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December 4, 2009

Israel \”illegally annexing\” east Jerusalem, EU reports

Filed under: Archived,Israel — admin @ 5:00 am

Israel “illegally annexing” east Jerusalem, EU reports

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Israel
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Dome of Rock, East Jerusalem, 2001.
Image: Padres Hana.

A classified European Union report for 2009 says Israel is actively pursuing the annexation of east Jerusalem. The report accuses Israel of implementing an intricate policy including expanding Jewish settlements and demolishing Palestinian homes. It says policies “are undermining prospects for a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem and incrementally render a sustainable two-state solution unfeasible”; this is described as, “an integral part of a broader Israeli strategy.”

Israeli Foreign ministry spokesperson, Yigal Palmor, told AFP that the report was “dishonest”, “reflects the Palestinian propaganda” and “is based exclusively on Palestinian versions and figures.” This comes as EU foreign ministers prepare a statement on the Middle East. To allow for US initiatives, EU foreign ministers have not commented on the stalemate between Israel and the Palestinians over past months; but, diplomatic sources say there are “sensitivities” over a Swedish proposal to divide Jerusalem in any peace deal.

Cquote1.svg Israel is, by practical means, actively pursuing its illegal annexation of east Jerusalem by weakening the Palestinian community in the city, impeding Palestinian urban developments and ultimately separating east Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank. Cquote2.svg

Citing official Israeli statistics from the Ministry of Interior executive director of Israel’s HaMoked (Center for the Defence of the Individual) said Wednesday that, “Israel has stripped Palestinians of Jerusalem residency status last year at a faster rate than at any time in the history of the state”. 4,577 residents of East Jerusalem have had their residence revoked in 2008, this is more than half the total revoked in the past 40 years. The Jerusalem municipality places severe restrictions on issuing building permits for Palestinian houses in east Jerusalem, since 2000 over 600 Palestinian-owned structures have been demolished and Palestinians receive fewer than 200 of the 1,500 building permits needed per year.

Cquote1.svg Developments in east Jerusalem in 2009 were marked by the continued expansion of Israeli settlements and a considerable number of Palestinian house demolitions and eviction orders. Cquote2.svg

The 14-page annual report dated November 23 was drafted by European envoys and consuls in Jerusalem and Ramallah and presented to Brussels EU institutions a few days ago. This is the first time the annual report has been made public. Haaretz says, in the past, Israel has pressed the EU not to publish fearing it would undermine the European public’s view of Israel. The report was leaked to Israel’s Haaretz daily newspaper and obtained by AFP yesterday.

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What measures should the EU take to protest Israeli policy, help Arab residents and stop “settlement activity” in East Jerusalem?
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Cquote1.svg The expansion of Israeli settlements has sparked a trend of settler violence against the Palestinian population in East Jerusalem. Such criminal actions have been witnessed by Israeli police but are not met with adequate intervention. Cquote2.svg

The EU report claims the Israeli government and Jerusalem municipality discriminate against Arab residents with regard to building permits, health services, education, sanitation and more. Allegations of assisting private right-wing Jewish organisations, such as Ateret Cohanim and Elad, to alter the city’s demographics are included. The report advises sanctions against people and groups involved in “settlement activity”, and taking other measures to protest Israeli policy and to stop the harming of the Arab population, including an “EU presence at Israeli court cases on house demolitions or evictions of Palestinian families when there is a risk of demolition or eviction of Palestinian families”, and “information sharing on violent settlers in East Jerusalem to assess whether to grant entry to the EU.” The report also recommends implementing measures to strengthen the Palestinian National Authority’s presence in the city.

Archaeological excavations in Jerusalem near the Temple Mount are mentioned, suggesting “archaeology in this case has become an ideologically motivated tool of national and religious struggle carried out in a manner that modifies the identity and character of the city and threatens to undermine its stability.”

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China-EU financial relations are growing

Filed under: China — admin @ 5:00 am

China-EU financial relations are growing

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Friday, December 4, 2009

China
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Chinese President Hu Jintao met with the European Union’s leaders Jose Manuel Barroso and Fredrik Reinfeldt in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China. The EU leaders were in China to attend Monday’s twelfth China-European Union (EU) summit. Barroso said China-EU relations are “more mature, deeper” then before.

China-EU trading relations have grown over the last 35 years. The volume of trade between the pair reached US$425.58 billion in 2008, an increase of 19.5% over the prior year. Bilateral relations are far closer now than in previous years.

Swedish Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, said the Lisbon Treaty would help strengthen EU-China relations. Summit attendees also talked about nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament, human rights, climate change, combating financial crisis and financial investments.

Before the twelfth China-EU summit, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met with EU delegates in Nanjing, and the trading partners celebrated the 35th anniversary of diplomatic relations.



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Attack on mosque kills 30 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan

Attack on mosque kills 30 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Pakistan
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An attack on a mosque has killed at least 32 people, near Pakistan’s military headquarters in the city of Rawalpindi. There have been conflicting accounts of the attack, but police reported gunfire and at least one explosion at the mosque soon after prayers on Friday morning. It is thought that one or more suicide bombers may have been involved.

Location of the Rawalpindi district in Pakistan.

The attack took place at the Parade Lane mosque, in a part of the city containing several defence department builidngs. Security workers cordoned off the scene while ambulances rushed to take victims to the hospital.

“There was certainly more than one attacker, so there is a possibility that some of them may still be hiding in the vicinity,” said Athar Abbas, a spokesman for the military.

It is the latest in a series of attacks that have rocked Pakistan since the government launched an offensive against al-Qaeda and the Taliban in the northwest region bordering Afghanistan. On Thursday, a bomb blast at a police checkpoint wounded at least two policemen in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

On Wednesday, a suicide bomber killed two guards and wounded eleven other people at naval headquarters in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad. The same day, the military said troops killed fifteen suspected miltants, including a top militant commander, in the Swat Valley, the site of a major offensive earlier this year.



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American botanist Lou Jost discovers world\’s smallest orchid

American botanist Lou Jost discovers world’s smallest orchid

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Science and technology
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The Platystele, shown against a ruler.
Image: Lou Jost.

American botanist Lou Jost, one of the world’s leading orchid hunters, has discovered the smallest orchid in the world among the roots of a larger plant in a nature reserve in Bolivia, South America. The 2.1mm wide flowers have transparent petals, which are only one cell thick. The finding tops the previous record of Platystele jungermannioides with 2.5mm flowers.

Lou Jost discovered the new species accidentally, looking at a bigger plant from the Cerro Candelaria reserve in the eastern Andes. The reserve was created by a British organisation World Land Trust in partnership with Fundacion EcoMinga, for which the discoverer works. In fact, Ecuador is the place of discovery of more than 1,000 new species of orchids in the past century.

“I found it among the roots of another plant that I had collected, another small orchid which I took back to grow in my greenhouse to get it to flower. A few months later I saw that down among the roots was a tiny little plant that I realised was more interesting than the bigger orchid. Looking at the flower is often the best way to be able to identify which species of orchid you’ve got hold of – and can tell you whether you’re looking at an unknown species or not.” he said.

The finding was identified as belonging to genus Platystele, like the previous record holder, and is the 60th new species of orchid that Dr Jost had discovered in the past decade.



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