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Daily Archives: December 19, 2010

Iraq's Iyad Allawi says will join Maliki government

Iyad Allawi, former prime minister and head of the secular Iraqiya coalition, speaks during a joint news conference with Speaker of Parliament Ayad al-Samarai (not in picture), in Baghdad October 7, 2010. (Photo :Reuters)

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December 19, 2010 (KATAKAMI / Reuters) — Former prime minister Iyad Allawi, whose cross-sectarian coalition won the most seats in Iraq’s March election, said Sunday he will join Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s government.

Allawi’s decision, after weeks of wavering, cleared another potential hurdle in long and contentious negotiations between Iraq’s Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish political blocs to form a new government after an inconclusive election.

Maliki is to unveil his cabinet in parliament Monday.

The participation of Allawi and Iraqiya could help ease concern about renewed bloodshed as Iraq emerges from years of war and U.S. troops withdraw completely by the end of 2011.

Allawi, a secular Shi’ite, had wanted to unseat Shi’ite premier Maliki after his Iraqiya bloc won 91 seats in the new parliament with strong backing from Iraq’s minority Sunnis. He had warned that any attempt to marginalize his coalition could reinvigorate a weakened but still lethal insurgency.

Washington and Iraq’s Sunni Arab neighbors were anxious to ensure that Allawi’s bloc was represented in the government.

Allawi said he would accept a job as head of a national strategic policy council that was offered in a power-sharing deal involving Maliki and Kurdish president Masoud Barzani on November 10.

“We will accept the leadership of this council based on the agreements that have occurred and have been signed between me and Mr Barzani and Mr Maliki,” Allawi told a news conference. “So this is concluded. If there is any change to the agreements on power, then there will be a different story all together.”

Allawi had been indecisive about joining the government after the November 10 accord between the political factions that put Maliki on course for a second term as premier. The accord also returned Kurd Jalal Talabani to the presidency and gave Sunni Osama al-Nujaifi the speaker’s post in parliament.  (*)

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Pope Benedict XVI speaks about St. Joseph before Christmas

Pope Benedict XVI waves to the crowd gathered below in Saint Peter's square during his Sunday Angelus blessing at the Vatican December 19, 2010. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

 

December 19, 2010 (KATAKAMI / VATICAN RADIO) — Pope Benedict XVI spoke about the foster-father of Jesus, St. Joseph, during the last Angelus address before Christmas.

“On this fourth Sunday of Advent, we are filled with joy because the Lord is at hand. We heard in today’s Gospel about the promise made to Joseph, that his wife Mary was to bear a child who would save his people from their sins. This child would be called Emmanuel, meaning that from now on, God is truly with us, he lives among us and shares our joys and sorrows, our hopes and our fears,” he said in his English remarks.

The Holy Father said Saint Joseph is presented as a “righteous man” in the gospel passage, faithful to God’s law, and ready to do his will. For this reason, he becomes a party to the Mystery of the Incarnation, when an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and told him Mary was conceived by the Holy Spirit.

He called on the Church to venerate Jesus’ lawful father, because in him we see new man, who looked to the future with confidence and courage, who disregarded his own goals, but entrusted himself completely to the infinite mercy of the One who fulfils prophecies and opens time to salvation.

Pope Benedict concluded his address by entrusting all pastors to Saint Joseph, universal patron of the Church, urging them to quietly present Christ’s words and actions each day to the faithful and to the whole world.  (*)

 
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Photostream : Britain's Prince Harry pays tribute to Berlin Wall victims

Prince Harry (C) receives a history instruction by Axel Klausmeier, Director of the Berlin Wall Foundation, during a visit to the observation platform of the Bernauer Strasse Berlin Wall memorial on December 19, 2010 in Berlin, Germany. Prince Harry is on a two-day trip to Germany and spent the morning touring the memorial and the Brandenburg Gate. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Prince Harry (L) talks with British Ambassador to Germany Simon McDonald at Pariser Platz while visiting the Brandenburg Gate on December 19, 2010 in Berlin, Germany. Prince Harry is on a two-day trip to Germany and spent the morning touring sites including the Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Wall memorial at Bernauer Strasse. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Prince Harry (L), accompanied by Axel Klausmeie (R)r, Director of the Berlin Wall Foundation, visits the Bernauer Strasse Berlin Wall memorial on December 19, 2010 in Berlin, Germany. Prince Harry is on a two-day trip to Germany and spent the morning touring the memorial and the Brandenburg Gate. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Britain's Prince Harry attends a wreath laying ceremony at the Berlin Wall memorial at Bernauer Street in Berlin, December 19, 2010. The memorial site remembers people who died at the Berlin wall or as a result of attempting to cross the border between East and West Berlin. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

A hand-written message left by Prince Harry lies at a memorial to people who died trying to flee from East Germany into West Germany during the Cold War at the Bernauer Strasse Berlin Wall memorial on December 19, 2010 in Berlin, Germany. Prince Harry is on a two-day trip to Germany and spent the morning touring the memorial and the Brandenburg Gate. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

 
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Venezuela, US clash over future envoy

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez

December 19, 2010 (KATAKAMI / PRESSTV.IR) — Tensions have flared up between the US and Venezuela over Washington’s plan to send Larry Palmer as its new ambassador to Caracas.


Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez has warned that Palmer will be detained and put on the next flight home if he tries to set foot in Venezuela, the Associated Press reported on Saturday.

