segunda-feira, 5 de julho de 2010
CONAKRY (Reuters) - A protest passed off peacefully on Monday, after Guinea's caretaker government banned demonstrations against alleged fraud in the presidential election, now set for a run-off.
Former Prime Minister Cellou Dalein Diallo won the June 27 poll with nearly 40 percent of the vote and will go forward into the July 18 run-off with second-placed Alpha Conde, according to provisional results released last week.
But losing parties in the poll, widely seen as the West African state's best chance in half a century of securing democratic civilian rule, said they have evidence of rigging such as ballot-stuffing and falsified voters' cards.
"I will not accept any public order disturbance by people contesting things for which they have no proof and while the Supreme Court has not pronounced its verdict," caretaker prime minister Jean-Marie Dore told state television late on Sunday.
Candidates have eight days from Monday to lodge formal complaints with the Supreme Court, which will rule on the validity of the election within three days.
A Reuters witness said a peaceful group of several dozen protesters, mainly women dressed in red, crossed the centre of the capital city, holding placards accusing interim head of state Sekouba Konate of preventing a free election. Security forces were in close attendance.
The party of third-placed Sidya Toure, a former prime minister, is among those who called rallies in the central Kaloum district for Monday. Many of the demonstrators said they supported Toure's Union of Republican Forces (UFR) party.
APPEAL FOR CALM
Conde, whose party, the Assembly of Guinean People (RPG), has complained of malpractice at some polling stations, said he was the victim of fraud in Conakry and elsewhere.
"There were many false voting cards ... but I want peace in this country and I am asking the people to stay calm," he told Reuters late on Sunday.
Election observers from the European Union and the Carter Center said they were broadly satisfied with the vote, while noting irregularities caused by logistical problems.
Guinea is the world's top exporter of the aluminium ore bauxite and a handful of mining firms are jockeying for position to exploit its iron ore resources.
A smooth poll would help draw a line under a turbulent 18 months of military rule since the death of President Lansana Conte in 2008 and open the door to further aid and investment.
Yet analysts point to decades of mismanagement in the civil administration and warn efforts to build the economy and a functioning political system could take years and require international help.
The Guinean army, with a reputation for poor discipline that was reinforced last September when security forces massacred pro-democracy marchers in Conakry, has maintained a discreet security presence during and since Sunday's election.
Sekouba Konate, the soldier who took control of the country after former junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara was wounded in an assassination attempt late last year, has issued promotions to army officers for their part in securing the poll.
MOSCOW, July 5 (RIA Novosti) - Russian aircraft makers MiG and Sukhoi have spoken against the sale of RD-93 jet engines to China citing the threat of strong competition from cheaper Chinese models of fighter aircraft.
Russia's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport planned to sign a contract with China on the delivery of 100 RD-93 engines for FC-1 fighters, which are direct competitors of the famed MiG-29 Fulcrum aircraft.
Mikhail Pogosyan, the head of the MiG and Sukhoi corporations, said the re-export of technologies must be approved by the original manufacturers to avoid unfair competition.
The FC-1 Xiaolong (Fierce Dragon) is a single-engine multi-role fighter aircraft developed jointly by China and Pakistan. It is designated as JF-17 Thunder by Pakistan.
A Russian aircraft industry source said the FC-1 is inferior to MiG-29 in performance, but sells for about $10 million, while the price of a MiG-29 is about $35 mln.
MiG-29s are currently competing with FC-1s in an Egyptian tender on the delivery of 32 fighters. In addition, Egypt has launched negotiations with Pakistan on the licensed production of FC-1 aircraft.
Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) approved the re-export of RD-93 engines to Egypt as part of the FC-1 fighter package in November 2007.
Rosoboronexport has said a decision to allow the re-export of technology could be made only by the government, and the manufacturers have never been consulted on the issue.
Russian weapons manufacturers are also facing increasing competition from China on other arms markets.
Russian S-300 and Chinese HQ-9 air defense systems have been competing in a Turkish tender since 2007.
Russian and Chinese armored personnel carriers competed in an Indonesian tender in 2007.
In 2009, Myanmar chose Russian Mig-29s over Chinese J-10s and FC-1s.
Russia has also accused China of producing its own copycat versions of some Russian-made weaponry, including the Su-27SK fighter jet, in violation of intellectual property agreements.
Japanese auto giant Toyota Motor Corp. plans to recall almost 4,000 of its Lexus luxury vehicles in line with the company's global program of fixing a problem with faulty valve springs, Toyota Motor Corp. said on Monday.
The company said last week that it was planning to recall 270,000 vehicles due to faulty valve springs in some V8 and V6 engines. Due to slight variations during the manufacturing process, some foreign material may have damaged the valve springs resulting in potential breakage.
"Approximately 4,000 vehicles are potentially affected in Russia, including the GS450h, GS460, LS460, LS460l, LS600hl, which were on the whole produced in 2006-2008," Toyota's Russian subsidiary told RIA Novosti.
There is a remote possibility that an abnormal engine noise or idling may occur. In extremely rare instances, the engine may stop while the vehicle is in operation.
Toyota said it was moving quickly to resolve the situation and was currently waiting for replacement parts. "We are planning to launch a service program within the next several days," the company said.
The overall number of claims received by Toyota throughout the world amounts to 220, despite the fact that there were no accidents, while 44 drivers said their engines stalled while they were driving.
The overall number of Toyota's recalled has reached nine million since 2009. Toyota also stopped selling its Lexus vehicles in the United States two weeks ago due to fuel leaks.
