BAGHDAD, Iraq A purported spokesman for a Sunni insurgent group, the Islamic Army in Iraq, offered to open negotiations with the Americans in an audiotape aired by Al-Jazeera television on Thursday.
The tape was said to be from Ibrahim al-Shimmari, whose name has appeared in past statements by the group, which has claimed responsibility for a number of suicide bombings against civilians and attacks on U.S. troops.
The tape's authenticity could not be independently confirmed.
"We are prepared for any negotiations, whether secret or public, on the condition only that they are sincere. We have no objection to mediators with international credentials, and it is possible to exchange letters," the speaker in the tape said.
Al-Shimmari has offered such negotiations in past statements. He did not elaborate on the goal of any talks.
AMNESTY International has criticised a decision by the US appeals court preventing foreign terror suspects from challenging their detentions at Guantanamo Bay in the US legal system. The London-based human rights group said today that it "deeply regrets" the decision that the federal courts lacked jurisdiction to hear any habeas corpus appeals from so-called "enemy combatants" at the camp in Cuba.
"The right of all detainees to challenge the lawfulness of their detention is among the most fundamental principles of international law," Amnesty's US researcher Rob Freer said.
"That any legislature or any judge anywhere should contenance such stripping of this basic protection against arbitrary detention, secret custody, torture and other ill-treatment is shocking and must be challenged."
Amnesty said that of the nearly 400 detainees still held at the US-ru…
An Ethiopian man here in Omaha, NE attacked in his store: robbed, assaulted, tied up and his convenient store set on fire while he was in his store. The owner Kassahun Goshime was given ample time to take care of his business before. At least once at his residency and his store haters and jealous evils spray painted hate messages. At one place it is painted “go home nigger.” I don’t like to blame the victim here but if you see the local news clip; no one but the Jewish organization ADL was acting as outraged person instead of the victims lawyer or Ethiopian Community here in Omaha. Besides why didn’t Kassahun took step to protect himself and his family when he had known that he and his family were targeted long before this attempt murder against him took place? Ethiopians are not united here in Omaha or a few other cities I have lived. Some even go as far as sabotaging one another rather than growing together in a country where you have much more chances than you came from. This hate cr…
Rape Accusation Reinforces Fears in a Divided Iraq - New York Times: "A nurse who said she treated the woman after the attack said that she saw signs of sexual and physical assault. The woman, according to the nurse, could identify one of her attackers because he was not wearing a mask, as were the others, and could identify a second attacker by a mark on his genitals. The nurse would speak only on the condition of anonymity because she feared that Shiite militiamen would kill her for speaking out. The nurse said she was also wanted by the authorities, who believed the clinic she works at was used by insurgents. She said the clinic was simply for Sunnis in the Amil neighborhood who were too afraid to the visit the Shiite-run hospital. "
Al Jazeera English - Central/S. Asia: "Indian police have released images of two men believed to have left a Pakistan-bound train before two bombs exploded on Monday, starting a fire that killed 68 people.
The images were released on Tuesday and Sharad Kumar, police inspector-general, said: 'Around 11:30pm, these people got down and the blasts happened 15 minutes later.'
Speaking in Panipat, he said one of the men was around 35 or 36 years old, plumpish and dark, with a moustache."
U.S. health care spending seen doubling in 10 years | U.S. | Reuters: "By Susan Heavey WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. spending on prescription drugs, hospital care and other health services is expected to double to $4.1 trillion over the next decade, up from $2.1 trillion in 2006, a government report released on Wednesday found. Despite relative stability in recent years, nearly 20 cents of every dollar spent in 10 years will go toward health care, National Health Statistics Group economists said in their projections looking at 2006 to 2016. Last year's health spending should make up about 16 cents for every dollar spent, they wrote in the journal Health Affairs." Lead author John Poisal told reporters a major factor was an aging population as the "leading edge of the baby boom generation becomes eligible for Medicare," the nation's insurance program for those age 65 and older.
Greater spending for prescription medications is expected to fuel much of the increase, …
AP Wire | 02/20/2007 | Hopes for peace fading in Somalia: "MOGADISHU, Somalia - Somalis fled their violent capital by the hundreds on Tuesday, in cars and on foot, pulling carts heaped with belongings in a desperate attempt to leave an onslaught of mortar and rocket attacks behind them. Government forces and Ethiopian troops exchanged heavy fire overnight with insurgents, leaving 15 dead and 45 injured in the heaviest fighting this year in Mogadishu. Among those killed were a 4-year-old boy and a pregnant woman. A 12-year-old girl lost both her legs, doctors said. 'We cannot keep our children in this violent situation,' said Yonis Nor, who left the capital with his eight children and hundreds of other families. 'I am scared.' Mogadishu's escalating violence threatens to plunge Somalia back into the years of anarchy and chaos that dogged the nation after 1991, when warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre, igniting a 16-year conflict. Numerous attempts at res…