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Kosovo | Jordan | Iran | NSA | Domestic Terrorism? | Egypt | Canada | Mexico

EU studies Kosovo ‘organ traffic’ allegations: The EU mission in Kosovo has begun investigating allegations that Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) rebels engaged in organ trafficking.[bbc 28 jan 2011]

Jordanians protest government policies: Thousands of Jordanians have marched against the government’s political and economic policies, demanding the prime minister’s resignation. The demonstrations, which were held following the Friday prayers in the capital Amman and other major cities, were organized by the country’s main political opposition group, the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. It was the third consecutive Friday of protests in Jordan. The demonstrators denounced Prime Minister Samir Rifai’s economic policies, saying reforms introduced by him, which led to cuts in subsidies for basic commodities, have caused the soaring food and fuel prices, unemployment and poverty. [presstv 28 jan 2011]

There is no Proof Iran is Building Nuclear Weapons: Medvedev: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says the international community has no proof that Iran is building nuclear weapons. Medvedev told world leaders and top executives on Wednesday that he spoke recently to Iran’s president and encouraged him to demonstrate that his country’s nuclear activities are peaceful. Medvedev said, “the international community so far has no information that Iran is building nuclear weapons.” Iran has been hit with four sets of U.N. sanctions over its nuclear program, which the Iranian government says is for civilian nuclear energy. The United States and its allies suspect it is seeking nuclear weapons. Russia is among six world powers that have tried to get Iran to open up its atomic program to international scrutiny.[thestar, 26 jan 2011]

Google Comes Under Fire for ‘Secret’ Relationship with NSA: Consumer Watchdog, an advocacy group largely focused in recent years on Google’s privacy practices, has called on a congressional investigation into the Internet giant’s “cozy” relationship with U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration. In a letter sent Monday, Consumer Watchdog asked Representative Darrell Issa [R-Nutjob-CA] the new chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, to investigate the relationship between Google and several government agencies.[pcworld, via legitgov, 25 Jan 2011]

Explosive devices found, Concord homes evacuated: Several homes in Concord, California, have been evacuated after four suspected explosive devices were found in a home near Clayton Road and Maria Avenue. Police say that the shells appear to be old military-grade mortars. The Walnut Creek bomb squad responded, but then they called in the military. A bomb squad from Travis Air Force Base has been dispatched to the home.[abclocal, via legitgov, 27 Jan 2011]

Egypt turns off internet, Lieberman wants same option for US: Mother Jones has a fantastic play-by-play explaining the situation right now in Egypt, and there are reports that some people using Tor are able to skirt around the governmental blocks.[boingboing, 28 jan 2011]

Freedom now smells like tear gas, feels like rubber bullets: Always good to see the United States on the side of freedom and change. Nearly 30 years of rule by “emergency decree” and grooming your son to replace you does seem pretty democratic, if by democratic you mean Feudal. The Obama Administration sure sounds a lot like the Carter Administration, right Joe Biden? “I wouldn’t refer to him as a dictator.” Of course not, he’s our “friend”, just because he meets the definition, its no reason to go around truthfully labeling people. [firedoglake 28 jan 2011]

El Baradie joins anti-government protest in Egypt: Former chief of UN nuclear watchdog agency and Egypt’s reformist leader Mohamed El Baradie arrived in Cairo to join the ongoing protests against the country’s 30-year rule of President Hosni Mubarak. he anti-government activists have planned a massive rally in the capital Friday. The protesters want the government to end its 30-year state of emergency and pass a law preventing a president from serving more than two terms, and want the Interior Minister Habib al-Adly to resign.[sify, via legitgov, 28 Jan 2011]

Egypt: ElBaradei Now Under House Arrest: Egyptian security officials say Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei is under house arrest, the AP reported. Police stationed outside his suburban Cairo home told him he cannot leave the house after he joined tens of thousands of protesters in the capital Friday.[cryptogon 28 jan 2011]

Protests escalate as Egypt vanishes from the Internet: Authorities cut most mobile phone and Internet services in a bid to thwart the growing protests, but a founder of the April 6 movement spearheading demonstrations said it was too late to staunch the anger. Cell phone text messaging was cut late Thursday while Internet services, which had been patchy during the night, were completely severed early Friday, cutting off access to networking sites Facebook and Twitter — key communications’ tools used by organisers of the protests. Activists have circulated SMS messages and posted appeals on Facebook for fresh demonstrations “to demand the right to live with freedom and dignity.”[rawstory, 28 Jan 2011]

Gates heads to Canada for talks on war, weapons: US Defense Secretary Robert Gates departed for Canada on Wednesday for talks on the war in Afghanistan as well Ottawa’s plans to purchase F-35 fighter jets, the Pentagon said on Wednesday. Talks on Thursday with Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay would cover “ongoing US-Canada defense issues and areas of cooperation, including, of course, our mutual efforts in Afghanistan,” Morrell said. Amid sharp political debate in Canada over the government’s plans to buy F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, Morrell acknowledged it was “a hot button issue” that would come up for discussion. On the war in Afghanistan, Gates was expected to express appreciation to Canada for extending its military mission after lobbying from Washington. Despite a deadline to bring all Canadian troops home by July 2011, the government plans to send 950 military trainers to a base in Kabul until 2014 in a non-combat role to advise Afghan soldiers, following the withdrawal of its 2,800 combat troops from Kandahar in the south.[AFP, 26 jan 2011]

Mexican drug cartels go shopping for their guns in Arizona: In Arizona, everyone is freaked out about the violence by Mexican drug cartels south of their border, which was one of the reasons we repeatedly heard from leading state officials as one of their excuses for passing SB1070. But then it turns out that the ease with which you can buy a gun in Arizona is fueling that violence directly: “The seizure of more than 700 guns and the indictments of 34 people announced on Tuesday are further confirmation that Arizona has become an iron highway for weapons into Mexico, according to federal authorities. Many legal purchases by straw buyers at Arizona gun stores are being financed and orchestrated by Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel, federal officials said.”[crooksandliars 27 Jan 2011]

Drug violence edges closer to Mexican capital: The deployment of soldiers on the outskirts of Mexico City this month has sparked concern that the country’s drug wars are creeping toward the sprawling capital. Soldiers began nightly patrols on the streets of Nezahualcoyotl, a working class municipality of Mexico state, on January 18, two days after a shootout in a residential area left eight youths dead. Local police chief Victor Torres blamed the fighting on a split within La Familia drug gang, which is based in western Mexico, and suggested that the notoriously violent Zetas gang could also be involved. Violence has risen since tens of thousands of troops were deployed, mainly in northern and western areas, when President Felipe Calderon launched a military offensive on organized crime on taking office in 2006.[AFP, 26 jan 2011]

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