Daily Archives: March 7, 2011

Putin's playing piano, singing in English pays off for hospitals

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin


Russia, March 7, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM / RIA NOVOSTI) — Sponsors have been found to provide three hospitals with new medical equipment after Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin participated in a fundraising event, Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, said on Monday.

As reported by RIA Novosti on Monday, Putin in December joined world famous actors and entertainers in St. Petersburg at a charity event for children diagnosed with cancer, where he played the Russian song From Where Does the Motherland Begin on the piano and then sang Blueberry Hill in English with jazz performers.

Putin’s performance received a standing ovation.

“This was a charity event. When we made the decision on the prime minister’s participation in it, for us it was important that his presence would attract the attention of sponsors to three concrete medical institutions, two in St. Petersburg and one in Moscow,” Peskov told RIA Novosti.

Guests of the charity event, held in the Ice Palace in Russia’s second largest city, included Sharon Stone, Kevin Costner, Monica Belucci, Vincent Cassel, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Paul Anka, Mickey Rourke, Alain Delon, Ornella Muti, Ingrid, and Gerard Depardieu.

Peskov said that once questions started being raised in regard to donations, the government checked the status of the program.

“We became convinced that the sponsors are working and that work is continuing in providing the medical institutions with new equipment,” he said.

He added that the hospitals would receive the needed equipment within a few more months, adding that “it’s important to understand how charity funds work.”

Some news agencies earlier reported that no donations had been made to the fundraiser.  (*)


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Gaddafi insists al Qaeda is to blame for chaos

In an exclusive interview with FRANCE 24, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi repeated his assertion that al Qaeda was responsible for plunging the country into chaos and denied media reports of mass killings

March 7, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM) — Al Qaeda is responsible for the violent uprising in Libya, but Western media has overstated the extent of the political crisis and its casualties, leader Muammar Gaddafi told FRANCE 24’s Khalil Beshir in an exclusive interview on Sunday (3/6/2011).

“There have been at most 150 to 200 people killed. People should come here and see how many people have been killed. They can come and check among the population, and among the police and the army,” a seemingly collected Gaddafi explained.

Dressed in a long tunic and matching brown headscarf, Gaddafi insisted that international media reports were overlooking the broad support his government enjoys and were misleading people about the events in the country.

At times he appeared to harbour resentment for the criticism and sanction from international leaders. “Libya has very good relations with the United States, with the European Union and with African countries, and Libya plays a crucial role in regional and world peace,” Gaddafi told FRANCE 24.

In characteristic fashion Gaddafi sprinkled odd comparisons in his responses. He likened the clampdown on dissidents to what he called Israel’s crackdown of al Qaeda terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

“Even the Israelis in Gaza, when they moved into the Gaza strip, they moved in with tanks to fight such extremists. It’s the same thing here! We have small armed groups who are fighting us. We did not use force from the outset… Armed units of the Libyan army have had to fight small armed al Qaeda bands. That is what’s happened.”

In a monotone voice he repeatedly returned to his argument that al Qaeda was responsible for instigating the violence. But his attention peaked when the interview turned to the situation in Benghazi, the country’s second largest city now under rebel control.

Asked what he thought about France possible recognition of the rebel National Libyan Council that has been organized in Benghazi, Gaddafi shot back “That’s ridiculous: interfering in the domestic affairs of a country. If we were to interfere in what is happening in Corsica and Sardinia, how would [France and Italy] react?”

But he also tried to downplay Benghazi’s self-declared independence and the crisis that has rocked his regime. “These armed terrorists in Benghazi, including members of al Qaeda, did not have clear political demands,” he said.

Gaddafi rejected the idea Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez would play a mediating role between him and the National Libyan Council: “There is no problem here. This mediation does not exist for the moment. What we need is to get rid of these armed gangs.”  (*)

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Photostream : Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad meets Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (C) talks with Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga prior to a meeting in Tehran on March 6, 2011. (Photo by ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (L) hugs Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga as they attend an official meeting in Tehran March 6, 2011. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (C) hugs with Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga (R) as Iran's first vice-president Mohammad Reza Rahimi (L) looks on prior to a meetings in Tehran on March 6, 2011. AFP PHOTO/ATTA KENARE

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Iran, Kenya has broad areas for cooperation

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad meets Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga in Tehran March 6, 2011. (Photo : Official Web Site Of Iran's President )

March 7, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM) — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Sunday (6/3/2011) that Iran and Kenya have broad areas for cooperation.

