The Bittersweet Player – Clear your browser cache to hear the latest play list.
(TCP)CHICAGO – Dateline Chicago
23 July 2011
Egypt – The Washington Post files this report: Egyptian security forces fired warning shots and tear gas canisters Saturday night to break up hours-long clashes that began when hundreds of protesters were prevented from marching to the Defense Ministry. The battles in Cairo marked one of the most violent episodes of unrest since President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February and underscored widening rifts between factions that stood united during the revolution. Witnesses said scores were wounded as demonstrators denouncing the country’s ruling military council engaged in street battles with supporters of the armed forces. Egyptian state television said as many as 150 people were wounded in the fighting, which reportedly included rock-throwing, sword-wielding and molotov cocktails. Some protesters in recent weeks have been calling for the ouster of the military council that assumed control after Mubarak was forced out. They say the generals have failed to hold officials accountable for crimes and have continued resorting to the kind of heavy-handed tactics that spawned the revolt. At the height of Saturday’s clashes in the Abbasiya district of Cairo, demonstrators began chanting “peaceful, peaceful.” Some demanded the immediate departure of the head of the military council, Mohammed Hussein Tantawi.
Libya – Reuters Africa Corps Files this report: Libya is ready to hold more talks with the United States and with rebels trying to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi, but the Libyan leader will not bow to demands he quit, a government spokesman said. Moussa Ibrahim said Libyan officials had a “productive dialogue” with U.S. counterparts last week in a rare meeting that followed American recognition of the rebel government that hopes to end Gaddafi’s 41-year rule. “Other meetings in the future … will help solve Libyan problems,” the spokesman told reporters in Tripoli late on Friday. “We are willing to talk to the Americans more.” He said Gaddafi would not leave his position nor Libya. Hours later NATO planes bombed targets in the capital, causing damage and casualties, Libyan state television said, without giving details. NATO said it had hit a “command and control node.” A Reuters witness heard at least six blasts early on Saturday, the largest to hit the capital in several weeks, four of them shaking the hotel hosting international media.
AFghanistan – The New York Times reports that, the number of insurgents reported killed in a NATO attack on a large encampment in a remote area of Paktika Province rose to 80 on Saturday, said Afghan officials, adding that they were concerned that there could be more undetected militant camps within the country’s borders. The camp, which was raided Thursday by NATO troops backed up by Afghan forces, accommodated considerably more people than most compounds where Taliban and other insurgents take shelter along the border with Pakistan. The discovery raised questions about how entrenched the insurgency had become in southeastern Afghanistan. NATO has conducted many raids along the border, but rarely if ever come across compounds big enough for dozens of insurgents, officials said.
Somalia – The Guardian UK files this report: This year alone, more than 100,000 Somalis have fled from the lack of rain in their country to shelter in what has become the biggest refugee camp complex in the world. They are escaping a war zone. The Islamic militants of al-Shabab, who control much of the country outside the capital, Mogadishu, and are fighting an insurgency against the transitional federal government, have vowed to keep most international aid workers away, despite the situation. The UN warns that 800,000 children could die from starvation, and last week declared a famine in some parts of the country. For thousands of desperate Somalis, the only solution has been a long march in the hope of reaching refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia.
24 July 2011
Libya – The WSJ files this report: Libyan opposition leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil said Sunday that Col. Moammar Gadhafi and his family could remain in Libya as part of a political solution to the five-month-old conflict, provided they give up power and rebel leaders can determine where in Libya and under what conditions they remain. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal during an unannounced visit to Libya’s rebel-controlled western mountains, Mr. Jalil confirmed reports from other rebel officials in recent days that Qatar has stepped up the flow of military aid to rebels in recent days. Mr. Jalil’s offer to let Col. Gadhafi and his family remain in Libya appears to be a significant reversal for the Libyan opposition leader, who is chairman of the rebels’ Transitional National Council, based in Benghazi. “Gadhafi can stay in Libya but it will have conditions,” Mr. Jalil said. “We will decide where he stays and who watches him. The same conditions will apply to his family.” Mustafa Abdel Jalil, during a recent rally in Benghazi.
Libya – In other news from North Africa The Telegraph files this report: Germany has said it was making available to the Libyan rebel National Transitional Council up to 100 million euros (£88 million) in loans for civilian and humanitarian purposes. “Because of Colonel Gaddafi’s war against his own people the situation in Libya is extremely difficult,” German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in a statement issued in Berlin. “There is a lack of means to build up the necessary structures and to relieve supply shortages, all the way from medical equipment to food. People are suffering more and more as a result, particularly in eastern Libya.” On the battlefield, the rebels said 16 of their men were killed in two days of fighting for Zliten, the last coastal city between insurgent-held Misurata and the capital. The insurgents have been trying for weeks to take Zliten, 120 miles from Tripoli and 40 kilometres west of Misurata. The rebels say they have chased the bulk of Kadhafi’s forces from Brega in the east and are poised to advance toward the capital from Misurata and their other western enclave in the Nafusa Mountains, southwest of Tripoli.
Iran – Xinhua reports that, Iranian officials on Sunday accused the United States and Israel of being involved in the assassination of an Iranian academic who was shot dead on Saturday in front of his house. Iran’s Majlis (parliament) Speaker Ali Larijani called the assassination of an Iranian scholar as a “U.S.-Zionist terrorist act.” “Yesterday’s U.S.-Zionist terrorist act that targeted one of the elites of Iran is another instance demonstrating the U.S. hostility (toward Iran),” Larijani was quoted as saying by the satellite Press TV Sunday. Larijani said that “the U.S. has resorted to terrorist acts because of failing in its adventures in the region.” The Iranian speaker also called on Iran’s security forces to respond to terrorists with “stronger will,” said the report.
Afghanistan – CNN International files this report: An 8 year-old boy was hanged by militants in Afghanistan’s Helmand province after the boy’s father — a police officer in the southern city of Gereshk — refused to comply with militants’ demands to provide them with a police vehicle, officials said. Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the hanging, saying “this action is not permitted in any culture or any religions,” according to a statement Sunday, which provided details of the incident. Karzai said he has ordered local authorities to root out the militants and arrest them “as soon as possible.” The boy was kidnapped Friday. It was unclear when he was killed.
Benin – BBC Africa Corps files this report: Pirates have hijacked an Italian diesel tanker off Benin in western Africa in an attack of the kind more usually associated with Somalia. Assailants boarded the RBD Anema e Core early on Sunday in the Gulf of Guinea, officials in Benin and Italy confirmed. Two of the 23 crew are Italians, the others Filipinos and a Romanian. Benin’s navy said it was following the hijacked ship while Italy’s foreign ministry liaised with its owner in Naples. Three pirates managed to board the ship 23 nautical miles (43km) south of Cotonou, the economic capital of Benin, Italian media said. “Everything is being done to trace the pirates as quickly as possible,” Maxime Ahoyo, commander of Benin’s navy, told reporters in Cotonou. The Gulf of Guinea has become increasingly important for its potential energy reserves which have attracted international interests, BBC West Africa correspondent Thomas Fessy reports from Dakar.