Pakistan cuts supply lines to NATO troops in Afghanistan

In a move seen as the latest fallout from Wednesday morning’s US attack on South Waziristan, the Pakistani government has ordered that supply lines to NATO troops in Afghanistan be immediately severed for an indefinite period of time.

The move comes as thousands of protesters marched through South Waziristan’s capital of Wana chanting “death to America”. Officials cited repeated attacks which had made it difficult to provide security for transportation across the only border crossing, but Pakistani media cited other sources who said the move came as the government feared retaliation from South Waziristan tribesmen if they didn’t respond to the US attack.

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EU is throwing habeas corpus out of the window

British citizens could be convicted in their absence by foreign courts for traffic, credit card or other criminal offences under plans approved in principle by the European Parliament.

The proposals would allow citizens to be extradited automatically under fast-track procedures at the request of another European Union country on the basis of a decision by the foreign court.

The overwhelming adoption by the Parliament of the proposals, which now go to the Council of Ministers, was condemned yesterday as “throwing habeas corpus out of the window”.

Philip Bradbourn, the Conservative justice and home affairs spokesman in the European Parliament, said: “This initiative would enable courts to pass judgments in absentia. It goes against one of the most fundamental corner-stones of British justice – that the accused has a right to defend himself at trial. If other EU countries want to go ahead with this proposal that’s their choice, but the British Government should have no part [of it].”

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EU, Dependent on Russian Energy, Balks at Georgia War Sanctions

Sept. 2 (Bloomberg) — European Union leaders refused to impose sanctions on Russia over the invasion of Georgia, acknowledging their reliance on Russian oil and gas at a time of faltering economic growth.

EU leaders took the symbolic step yesterday of suspending talks over expanded trade ties with Russia, fearing that tougher measures would expose the energy-dependent bloc to Russian retaliation.

Russia is the 27-nation bloc’s main supplier of oil and gas and third-biggest trading partner, giving it leverage at a time when the European economy threatens to tip into recession. Europe’s determination to maintain business links also undercuts U.S. efforts to line up allies against the reassertive Russia.

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EU threatens sanctions against Russia


The French foreign affairs minister, Bernard Kouchner, said sanctions were ‘being considered’. Photograph: Gerard Cerles/AFP/Getty Images

European Union leaders will discuss sanctions against Russia ahead of an emergency summit meeting, the French foreign minister said today, as western leaders increased diplomatic pressure on Moscow.

When asked what measures the west could take against Russia in the crisis over Georgia, Bernard Kouchner told a press conference in Paris: “Sanctions are being considered.”

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Cold War tension rises as Putin talks of Black Sea confrontation


Russia has criticised the US for using naval ships to deliver aid to Georgia

A new Cold War between Russia and the West grew steadily closer yesterday after the Kremlin gave a warning about “direct confrontation” between American and Russian warships in the Black Sea.

Dmitri Peskov, a spokesman for Vladimir Putin, the Prime Minister, declared that Russia was taking “measures of precaution” against American and Nato naval ships. “Let’s hope we do not see any direct confrontation in that,” he said.

Any attempt by countries in the West to isolate Russia would “definitely harm the economic interests of those states”, he said.

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Military help for Georgia is a ‘declaration of war’, says Moscow in extraordinary warning to the West

Moscow has issued an extraordinary warning to the West that military assistance to Georgia for use against South Ossetia or Abkhazia would be viewed as a “declaration of war” by Russia.

The extreme rhetoric from the Kremlin’s envoy to NATO came as President Dmitry Medvedev stressed he will make a military response to US missile defence installations in eastern Europe, sending new shudders across countries whose people were once blighted by the Iron Curtain.

And Moscow also emphasised it was closely monitoring what it claims is a build-up of NATO firepower in the Black Sea.


Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (right) meets with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin – the ‘real architect’ of the Georgia conflict – and the Security Council (unseen) in Sochi yesterday

The incendiary warning on Western military involvement in Georgia – where NATO nations have long played a role in training and equipping the small state – came in an interview with Dmitry Rogozin, a former nationalist politician who is now ambassador to the North Atlantic Alliance.

“If NATO suddenly takes military actions against Abkhazia and South Ossetia, acting solely in support of Tbilisi, this will mean a declaration of war on Russia,” he stated.

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The Orwellian nightmare is here

In the Queen’s speech this autumn Gordon Brown’s government will announce a scheme to institute a database of every telephone call, email, and act of online usage by every resident of the UK. It will propose that this information will be gathered, stored, and “made accessible” to the security and law enforcement agencies, local councils, and “other public bodies”.

This fact should be in equal parts incredible and nauseating. It is certainly enraging and despicable. Not even George Orwell in his most febrile moments could have envisaged a world in which every citizen could be so thoroughly monitored every moment of the day, spied upon, eavesdropped, watched, tracked, followed by CCTV cameras, recorded and scrutinised. Our words and web searches, our messages and intimacies, are to be stored and made available to the police, the spooks, the local council – the local council! – and “other public bodies”.

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Russia recognizes Georgia’s breakaway republics

MOSCOW, August 26 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s president signed decrees on Tuesday recognizing Georgia’s breakaway South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states and called on other countries to follow suit.

“This is not an easy decision, but it is the only way to protect people’s lives,”Dmitry Medvedev said in a televised address.

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NATO sends more ships into Black Sea

INSTANBUL/MOSCOW, August 23 (RIA Novosti) – NATO has sent a Polish frigate and a U.S. destroyer through the Bosporus to boost its presence in the Black Sea, where it is delivering humanitarian cargoes to Georgia, a source in the Turkish navy said.

“Two more NATO ships passed through the strait and entered the Black Sea on Friday evening,” the source told RIA Novosti.

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Bundesbank: Gold reserves more important than before

BERLIN, Aug 22 (Reuters) – Germany’s Bundesbank on Friday rejected calls that it should sell some of its gold reserves to help boost the slowing German economy, telling Reuters financial and political uncertainty make the reserves even more important than before.

“Gold sales are not a suitable way to sustainably consolidate the public accounts,” the Bundesbank said after a query about trade union proposals that it sell gold to fund some of a 25 billion euro ($37 billion) economic stimulus package.
“National gold reserves have a confidence and stability-building function for the single currency in a monetary union. This function has become even more important given the geopolitical situation and the risks present in financial market developments.”

The Bundesbank is the world’s second-largest holder of gold after the U.S. Federal Reserve, and has sold just 20 tonnes out of total reserves of over 3,000 tonnes in the past five years.

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