Gunfights, clashes erupt in Libyan capital

SIRTE, Libya— Gunfights broke out in the Libyan capital Tripoli on Friday between supporters of deposed leader Moammar Gadhafi and forces of the National Transitional Council, raising fears of an insurgency against the country’s new rulers.

Nearly two months since seizing the capital, Libya’s National Transitional Council has failed to capture the final holdout towns still under the grip of Gadhafi’s supporters. The ousted leader has repeatedly vowed to lead an uprising.

Friday’s battles appeared to be isolated and involve only dozens of pro-Gadhafi fighters, but it was the first sign of armed resistance to the NTC in the city since its rebel brigades seized the capital and ended Gadhafi’s 42-year rule in August.

Hundreds of NTC fighters in trucks shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest) careered toward the Abu Salim neighborhood, a center of support for Gadhafi, and the two sides exchanged automatic and heavy machinegun fire.

NTC commanders say Gadhafi’s diehard loyalists now only control an area measuring about 700 yards north to south, and around a mile east to west; a residential area of mostly apartment blocks.

The biggest obstacle to taking the town has been Gadhafi’s snipers hiding in the buildings. Tanks are used to hit the buildings from close range and dislodge the snipers.

Behind the tanks, lines of pick-up and scores of infantry readied for battle Friday.

Green flags, the banner of Gadhafi’s rule, flew above of the buildings ahead. Gadhafi himself is believed to be hiding somewhere in the vast Libyan desert.

Gadhafi supporters were still holding out in Sirte, Gadhafi’s coastal hometown in the center of the country, where a small pocket is battling on after weeks of fighting, and Bani Walid, a town south of Tripoli.

Rebels reportedly said there were possibly as few as 100 Gadhafi loyalists left in Sirte.

“There are a hundred fighters, maybe a little more, holding us up. That is all,” former dentist Salah al-Obeidi, now a rebel commander, told The Guardian newspaper.

The paper said other rebels estimated there were 200 loyalists in the city.

“They are finished. All they can do is surrender. There has been no attempt to negotiate with them. We don’t negotiate with terrorists. We hear them talking on their radios. Talking about ‘rats’ and killing infidels,” al-Obeidi told The Guardian.

Libya’s de facto leader, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, said Wednesday he expected to declare total victory in less than a week, which would pave the way for a new interim government to be named to guide the oil-rich North African nation to elections within eight months.

A senior NTC official however denied reports by other officials in the new government that Gadhafi’s son Muatassim had been captured in Sirte.

Surrounded now on all sides, Gadhafi’s remaining forces in Sirte can have no hope of winning the battle, but are still fighting on, inflicting dozens of casualties with rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and small arms.

One field hospital received two NTC dead and 23 wounded on Thursday. One of the dead men had been hit while taking food up to the fighters on the front line, doctors said.

‘It’s enough’
One NTC commander said Gadhafi’s besieged forces were no longer using heavier weapons and he said they appeared to have lost their cohesion as a fighting force.

“We’ve noticed now they are fighting every man for himself,” said Baloun Al Sharie, a field commander. “We tried to tell them it’s enough and to give themselves up, but they would not.”

NTC officers say Gadhafi loyalists fear reprisals if they give themselves up.
Some captured fighters have been roughed up by NTC forces and Amnesty International issued a report on Wednesday saying Libya’s new rulers were in danger of repeating human rights abuses commonplace during Gadhafi’s rule. The NTC said it would look into the report.

Close to the center of the fighting in Sirte, government forces found 25 corpses wrapped in plastic sheets. They accused Gadhafi militias of carrying out execution-style killings. Five corpses shown to a Reuters team wore civilian clothes, had their hands tied behind their backs and gunshot wounds to the head.

But as the battle for Libya draws toward what the NTC and NATO hope will be a close, both the new government and the Western alliance which helped topple Gadhafi are looking toward a return to normality.

( / 14.10.2011)

European parliament criticises Dutch stance on Romania, Bulgaria

The European parliament has called on the Netherlands and Finland to give up their objections to Romania and Bulgaria joining the EU open border area known as Schengen, according to Dutch media reports on Thursday.

The Netherlands has so far vetoed the move, saying neither country has done enough to combat corruption and organised crime.

The two countries joined the EU in 2007. Joining the Schengen zone would make the two countries responsible for policing a large part of the EU border.


