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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
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Journal Archives

Iraq Hits Out At Turkey As Ties Worsen

By Agence France-Presse
Tuesday, January 24, 2012

BAGHDAD — Baghdad hit out on Tuesday at alleged Turkish provocations after Ankara said it would speak out if sectarian conflict erupted in Iraq, in a dramatic worsening of tensions between the two neighbours.

Despite improving ties and increasing trade between the pair in recent years, the rhetoric between Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan has become heated in the past two weeks as Iraq has grappled with a political crisis that has stoked sectarian tensions.

“All Iraqis are proud of belonging to their country and no other. Erdogan has provoked all Iraqis with his comments, particularly those he believes he is defending,” Maliki said in a statement released by his office on Tuesday, in a clear allusion to Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority.

“Sunni and Shiite Iraqis are brothers and do not need anyone claiming to defend them against each other,” he said.



WSJ Reporter Compares State Of The Union Seating To ‘Date Rape’

By Andrew Jones
Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Stephen Moore, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, made a peculiar analogy Monday evening during a televised discussion of the bipartisan seating arrangement at tonight’s State of the Union address.

While Fox Business Network’s Andrew Napolitano seemed frustrated by the seating, Moore decided to go in a wholly different direction, calling it “another campaign speech” for President Barack Obama.

“This idea of all the members, Republicans and Democrats sitting next to each other, that’s like date rape,” he said. “I don’t understand the logic behind that.”s



EU Oil Embargo: Sanctions Benefit Iran's Revolutionary Guards

The so-called oil weapon has been part of the arsenal of international power politics ever since the 1970s. In 1973, the oil-exporting countries in the Middle East cut back daily production in a bid to force the West to abandon its support for Israel during the Yom Kippur War. Iran was among the states involved in that embargo. Now, almost four decades later, oil is again being used as a weapon -- with the roles reversed.

On Monday, European Union foreign ministers agreed to ban the import of petroleum and petrochemical products from Iran from July 1, 2012. New investments in Iranian oil companies will no longer be permitted, nor can equipment and technology necessary for the oil industry be exported to Iran any more. Financial sanctions will also be strengthened, and a large chunk of the assets of the Iranian Central Bank will be frozen. In addition, the US Treasury has put the Iranian Tejarat Bank on its blacklist. The bank was "one of Iran's few remaining access points to the international financial system," according to the department.

The embargo is designed to force Tehran to abandon its nuclear program. Negotiations between Iran on one side and the group of the US, the UK, France, Germany, Russia and China on the other have been on hold for a year. Tehran's chief negotiator, Saeed Jalili, has made recognizing Iran's right to enrich uranium a precondition for a resumption of the talks.



India To Pay For Iranian Oil With Gold To Avoid U.S. Sanctions

Forex News | Yohay | Created: Jan 23, 2012 14:13 GMT; Last Modified: Jan 24, 2012 14:28 GMT

According to a new and yet unconfirmed report, India bought oil from Iran using gold. India certainly has the gold resources to fund the oil, while Iran is under pressure by the West, due the continuation of its nuclear program.

There were reports that officials have been floating this idea for some time, and now, as the EU finally decided upon an oil embargo on Iran, more details became available, yet still pend confirmation.

Oil is priced in US dollars, and bypassing the greenback posed challenges for both parties. Two banks are reportedly involved in this deal: India’s state owned UCO Bank and Turkey’s state owned Halkbank.

Both banks don’t have any business with the US and therefore are less vulnerable to sanctions. According to the report, an Indian delegation has spent time in Tehran and finalized the details of the transactions.



Hamas Chief Due In Jordan 12 Years After Expulsion

By Agence France-Presse
Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Khaled Meshaal, political chief of the Hamas movement that rules Gaza, is due in Jordan on Sunday on his first official visit since he was expelled in 1999, the government spokesman said.

“Khaled Meshaal will visit Jordan on Sunday, along with the Crown Prince of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Tamim al-Thani,” Rakan Majali, who is also information minister, told AFP on Tuesday.

“His visit is part of a new chapter in relations between Jordan and Hamas. But this will not be at the expense of the Palestinian Authority, which is the only legitimate representative of the Palestinian people,” he added.

