on the Millennium Development Goal, said Sino-African trade is growing more rapidly than Chinese trade with the rest of the world.

According to Chinese figures, Sino-African trade volume has surged from less than 10 billion U.S. dollars in 2000 to 39.7 billion dollars last year.

Sachs said China has made record-breaking progress in the fight against poverty and is now eager to share its success with other developing countries.

"Backed by the experience and confidence gained from its own economic breakthroughs, China is stepping up its efforts to support Africa's economic development. The benefits to Africa are sure to be enormous," the UN official said.

Sachs said China is providing significant assistance to countries across the African continent in trying to relieve disease, hunger and poverty.

(MORE)

Copyright 2006, Gloria R. Lalumia

WORLD MEDIA WATCH