“He went ahead and said whatever he felt like saying, disrespecting Venezuela,” Chavez said in a televised speech. “How is he going to be ambassador? He disqualified himself.”

He went on to express his disapproval of the choice by saying “Give Mr. Palmer a coffee from me, and then bye-bye. He cannot, he cannot enter the country.”

The row over Palmer has simmered since August after he claimed that morale is low in Venezuela’s military.

He also linked Chavez’s government to leftist rebels in neighboring Colombian.

His comments came after Bogota accused Caracas of sheltering the leftist rebels on Venezuelan soil. Chavez denied the allegations and briefly cut diplomatic ties with Colombia over the row.

The US embassy in Caracas has been without an ambassador since Palmer’s predecessor finished his term in July.

The latest dispute came a day after Venezuelan lawmakers voted to let Chavez bypass parliament and rule by decree for 18 months. (*)

 
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Chavez to Reject US Ambassador Nominee

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez speaks during a meeting with United Socialist party members in Caracas, December 17, 2010. Venezuela's parliament gave President Chavez decree powers for 18 months on Friday, outraging opposition parties that accused him of turning South America's biggest oil producer into a dictatorship. The move consolidated the firebrand socialist leader's hold on power after nearly 12 years in office, and raised the prospect of a fresh wave of nationalizations as the former paratrooper seeks to entrench his self-styled "revolution." (Getty Images / REUTERS/Miraflores Palace/Handout )

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December 19, 2010 (KATAKAMI / VOA) — Venezuela’s president has vowed to reject the U.S. nominee for ambassador to the South American country.

Hugo Chavez said Saturday in a televised speech Larry Palmer will not be allowed to take up his post because the diplomat has been critical of Caracas.

Palmer upset the Chavez administration when he told a U.S. senator that morale was low in the Venezuelan military. Palmer also expressed concern about Colombian rebels finding refuge in Venezuela.

President Chavez says he has told Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro to detain Palmer if he tries to enter Venezuela.

The U.S. Senate is expected to confirm Palmer’s appointment soon.

On Friday, Venezuelan lawmakers voted to allow Mr. Chavez to bypass parliament and rule by decree for 18 months. That move was denounced by opposition rivals and the U.S. government.  (*)

 
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Chinese Premier Ends Pakistan Visit

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (L) is flanked by his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani (R) as he waves to Pakistan-China businessmen as they arrive to attend Pakistan-China Business Cooperation Summit in Islamabad on December 18, 2010. China and Pakistan concluded another 10 billion dollars' worth of deals on December 18, as Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Beijing would "never give up" on the troubled nuclear-armed Muslim country. (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images)

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December 19, 2010 (KATAKAMI / VOA) — Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao ended a 3-day visit to Pakistan Sunday.

Mr. Wen addressed a joint session of parliament, telling the lawmakers China’s stance is “firm and clear” that it is willing to work with Pakistan and the international community to make an “unremitting effort to combat terrorism.”

The premier said in his parliament address the “symptoms and root cause” of terrorism need to be eliminated.

Pakistan’s porous border with Afghanistan is widely seen as a haven for militants.

Pakistan and China signed a number of business deals worth billions of dollars during Mr. Wen’s visit.

Officials say the deals aim to promote cooperation in the energy sector.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani said Islamabad is extending China incentives to promote investment and development in the South Asian nation.

Pakistan says China has also agreed to provide $229 million to Pakistan to rebuild from floods that devastated much of the county, and another $400 million in loans.

 
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Photostream : German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg visits Afghanistan

In this photo provided by the German Government Press Office, German Chancellor Angela Merkel checks her mobile phone at the Transall prior she leaves after her visit on December 18, 2010 in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan. Merkel, who is on her third trip to Afghanistan, paid her respects to German soldiers currently deployed and the 45 troops who have lost their lives during the conflict. She is being accompanied by Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg and Bundeswehr chief of staff Volker Wieker. (Photo by Steffen Kugler/Bundesregierung-Pool via Getty Images)

Picture provided by the press department of German Government shows German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right as she talks to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, left, as German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, second right, and US general David Petraeus, second left, Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, look on during their meeting in Mazar-i-Sharif, northern Afghanistan Satuday Dec. 18, 2010. (AP Photo/Steffen Kugler,German Government)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) talks to German Bundeswehr soldiers during a visit to a camp in Kunduz province December 18, 2010. Merkel is visiting the German Bundeswehr armed forces troops with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. A lens flare causes the effect seen in the lower right corner of the photo. REUTERS/Bundesregierung/Steffen Kugler/Handout

In this photo provided by the German Government Press Office, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg attend a memorial service for a German soldier, who died yesterday, at Camp Marmal in Basar-e-Sharif during her visit of an ISAF soldier camp on December 18, 2010 in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan. Merkel, who is on her third trip to Afghanistan, paid her respects to German soldiers currently deployed and the 45 troops who have lost their lives during the conflict. She is being accompanied by Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg and Bundeswehr chief of staff Volker Wieker. (Photo by Steffen Kugler/Bundesregierung-Pool via Getty Images)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L), Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg and German Bundeswehr armed forces soldiers observe a moment of silence for fallen comrades during Merkel's visit in Kunduz, northern Afghanistan, December 18, 2010. Merkel is visiting the German Bundeswehr armed forces troops with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

 
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