President Ahmadinejad made the remarks in a meeting with Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga in Tehran.

He said that both Iran and Kenya are eager to further enhance their cooperation particularly in view of the ongoing international developments.

‘Iran and Kenya are in the same front. The common culture and viewpoints of both countries have made them get closer to each other,’ President Ahmadinejad added.

Referring to great potentials for increasing the level of cooperation between Iran and Kenya, he noted that Iran and Kenya can take effective steps in consolidating their bilateral ties through further cooperation in economic, political and cultural areas.

President Ahmadinejad emphasized the importance of paying heed to banking and customs infrastructure of both countries in order to enhance bilateral industrial and commercial cooperation.

“Kenya is one of the main centers for independence-seeking movements in Africa. Hence, it enjoys a special status in thought and culture of the Iranian nation,” he added.

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga for his part said that Kenya as a trading center in east Africa pays heed to broaden ties in all arenas.

He also said that his country is willing to further consolidate its political and international cooperation with Iran.   (*)

Source : The Islamic Republic of Iran’s Presidency website

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New Egypt PM names most of new Cabinet

An Egyptian man, right, carries a sign that reads in Arabic:"Arab Republic of Egypt, State security investigation device," after protesters stormed the offices of the state security building headquarters in Cairo's northern Nasr City neighborhood, Egypt, Saturday, March 5, 2011. Three weeks after President Hosni Mubarak's ouster, Egyptians are turning their anger toward his internal security apparatus, storming the agency's main headquarters and other offices Saturday and seizing documents to keep them from being destroyed to hide evidence of human rights abuses. (AP Photo/Ahmed Ali)

CAIRO, March 7 (KATAKAMI.COM / AP)  – Egypt’s prime minister-designate named a caretaker Cabinet on Sunday to help lead the country through reforms and toward free elections after the uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak, as reported by AP.

The changes include new faces in the key foreign, interior and justice ministries — a decision expected to be met with the approval of the pro-reform groups that led an 18-day uprising that forced Mubarak to step down on Feb. 11.

Meanwhile, a rally outside the Interior Ministry in Cairo, which houses offices of the hated State Security agency, was violently broken up.

Protesters have over the past two days rallied outside some dozen state security offices across the nation. In many cases, protesters stormed the buildings, including the main State Security headquarters in the Cairo suburb of Nasr City. The protests followed reports that agents were burning and shredding documents to destroy evidence that would incriminate them in possible cases of human rights abuses.

On Sunday, army soldiers fired in the air and used stun guns to disperse hundreds of protesters who wanted to storm the State Security offices inside the Interior Ministry in downtown Cairo. The protesters said they wanted to see for themselves whether the building had secret cells and to stop officers from destroying documents.

Thugs armed with rocks, firebombs and machetes also charged at the protesters, but it was not immediately known who had sent them. State TV said 27 arrests were made at the scene.

The State Security agency, which employs about 100,000 of Egypt’s 500,000-strong security forces, is blamed for the worst human rights abuses against Mubarak’s opponents.

Dismantling the agency has been a key demand of the protest groups that led the uprising.

In a move clearly designed to respond to such demands, Prime Minister-designate Essam Sharaf has named a new interior minister. Maj. Gen. Mansour el-Essawy, a former Cairo security chief, was expected to replace Mahmoud Wagdi, who has held the post for less than a month.

The Interior Ministry is in charge of the security forces.

El-Essawy, according to a report by the state news agency, pledged after meeting Sharaf that he would work to restore security and reduce the role of the State Security agency.

Sharaf met with 22 other ministerial nominees, including Nabil Elaraby, expected to be Egypt’s foreign minister. Elaraby will replace Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, who has held the job since 2004 but has been maligned by the protesters because of his criticism of the uprising in its early days.

Elaraby was Egypt’s U.N. representative in the 1990s and served as a judge in the International Court of Justice between 2001 and 2006. He was critical of the government’s crackdown against the uprising and was a member of a committee to advise protest leaders on their reform demands.

The new Cabinet also includes a new justice minister, replacing one who was considered a close Mubarak ally and whose dismissal was demanded by the opposition groups.

The new Cabinet has to be approved and sworn in by Egypt’s military rulers.

Nasser Abdel-Hamid, a protest leader and member of the Youth Coalition, said the new cabinet lineup was acceptable because it did not include Mubarak loyalists.

“Most of them are experts in their field, and have a good history,” he said.   (*)

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Posted by on March 7, 2011 in World News