June 29, 2006

News Roundup On Palestine, US, Kuwait, and DRC

Occupied Palestinian Territories
- Israeli warplanes targeted the Interior Ministry as well as the Fatah party offices, causing significant structural damage in Gaza City. A 5-year old girl was injured in one of the blasts.
Eight members of the Hamas-led government and 20 MPs were kidnapped by Israeli Occupying Forces in the West Bank. The body of an Israeli settler taken hostage by armed Palestinian groups has been found in the West Bank.
- Egyptian president Mubarak said in an interview that Israel has yet to respond to an offer returning the Israeli soldier taken hostage on Sunday.
- Hundreds of Israeli websites were hacked into and servers shut down presumably in response to the current invasion of Gaza.
[Listen/Read/Watch an excellent debate between Dr. Norman Finkelstein and AIPAC official Josh Block on Democracy Now! (also included in the DN! podcast available on iTunes)]

United States
The Supreme Court ruled today that President Bush did not have "the constitutional authority to establish military tribunals to try enemy combatants and that the structures and procedures of the tribunals violate both the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Conventions." The case was brought forth by the former driver of Osama bin Laden who is currently held in Guantanamo Bay. The Bush administration responded saying that they will try to work with Congress within the limits set by today's decision to "determine whether or not the military tribunals will be an avenue in which to give [Guantanamo Bay detainees] their day in court."

Women candidates and voters participated for the first time in parliamentary elections, although initial results indicate that females who ran for office did not receive much support. "Some 28 women candidates had contested the 25-constituency race, and yet, by 2300 GMT, only male candidates had been returned."

Democratic Republic of Congo
"There are few places on earth where the gap between humanitarian needs and available resources is as large -- or as lethal."
- Jan Egeland, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, as quoted in a Reuters background report on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Some 1,200 people die every day in the DRC from a lethal combination of disease and hunger caused by the war that officially ended in 2003 and ongoing conflict and displacement; close to 4 million people have died since 1998 from violence and war-related illness, according to studies by US-based aid agency International Rescue Committee (IRC). "Congo is the deadliest conflict anywhere in the world over the past 60 years," said Richard Brennan, IRC's health director. [Source: Global Development Briefing by DEG]
[BBC guide to DRC conflict]

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