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  • The Scriptorium


    North Korea walks out of talks, South freezes aid

    Filed under: — Steve @ 4:16 am

    And more problems from North Korea.

    PUSAN, South Korea (Reuters) – North Korea stormed out of talks with South Korea on Thursday and Seoul froze food aid to its impoverished neighbor, as regional fissures over how to deal with Pyongyang’s missile tests widened.
    Pyongyang also appeared to have stood up to its closest ally, Beijing, which has sent a “friendship delegation” to North Korea.
    “So far they don’t seem to be interested in listening, much less doing anything,” U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill told reporters in Beijing. “I think the Chinese are as baffled as we are.”

    Original Link.

    War in the Middle East

    Filed under: — Steve @ 4:11 am

    Here are the latest headlines concerning the developments in the Middle East.

    US says Israel has right to defend itself
    ROSTOCK, Germany (Reuters) – The United States, reacting to escalating violence between
    Israel and Hizbollah guerrillas in Lebanon, on Thursday urged restraint on both sides but said Israel had a right to defend itself.
    In a widening of reprisals after Hizbollah guerrillas captured two soldiers in a border clash, Israel aircraft attacked Beirut airport and blockaded Lebanese ports.
    “We are urging restraint on both sides, recognizing Israel’s right to defend itself,” a U.S. administration official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    Lebanon braces as Israel responds to attack
    BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanon braced for spiraling violence on Thursday a day after Israel vowed a severe response to Hizbollah attacks in which two Israeli soldiers were captured and eight killed by the Syrian-backed group.
    A statement issued by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s cabinet after an emergency meeting on Wednesday night said that Israel held the Lebanese government responsible for the attacks and for the safe return of the seized soldiers.
    But it offered no details about what type of action would be taken.
    Hizbollah’s bold attack drew Olmert into a second crisis over captured soldiers. Israel is engaged in a military offensive in the Gaza Strip after Palestinian militants captured a soldier on June 25.
    Israeli aircraft attacked the Palestinian Foreign Ministry in Gaza City on Thursday, causing a fire in the building, witnesses said. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
    Israel killed at least 23 Palestinians in Gaza on Wednesday, including nine members of one family in an air strike that destroyed a house where the army said senior Hamas commanders were meeting.
    Hizbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said the soldiers had been seized to force Israel to release prisoners, but Israel state says the attack was an act of war and that it would not swap prisoners.
    “You don’t negotiate with terror organizations,” Gideon Meir, senior Israeli Foreign Ministry official, told Reuters.

    Syrian VP blames Israel for escalation amid worry over Israeli retaliation
    Syria’s vice president blamed Israel for the escalating violence in Lebanon and Palestinian territories Wednesday, and Arab countries worried over possible Israeli retaliation against Syria after the capture of two Israeli soldiers by its ally, Hezbollah.

    Ahmadinejad: World will soon witness the demise of Israel
    Tehran, Iran, Jul. 12 – Hard-line Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday that the world will soon witness the demise of Israel, the government-run news agency Fars reported.
    “In the near future we will witness the rapid collapse of the Zionist regime”, Ahmadinejad told a crowd in the north-western city of Jolfa.
    “The nations of the region will record the names of states that support the Zionist regime alongside the Zionist’s crimes”, he added.
    Ahmadinejad caused an international furore last year when he publicly declared that the Holocaust was a “myth” and said that Israel must be “wiped off the map”.