Wednesday, December 27, 2006

December 27th 2006 - Early Morning Round-Up

Selected early morning headlines @ 06:30 CET. With early morning bonus photograph right at the bottom of the post :-)

Reuters Alertnet

U.S. officials send minister out of Iraq - sources

26 Dec 2006 19:12:11 GMT  Source: Reuters

AMMAN, Dec 26 (Reuters) - A fugitive former Iraqi minister, with dual U.S. citizenship, flew to Jordan in an American plane after escaping from a Baghdad jail earlier this month, Jordanian Prime Minister Marouf Bakheet said on Tuesday.

"He came to Jordan as an American and on an American plane," Bakheet told reporters.

He did not elaborate or say whether Ayham al-Samarraie, an electricity minister in the former Iraqi transitional government of Prime Minister Iyad al-Allawi, was still in Amman.

Samarraie, who spent years in exile in the United States, was being held in Iraq on various corruption charges and was reportedly freed by armed, plain-clothes Americans.

He said he was being victimised because of his opposition to Iranian influence in Iraq and Shi'ite militias, who are accused of killing thousands of members of his minority Sunni Arab sect.

A Western diplomatic source familiar with the case and who requested anonymity said: "American secret service officials put him on board a U.S. military plane from Baghdad airport on Friday and brought him to Jordan".

U.S. embassy spokesman Lou Fintor in Baghdad said Washington was not involved in the disappearance of Samarraie, facing trial in up to 12 corruption cases.

"There is absolutely no truth to the reports whatsoever. ... We deny any involvement in Mr. Samarraie's disappearance from an Iraqi facility," he said.

Another Jordanian intelligence source said American security officials were involved in the operation to whisk Samarraie out of Iraq.

U.S. officials have said they were cooperating with Iraq in investigating how Samarraie escaped.

Samarraie had been detained at a police station on the outskirts of the Green Zone, the heavily fortified compound that houses the Iraqi government and the U.S. and British embassies.

He was convicted in October and sentenced to two years in jail for misuse of public funds. The conviction was overturned on appeal but he was being held pending the other corruption cases. (Additional reporting by Mariam Karouny in Baghdad)

 Other Alertnet Reports

PRESS DIGEST - Washington Post - Dec. 27
27 Dec 2006 04:00:49 GMT
Source: Reuters
WASHINGTON, Dec 27 (Reuters) - The Washington Post included the following items on its front page on Dec. 27. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. --- ...  Full article

U.S. ready to send 3,500 troops to Kuwait -sources
26 Dec 2006 23:19:37 GMT
Source: Reuters
(Adds details, comment, byline) By Kristin Roberts WASHINGTON, Dec 26 (Reuters) - The Pentagon is expected to send 3,500 troops into Kuwait to stand ready for use in Iraq, senior defense officials ...  Full article

Iraq court says Saddam should hang within 30 days
26 Dec 2006 23:03:11 GMT
Source: Reuters
(Adds comment on possible US troop movement) By Mariam Karouny and Ibon Villelabeitia BAGHDAD, Dec 26 (Reuters) - An Iraqi appeals court on Tuesday upheld Saddam Hussein's death ...  Full article

U.S. ready to send 3,500 troops into Kuwait-source
26 Dec 2006 22:33:45 GMT
Source: Reuters
WASHINGTON, Dec 26 (Reuters) - The Pentagon is expected to send 3,500 troops into Kuwait to stand ready for use in Iraq, a senior defense official said on Tuesday as the Bush administration weighs ...  Full article

U.S. Sen. Biden says intends to run for president
26 Dec 2006 22:03:15 GMT
Source: Reuters
(Adds Jimmy Carter quote paragraph 15) By Richard Cowan WASHINGTON, Dec 26 (Reuters) - Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden, one of the Democratic party's leading voices on foreign policy and a sharp critic ...  Full article

IRIN

IRAQ: Insecurity and poverty put pregnant women in danger

BAGHDAD, 26 Dec 2006 (IRIN) - For years Salah Hussein, 26, had dreamed of having a child, but he never imagined that his wish would be marred by the death of his wife in childbirth.
Hussein’s wife, Fadiya, died of complications during a delivery which, doctors said, were caused by malnutrition and the stress of living in a war-torn country.
“We are a poor family and I couldn’t afford to buy her good food. This was not my fault but the fault of this destroyed country in which the conditions of the health sector are worsening day by day,” said Hussein who works as a barber in the capital, Baghdad.
Dozens of pregnant women with life-threatening conditions are being admitted to Iraq’s hospitals every month.
Dr. Mayada Youssif, a gynaecologist at Baghdad’s Kadhimiyah hospital, believes that pregnant women are falling ill due to the insecurity and poverty that Iraqis have to live with as a result of the conflict.
“Insecurity has forced women to stay at home during their whole period of pregnancy, and they look for a doctor only when they are feeling really ill or feel, near to delivery time, that conditions have become too dangerous,” Youssif said.
The UN children’s agency UNICEF has said that Iraq's maternal mortality rates have increased dramatically over the last 15 years. In 1989, 117 Iraqi mothers out of 100,000 died during pregnancy or childbirth. That ratio has now increased by 65 per cent. Full article

The Guardian 

Saddam to hang within 30 days

Brian Whitaker

Wednesday December 27, 2006

Saddam Hussein could be hanged within days after the rejection of his appeal by Iraq's highest court yesterday.

The former Iraqi dictator was sentenced to death in November over the killing of 148 Shia Muslims from the town of Dujail in 1982. He is facing another trial accused of genocide against the Kurds - but that may now never be completed.

The death sentence from the first trial must be implemented within 30 days, the chief judge, Aref Shahin, said yesterday, hinting that it could come even sooner: "From tomorrow, any day could be the day of implementation."

Iraq's prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, a member of the Shia majority persecuted under Saddam's Sunni-minority rule, has already said he wants the execution to take place before the end of the year. Read in full

Early Morning Bonus Photo From Peace For Palestine

Housewife4Palestine posted this photo on Christmas Day under the following heading: A Day in Iraq: Best Trained Military in the World?

Well indeed .... Good Queston ... Head on over to her blog to read more about it.

markfromireland

cross posted to new site.

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