Dutch members of the European parliament are divided on the issue. GroenLinks says the Netherlands’ position has been influenced by national politics – the Netherlands does not allow Romanians or Bulgarians to settle freely in the

According to website Public Service Europe, GroenLinks MEP Judith Sargentini called the use of the veto a ‘charade’ and accused the Dutch and Finnish governments of ‘cynically and deliberately misleading their public by playing along with incorrect claims that entry to Schengen equates to a carte blanche for all Romanian and Bulgarian
citizens to work in Finland and the Netherlands’.

But both the VVD Liberals and Labour party oppose extending Schengen to cover the eastern European countries. There is ‘reasonable doubt’ as to whether they are ready to guard Europe’s external borders, Labour MP Emine Bozkurt said.

Immigration minister Gerd Leers told news agency ANP there had been no new developments which would allow the Netherlands to change its position.

( / 14.10.2011)

Zeker 2000 mensen zijn vandaag in de Egyptische hoofdstad Caïro de straat opgegaan als teken van solidariteit tussen moslims en christenen.

Ook uitten de betogers hun woede over de regerende militaire raad, nadat 25 mensen waren omgekomen door het neerslaan van een protest van koptische christenen zondag.

Het was het dodelijkste geweld sinds president Hosni Mubarak in februari tot aftreden werd gedwongen door massale protesten. Volgens de betogers gebruiken de huidige machthebbers dezelfde brute methoden als Mubaraks troepen.

( / 14.10.201)

EU ‘regrets’ Israeli mosque demolition

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — EU representatives said on Thursday they “regret” Israel’s demolition of a mosque in northern West Bank village Khirbet Yarza, a statement said.

On Tuesday, Head of Al-Malha village council Aref Daraghma told Ma’an that Israeli bulldozers and civil administration officials demolished the mosque, which is less than 60 square meters, and several Bedouin structures.

This is the third time in seven months that the mosque has been demolished, Daraghma said.

The EU missions said that since 2000, Israel has demolished more than 4,800 homes in area C — the 62 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli control.

“The EU calls on Israel to review its policy and planning system in order to allow for the socio-economic development of the Palestinian communities,” the statement said.

( / 14.10.2011)

Israel plans new East Jerusalem settlement: rights group

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel plans to build more than 2,600 housing units in a new urban settlement in East Jerusalem, an anti-settlement group said on Friday, angering Palestinians who want a halt to all such projects before they return to peace talks.

The Peace Now group said the plan was approved earlier this week by a municipal committee, which had given the go-ahead for construction on the site which lies on land seized by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.

There was no immediate comment from the committee on the report, but the Palestinians said they believed the news was accurate.

“Israel’s plan to build 2,610 housing units … between Bethlehem and Jerusalem, makes a mockery of … efforts to bring about a just and lasting peace,” chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, said in a statement.

Direct peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians broke down a year ago after Israel refused to bow to demands that it cease all settlement building.

The United States has tried to restart talks, but they are still held up on the settlements issue. The efforts have gained new urgency in recent weeks because of a request by President Mahmoud Abbas for U.N. recognition of Palestinian independence.

Washington has threatened to veto the request, arguing that a Palestinian state should come out of peace talks, but the Palestinians say that continued Israeli settlement building proves that the negotiations process is dead.

Peace Now, which closely monitors city housing activity, said the plan would create an entirely new neighborhood in an area called “Givat Hamatos” or “aircraft hill” — named after an Israel jet that fell at the site in the 1967 war.

The land lies within the expanded boundaries of Jerusalem, which Israel annexed unilaterally after its capture of territory in the war — a move not internationally recognized.

Last month Israel announced a plan to expand the Gilo suburban settlement which lies close to Givat Hamatos. That decision drew heavy criticism from Arab countries and
Israel’s Western allies, who said it would complicate peace efforts.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected those complaints and said Gilo was an integral part of Jerusalem.

Peace Now said building at Givat Hamatos would be a “game changer” adding that “the new neighborhood will complete the isolation between Bethlehem and East Jerusalem, and will destroy any possibility of a territorial solution.”

The group said that the plans had been deposited for public review and that barring objections, construction could begin after 60 days. A delay of some months could occur if a committee or court needed to hear objections.

( / 14.10.2011)

Biotech company using cell lines from aborted babies in food enhancement testing

LARGO, Florida, March 29, 2011 ( – Pepsico, Kraft Foods, and Nestlé are among the corporations partnered with a biotech company found using aborted fetal cell lines to test food flavor enhancers, according to a pro-life watchdog group.