“Reopening Hamas offices in Amman is not on the agenda. They did not ask for that anyway.”



AP Source: Las Vegas Casino Mogul’s Wife Gives $5 Million To Super PAC Backing Gingrich

By Associated Press,

NEW YORK — The wife of a casino mogul who contributed $5 million to an independent group supporting Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is matching that contribution, a person with knowledge of the contribution said Monday.

Miriam Adelson, the wife of Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson, was giving $5 million to Winning Our Future, a super PAC supporting the former House speaker’s presidential bid. The Adelson associate was not free to discuss the matter publicly and disclosed the contribution on condition of anonymity.

The Adelsons are close to Gingrich and have supported his political endeavors for many years. They have both made the maximum contribution to his campaign.

Super PACs can raise and spend unlimited amounts to support or oppose a candidate as long as they do not coordinate directly with a campaign. Super PACs came about after a Supreme Court ruling in 2010 significantly eased campaign finance restrictions.



Tax Lawyers Question Gingrich's 2010 Return (says avoided medicare tax)

By Kevin McCoy, USA TODAY

GOP presidential contender Newt Gingrich used a popular tax strategy that enabled him to avoid paying Medicare tax on most of his 2010 income, three tax lawyers told USA TODAY.

After reviewing the 2010 federal tax return Gingrich released last week, the tax experts said he may have left himself open to an IRS challenge.

"That could be the type of return that would be flagged for an audit," said one of the experts, Robert McKenzie, a tax attorney at the Arnstein & Lehr law firm in Chicago.

The experts, who also included Bryan Skarlatos, of Kostelanetz & Fink in New York, and Martin Press, of the Gunster law firm in Fort Lauderdale, said it would be difficult to pinpoint the amount of Medicare tax that went unpaid without additional financial detail. But they estimated it could amount to tens of thousands of dollars.



Protests Intensify As Mortgage Settlement Nears

By Andrew Stern and Aruna Viswanatha

Mon Jan 23, 2012 2:25pm EST

(Reuters) - As state and federal officials near a deal with top banks to settle claims of foreclosure abuses, left-leaning activist groups have stepped up pressure on the officials to reach a deal that demands more from the banks.

Around three dozen protestors from groups that include MoveOn.org, National People's Action and The New Bottom Line gathered outside the State of Illinois building in downtown Chicago on Monday morning in a blustery rain chanting "banks got bailed out, we got sold out."

The activists, some of whom held signs that said "make Wall Street pay" and "President Obama investigate banks now," also marched a few blocks east and chanted in front of President Barack Obama's re-election campaign headquarters.

Democratic state attorneys general and Obama administration officials are meeting on Monday in Chicago to discuss the terms of the settlement, and Republican state officials are expected to be briefed on a conference call later in the day.



Judge: Montana's Medical Marijuana Law Doesn't Shield Providers From Federal Prosecution

HELENA, Mont. — A judge has ruled that Montana's medical marijuana law doesn't shield providers of the drug from federal prosecution.

Friday's ruling by U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy is a new blow to the reeling medical marijuana industry that has seen tougher state restrictions and a federal crackdown over the last year.

Molloy says medical marijuana providers can be prosecuted under the federal Controlled Substances Act even if they are following state law. '



Atlanta Jewish Times Publisher Resigns Over Obama Assassination Column

January 23, 2012

(JTA) -- The owner and publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times has resigned and is seeking a buyer in the wake of a column he wrote speculating that Israel would consider assassinating President Obama.

Andrew Adler, in an email obtained by JTA, announced Monday that he is "relinquishing all day-to-day activities effective immediately" following the publishing of his opinion piece saying that Obama's assassination was among Israel's options in heading off a nuclear Iran.

Adler named staff writer John McCurdy as interim managing editor until a replacement can be found. Adler said he would publish an apology in his next edition and that reaction from readers had been overwhelmingly negative.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta said earlier Monday that it would suspend its relationship with the Atlanta Jewish Times until Adler removed himself from the newspaper's operations. The federation also called on Adler to sell the weekly.


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