07 May

Events of Interest and Analyses

CIA drones have broader list of targets


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The agency since 2008 has been secretly allowed to kill unnamed suspects in Pakistan.

U.S. dronesThe drones in Afghanistan, including the Predator shown here, are operated by the U.S. military. The CIA runs the program in Pakistan. (Kirsty Wigglesworth / Associated Press)
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  • By David S. Cloud, Los Angeles TimesMay 5, 2010 | 8:37 p.m.

    Reporting from Washington

    The CIA received secret permission to attack a wider range of targets, including suspected militants whose names are not known, as part of a dramatic expansion of its campaign of drone strikes in Pakistan’s border region, according to current and former counter-terrorism officials.

    The expanded authority, approved two years ago by the Bush administration and continued by President Obama, permits the agency to rely on what officials describe as “pattern of life” analysis, using evidence collected by surveillance cameras on the unmanned aircraft and from other sources about individuals and locations.

    The information then is used to target suspected militants, even when their full identities are not known, the officials said. Previously, the CIA was restricted in most cases to killing only individuals whose names were on an approved list…………………………………


    Hung parliament after UK polls

    Voters in some British districts reported that they were turned away from polling stations [AFP]

    Britain’s general election has resulted in a hung parliament, leaving the country uncertain over who will be the next prime minister.

    With 624 seats out of 650 declared, the Conservatives have won 294 seats, Labour have 251 and the Liberal Democrats have captured 52.

    That leaves the Conservatives 36 seats short of parliamentary majority, and opens the way for the governing Labour party to open coalition negotiations in an attempt to form a government.

    Under the rules set out by the British constitution, the sitting prime minister has the right to try and form a coalition, even if his party has fewer seats than the opposition.


    Germany approves Greek rescue deal

    Merkel has voiced reservations about giving Greece loans without strict guarantees [AFP]

    Germany’s parliament has agreed to provide up to $28.6bn over three years as their contribution to an emergency loans package for debt-ridden Greece.

    The lower house’s decision on Friday followed days of delays in approving the deal, funded jointly by the European Union and International Monetary Fund, after stating that Athens must make strict cuts backs to receive the finance.

    The bill was passed by 390 votes, to 72 against, with 139 MPs abstaining.

    Wolfgang Schaeuble, Germany’s finance minsiter, told the lower house of parliament that the contribution had to be approved in order to defend the euro currency.

    “Any other alternative would be much more expensive for the Germans, would be much more dangerous, would carry much bigger risks,” Schaeuble said.

    He said experts agreed that “it would be disastrous to risk … a member of the European currency union, Greece, now becoming insolvent”.

    Markets hit

    Germany’s government had wanted to wait until after local elections on May 9 to prevent any announcement affecting the outcome of the polls.

    In depth

      Pictures: Greece protests
      Q&A: Greek economic crisis
      The Greeks are angry
      Sacrifice and suffocation for Greece
      The humiliation of Greece
      People & Power: The bankrupt state
      Inside Story: A financial bailout for Greece?
      Counting the Cost: Greece is the word
      Greek protests turn deadly
      Greece hit by anti-austerity rally
      Wake-up call for Greek economy
      Fears grow over debt crisis

    The bill will now go to the parliament’s upper house and then to Horst Koehler, the president, before becoming law.

    The finance is part of a $146bn package to bailout Greece, which is finding it difficult to access money on the open market because of the apparent risks.

    Late on Thursday, France’s senate approved their nation’s contribution to the EU loan package, providing up to $22.5bn over the next three years.

    The crisis hurt markets globally on Friday, with bourses in Japan, South Korea, Australia and the UK dropping.

    China’s benchmark Shanghai index tumbled 2.4 per cent in early trade, though rallied later, with shares in Taiwan, Singapore and New Zealand all falling sharply.

    That followed the Dow Jones index’s biggest ever intra-day drop causing panic selling in US markets overnight, wiping out billions of dollars in market value.

    At the peak of the sell-off, the slump wiped nearly $1trn off the face value of US equities.


    US mulls new ‘terror’ laws


    A bill has been introduced into the US Congress, to strip US citizens accused of terrorist links of their citizenship even before they face trial.The proposed legislation comes as US officials continue to investigate possible links between New York bomb suspect Faisal Shahzad, and fighters in Pakistan.Al Jazeera’s Rosiland Jordan reports.


    Gulf oil spill reaches US island

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