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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Libya Ready To Enter Ceasefire

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has said he is prepared to enter a ceasefire and negotiations provided Nato "stops its planes".

Col Gaddafi
Appearing on Libyan state television he said this must involve all sides and not only his forces who are fighting against rebels in the east.
Col Gaddafi said he did not intend to step down or leave the country and that Libyans could solve their own problems if Nato strikes end.
"(Libya) is ready until now to enter a ceasefire ... but a ceasefire cannot be from one side," he said.
"We were the first to welcome a ceasefire and we were the first to accept a ceasefire ... but the Crusader Nato attack has not stopped. The gate to peace is open.
"...let us negotiate with you, the countries that attack us. Let us negotiate."
Refugees fleeing Misratah
As he spoke, Nato warplanes hit three targets close to the television building in Tripoli in what state media claimed was an attempt to kill Col Gaddafi.
Poorly armed and trained rebel groups have been fighting since mid-February to end Gaddafi's 41-year rule.
In a marked contrast to previous speeches, where he called the rebels "rats" and promised to track the down house by house, Gaddafi urged the rebels to lay down their weapons and said Libyans should not be fighting each other.
:: There are reports that Libya's government has threatened to attack any ships approaching the western rebel-held outpost of Misratah.
Nato say pro-Gaddafi forces have laid mines on the approach to the harbour, and forced a temporary halt in humanitarian aid.
The port is also used to evacuate wounded to the eastern rebel capital of Benghazi.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Day of protests in Syria

Syrian regime is bracing itself for what could be the biggest day of rage protests since unprecedented unrest began a month and a half ago.

Protest organisers are threatening to defy a military crackdown and carry out nationwide demonstrations as in previous weeks.

The big difference this Friday is that the army is out in force. It has moved into a number of towns in an effort to quell the protests violently.

In the southern town of Deraa, the focus of unrests, tanks are reportedly roaming the streets. Residents say snipers are shooting anyone who leaves their homes. Water, food and electricity have reportedly been cut off.
Police units have been going house to house with a list of suspects they are hunting.
Despite the repression activists say their protests will continue and this week Syria's banned Islamist organisation, the Muslim Brotherhood, is calling on its followers to come out in support.
Syria's President Assad
Human rights organisations estimate more than 500 people have been killed in the unrest, 70 of them members of the security forces.
Protesters say soldiers have been executed by the military for refusing to obey orders. The regime has denied there has been any disaffection in the army's ranks.
The West has put Bashar al Assad, the Syrian president, on notice. Britain and America say the leader is at a fork in the road and are urging him to call off his military and institute reforms.
If his military responds to today's protests with more killings it will be clear which turning Assad has taken and the international community will face a challenge in deciding how to respond.
Syria lies on the faultlines of an explosively volatile region. Neighbours fear a slide into civil war or chaos. Hundreds of Syrians have already reportedly fled across the border on foot into Lebanon. A humanitarian crisis could follow if the situation continues to deteriorate.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Deadly US Tornadoes And Storms Kill 250

Dozens of tornadoes have ripped through the south-east of the US, killing at least 250 people in six states, in the deadliest twister outbreak in nearly 40 years.

The storms and tornadoes struck across Alabama on Wednesday afternoon and evening, flattening whole neighbourhoods.
US Tornado Arkansas
Friends down the street who did the same weren't so lucky - Mr Stewart said he pulled out the bodies of two neighbours whose home was ripped off its foundation.
The National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Centre said it received 137 tornado reports up until Wednesday night.
US President Barack Obama will travel to Alabama after the state was ravaged by dozens of tornadoes that left at least 162 dead, the White House announced.
"While we may not know the extent of the damage for days, we will continue to monitor these severe storms across the country," Mr Obama said.
"[We] stand ready to continue to help the people of Alabama and all citizens affected by these storms."
In scenes reminiscent of the kind of destruction wrought by the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the jumbled rubble of shattered homes and businesses lay entangled with crushed cars, uprooted trees and downed power lines.
At least 37 people were killed in the city of Tuscaloosa when the series of tornadoes and storms ripped from west to east across seven southern states in recent days.
Tuscaloosa Mayor Walter Maddox said the tornado cut a seven-mile path of devastation through the city of 95,000 inhabitants.
"I don't know how anyone survived ... it's an amazing scene, there are parts of the city that I don't recognise," Mr Maddox said.
Storm damage in Tuscaloosa, Alabama
"The amount of damage I have seen is beyond a nightmare. "I don't know if I have seen anything as destructive and tragic as what I have seen in Tuscaloosa."
Meteorologist Josh Nagelberg of AccuWeather said: "This could be the worst tornado in Alabama's history."
Local residents, though hardened to storms that frequently roar through the South's humid regions, described as unbelievable the destruction inflicted by the mile-wide twister that struck on Wednesday.
"When I opened my eyes, I had no roof," Angela Smith, 22, said.
Her husband Clay Smith had pulled a body from a neighbour's home, she said.
Smith and others told tales of survival, and many people recorded the devastation on mobile phones and video cameras.
"I made it. I got in a closet, put a pillow over my face and held on for dear life because it started sucking me up," Mrs Smith said.
boat carries passengers to Harrah's Casino, which was closed due to flooding, April 27, 2011 along the Ohio River in Metropolis, Illinois.
Most of the deaths were in Alabama, which has confirmed more than 130 fatalities, with others killed in Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia and Kentucky.
The storm system spread destruction from Texas to New York, where dozens of roads were flooded or washed out.
Over 1,400 National Guardsman were now involved in search and rescue as well as clearing storm-damaged areas.
Meteorologist Dave Imy, from the Storm Prediction Centre, said the deaths were the most since a tornado outbreak killed 315 people in 1974.
Two weeks ago at least 47 people died as storms tore a wide path from Oklahoma to North Carolina.
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