Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on Thursday alleged that al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden is behind the uprising in his country. Gaddafi made the comments in a phone call to Libyan state TV. "People were getting all their daily needs ... why did you have to get involved with the Bin Laden ideology," Gaddafi asked. The Libyan leader added that unrest the unrest in his country is "not 'people's power,'" but "international terrorism" in action. He reiterated the contention that protesters were using drugs. "People with any brains wouldn't take part in these protests," said Gaddafi, adding that demonstrators were kids who obtained "illegal" pills. Gaddafi repeatedly compared himself to England's Queen Elizabeth II, saying he was a merely symbolic leader. The Libyan leader said that he did not know when the violence in the country would end. He did, however, offer his condolences to the families of four Libyan security officers killed during the uprising, asking if bin Laden would compensate them.
II. WASHINGTONPOST - NATO vows to stay out of Libyan conflict
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says the Western military alliance will not intervene in the Libyan conflict. Fogh Rasmussen said Thursday the alliance has received no such requests and that in any case any intervention must be based on a United Nations mandate. He made the comments in Kiev where he was on an official visit meeting with Ukrainian officials. Fogh Rasmussen said the events in Libya do not threaten any NATO members, but the conflict could spark a mass refugee crisis. The popular uprising in Libya has been violently suppressed, leading some to believe the country could be moving toward civil war.
III. VOICEOFRUSSIA - Russia, NATO to continue dialogue on missile defense
Russia should either join the European missile defense system or receive guarantees that this system will be no threat to its strategic interests. The statement came from Russia’s ambassador to NATO Dmimtry Rogozin, who has recently been appointed as the Kremlin’s special representative for missile defense talks with NATO member-states. The alliance insists on two separate but coordinated missile defense systems, arguing that it cannot share the responsibility for protecting its member-states with any third party. NATO’s Deputy Secretary General James Appathurai remarked that Russia too would hardly want to let anybody else defend its security. Commenting on the issue, Dmitry Rogozin said: If we really think, and military experts confirm, that Russia’s strategic nuclear potential may be at risk during the third or fourth deployment phase of the European missile defense, then we have two options. Either Russia should be inside this system and have real guarantees that it won’t be directed against Russia, or, if this system is fully controlled by NATO and Russia is not integrated into it, then it should have certain numerical, technical and geographic restrictions. In short, we should either be inside or be sure that this system will never be used against our national interests. The missile defense system proposed by NATO has an element of uncertainty also because some of its components are to be carried by ships sailing freely around Europe and thus posing a threat to Russia’s nuclear potential. A special group under Dmitry Rogozin will be created soon to coordinate missile defense talks with NATO. We are at the beginning of the road, but we already know what kind of missile defense we do not want, Mr. Rogozin told reporters.
IV. CANADIANPRESS - U.S. Ambassador chastises Kosovo media, asks regulatory body to take action
The U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo has asked the top media regulatory body to sanction three media outlets for publishing what he said were private text messages exchanged during a vote to elect the country's president. Christopher Dell said on Wednesday that Albanian language newspapers Koha Ditore, Gazeta Express and KTV television "crossed the line in transmitting private communications." The outlets published photos of the exchanges between newly elected President Behgjet Pacolli and his associate. The three outlets said the messages show Dell encouraging Pacolli to run the third round of the vote in the assembly on Tuesday although he failed to secure the needed majority in the previous two rounds.
Thousands of Palestinians on Thursday rallied in the West Bank against the US veto of a UN Security Council resolution criticising Israeli settlement building. In Nablus, at least 5,000 people, many waving flags or holding banners, lashed out at President Barack Obama's administration for nixing the resolution, which criticised Jewish settlement activity. "The US veto puts Israel above international law," some chanted during the demonstration in the northern West Bank town. "We came here today to say no to the US veto, the veto of shame," said Mahmud Ishtayeh, a local official in the Fatah party of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas. Another 1,500 people demonstrated in Ramallah against what was the first US veto since Obama took office. The resolution, drafted by the Palestinian leadership in an attempt to pressure Israel to halt settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, was supported by all 14 other members of the Security Council. The United States denied its veto should be interpreted as support for Israeli settlement construction, but said it did not believe the United Nations was the best place to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Palestinian officials have said they will launch a new bid for UN condemnation of Israeli settlement building, bringing a resolution before the General Assembly. Demonstrators in Nablus and Ramallah also called for unity between the Palestinian Authority, which controls the West Bank, and Hamas, the movement that rules the Gaza Strip. Hamas and Fatah, which dominates the Palestinian Authority, are longstanding rivals, but tensions between them boiled over in 2007, when the Islamist group ousted its Fatah opponent from Gaza. Successive reconciliation talks between the two sides have failed.
VI. FINANCIALMIRROR - Cyprus: Bi-communal business partnerships grants programme announced
The Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) and the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (KTTO) will sign tomorrow a bi-communal business partnerships grants scheme aimed at supporting bi-communal consortia that wish to form bi-communal business partnerships. According to an announcement issued here by CCCI, in the framework of the “ECONOMIC INTERDEPENDENCE” project, supported by UNDP-ACT and sponsored by USAID, subsidies amounting to 174,493 euros will be awarded to five successful consortia consisting of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot partners. The winning proposals will work across a range of business sectors ranging from the establishment of bi-communal radio stations and research centres to jointly producing traditional Cypriot lace and providing hearing conservation services. The bi-communal business partnerships grant programme is an activity of the Economic Interdependence project which aims to promote economic interdependence between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities and contribute to the business and economic relations between the two communities.
VII. ORTHODOXWAYOFLIFE - Work and the Burdens of Daily Life
Our daily lives are of necessity filled with daily chores and work. This is our duty, to do them and to do them well. All our activities, including our work, even household chores, must be performed so that we are not distracted from thoughts about God. We cannot assume that because it is work, we do not have to think about God. God needs to be a part of every aspect of our lives. But, the reality is for most of us, when we are off to work, we are also away from thinking about God. This is wrong and dangerous. Saint Theophan reminds us, Life's everyday affairs, upon which the foundation of the home and society depend, are appointed by God, and carrying out them is not a desertion to the sphere of the ungodly, but a continuation of Godly affairs. We need to carry our both our household duties and our work in a way that we carry our the commandments given to us by God. Do everything as if you are doing God's work. This is the truest reality. All you do must be done for God. Saint Theophan says, Begin doing things with the knowledge that doing them in this way is a commandment, and do them as God's commandment is to be done. Once you have set yourself to this, there is nothing that will turn your thoughts away from God; on the contrary, everything will bring them closer to Him. All of us are servants of God. He has appointed each person a place and occupation, and He looks to see how each one of us carries it out. He is everywhere. He looks after you, too. Keep this in your thoughts and do each thing as if it were entrusted to you directly by God, no matter what it is. It is our obligation to God to carry out all our activities with attentiveness and enthusiasm. Saint Theophan says that if we perform Godly work in a carless manner it is cursed. Nor, do we want to carry worry into our work. Worry only disturbs our minds and keeps us from focusing properly on the task at hand. Saint Theophan says, Have enthusiasm for your work and, performing it with utmost care, expect success from God, dedicating the task to Him, no matter how small it is, and you will get rid of worry.