The internationally recognized biotech company, Senomyx, boasts innovation and success in “flavour programs” designed to reduce MSG, sugar and salt in food and beverage products.  Senomyx notes their collaborators provide them research and development funding plus royalties on sales of products using their flavor ingredients.

Pro-life watchdog group, Children of God for Life (CGL), has called upon the public to target the major corporations in a boycott, unless the company ceases to use aborted fetal cell lines in their product testing.

“Using isolated human taste receptors,” the Senomyx website claims, “we created proprietary taste receptor-based assay systems that provide a biochemical or electronic readout when a flavor ingredient interacts with the receptor.”

“What they do not tell the public is that they are using HEK 293 – human embryonic kidney cells taken from an electively aborted baby to produce those receptors,” stated Debi Vinnedge, Executive Director for CGL, the watch dog group that has been monitoring the use of aborted fetal material in medical products and cosmetics for years.

“They could have easily chosen COS (monkey) cells, Chinese Hamster Ovary cells, insect cells or other morally obtained human cells expressing the G protein for taste receptors,” Vinnedge added.

Responses from major corporations to CGL’s letter campaign succeeded in warning the pro-life watchdog that these companies would need significant public pressure to admit involvement in and convince them of the need to change Senomyx’s unethical testing methods.

After three letters, Nestlé finally admitted the truth about their relationship with Senomyx, noting the cell line was “well established in scientific research”.

Pepsico wrote: “We hope you are reassured to learn that our collaboration with Senomyx is strictly limited to creating lower-calorie, great-tasting beverages for consumers. This will help us achieve our commitment to reduce added sugar per serving by 25% in key brands in key markets over the next decade and ultimately help people live healthier lives.”

“If enough people voice their outrage and intent to boycott these consumer products, it can be highly effective in convincing Senomyx to change their methods”, Vinnedge noted.  “Otherwise, we will be buying Coca-Cola, Lipton soups and Hershey products!”

Note: This article originally stated, based on information provided by CGL, that Solae and Campbell soup were also partnered with Senomyx. However, LSN has since learned that while both companies were in the past partnered with Senomyx, they no longer have a relationship with the company.

( / 14.10.2011)


Column: Domme Turken

Er zijn heel veel mensen die, voor ze naar een ander land verhuizen, eerst de taal gaan leren van dat land. Die willen weten hoe de mensen in dat nieuwe land met elkaar samenleven, wat hun waarden en normen zijn.

Er zijn Turken die dat niet willen doen. Die het niet nodig vinden om zich voor te bereiden op hun leven in Nederland en die ook onze waarden en normen niet willen leren terwijl zie hier al jaren wonen. Nog erger, die beslissen dat anderen niet mogen inburgeren in onze samenleving.

Oude mannen die een jonge vrouw laten overkomen van het platteland van Turkije omdat die nog geloven dat vrouwen ondergeschikt zijn aan mannen. Een inburgeringscursus zou hen leren dat volgens onze Grondwet vrouwen gelijk zijn aan mannen.

Jonge jongens die door hun vaders gedwongen worden een meisje uit het herkomstland te trouwen. Waarom inburgeren, dan leren de meisjes toch dat gedwongen huwelijken verboden zijn in Nederland.

Vrouwen die hier al tientallen jaren wonen zonder dat zij de taal mogen leren van hun mannen. Die binnen moeten blijven. Die alleen de straat op mogen in een “tent met hoofddoek”en tien passen achter hun man moeten lopen. Maar waarvan wel verwacht wordt dat ze hun kinderen voorbereiden op een leven in onze moderne samenleving.

Een inburgeringscursus zou hen leren dat dit een onmogelijke opgave is.

Er zijn gelukkig  heel veel Turken die wel hun eigen verantwoordelijkheid hebben genomen en  goed zijn ingeburgerd. Zij zijn zo slim om te beseffen dat je alleen slaagt in Nederland als je onze taal spreekt en onze waarden en normen accepteert.

Zij zullen dan ook geen claim leggen bij de Nederlandse Staat.

Dat doen alleen domme turken, die hier eigenlijk helemaal niet thuis horen.

Die moeten geen claim leggen maar teruggaan naar Turkije

( / Rita Verdonk / 14.10.2011)