YouTube has been forced to fix a flaw allowing hackers to bombard users with fake pop-up messages and redirect them to adult sites.
Hackers placed code in the comments section, under targeted videos, that would run when people watched the clip.
In some cases, a pop-up screen appeared reporting that the Canadian singer, Justin Bieber, had died in a car crash.
Google, which owns YouTube, said that it had fixed the problem "about two hours" after it was discovered.
"We took swift action to fix a cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability on youtube.com," a spokesperson said.
"Comments were temporarily hidden by default within an hour, and we released a complete fix for the issue in about two hours.Nasty attacks
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities are relatively simple attacks that allow hackers to place code into web pages.
Security experts said that although in most cases the code was relatively benign, it has been used for more malicious purposes.
"The thing with a cross-site scripting attack is that it will appear that it is a message being posted by that website, which gives it a certain legitimacy, Graham Cluley of security firm Sophos told BBC News.
"It could be used to show a message that tells you to update your password; it could link to a malicious website; or it could attempt to phish you".
Phishing is a common tactic used by cybercriminals and involves using fake websites to lure people into revealing details such as bank accounts or login names.
"I've seen nasty XSS attacks that are used to fake whole login screens and we know how many people use same passwords for multiple accounts," said Bojan Zdrnja of the Internet Storm Centre in a blog post.
Mr Cluley said that responsibility for these kinds of vulnerabilites was down down to how securely a website was written.
"Web programmers need to be much more careful with their code".
Google said it was "continuing to study the vulnerability to help prevent similar issues in the future".
When the vulnerability was first reported, rumours suggested that YouTube was infected with a virus.
HOHENFELS, Germany -- Tank trails and roads cut across the 40,000 acres of the Hohenfels training area, dusty brown ribbons that vehicles use to carry Soldiers, munitions and equipment through a simulated war zone for multinational military training.
While the words "military training" evoke many different mental images, a flourishing symbiotic relationship with the natural environment is probably not one of the most common. However, according to Dr. Albert Boehm, an environmental engineer with the U.S. Army Garrison Hohenfels Department of Public Works Environmental Division, the Hohenfels training area is a haven for many threatened and endangered species of plants and animals that have a home not in spite of, but actually because of the presence of military training.
According to Boehm, the training area -- free from agricultural, residential and economic development -- provides habitats no longer found outside its borders.
"Because of the military training here this area is representative of what it was like decades ago," said Boehm. "There are very few areas left that are similar".
And it is not just keeping modern civilization out that has created a flourishing ecosystem; Boehm said the training itself actually aids in maintaining biodiversity.
"Almost every meter off post is used for agriculture, forestry or other economic development, here you have some disorder," said Reiner Buettner, a zoologist at the USAG Hohenfels Environmental Division.
For example, Buettner said disturbances such as potholes formed by tanks end up creating a vital habitat for the endangered yellow-bellied toad. Hohenfels is home to one of the largest populations of this species that, due to modern practices, cannot find a viable habitat in many other locations.
The Hohenfels training area is also home to one of the largest populations of woodlarks, another endangered species that according to Buettner is close to extinct in the rest of Bavaria. The birds are dependent upon the naturally haphazard habitat that occurs in transition zones between open landscapes and forests, a habitat not found many places outside the training area where the line between farmland and woodland is kept strict and clean.
The yellow-bellied toad and the woodlark are just two examples; many habitats that endangered species rely on are rarely found off-post and thus Hohenfels offers these species a kind of oasis, said Buettner.
In all, the training area is home to more than 3,000 species of plants, animals and insects with close to 900 of those considered endangered or threatened. Scientists with the Environmental Division said it is believed some can now be found only in the Hohenfels training area.
The level of diversity in the training area is considered so significant that in 2001 large sections were designated as a European Flora Fauna Habitat.
"Up to 20 years ago we had a negative view of military training (as it affects the environment), but we now know that the training actually keeps the diversity," said Boehm. "It is a very important balance between military training and nature conservation".
To maintain that balance, Boehm and other members of the Environmental Division administer the garrison's natural resources program and ensure the area is in compliance with the reams of regulations that come along with the Flora Fauna Habitat designation.
Recently an Environmental Performance Assessment System team from Installation Management Command-Europe inspected Hohenfels' environmental program and listed the natural resources program as one of the division's top performers, noting its exceptional work managing biodiversity.
According to Boehm, effectively managing the natural environment means closely working with military training units.
"Our number one goal is to support the training and we work together to balance activities in the box with their environmental impact," said Boehm.
That means not only constantly monitoring the habitats and species on post, but also suggesting ways units can minimize the impact on them or finding ways to compensate for an impact that is unavoidable, said Boehm.
Capt. James Davis, Joint Multinational Readiness Center Troop Construction Program, coordinates engineering projects in the training area and said the Environmental Division is one of the first places he calls when he has a new project.
Davis said he works with the division to get feedback on how a project will impact the land and vegetation.
"I think the Army has learned over time that you have to take care of the training environment. It is important to look to the future when acting so when you look 20 years down the road it will still be viable," said Davis.
"In most cases environmental requirements and military requirements go together," said Buettner. "For example, the military wants to keep the grass low for visibility (so tanks can see things like sink holes or markers designating off-limits areas) and environmental wants to keep the grass low to help support habitats and species that need new growth vegetation".
"What we've found out is that protecting an area doesn't mean you put a fence up and don't use it, but keep it as it is used to protect the species," said Boehm. "They are connected and it is our job to find a way to fulfill both needs".
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - An East African regional bloc promised on Monday to send an additional 2,000 peacekeepers to Somalia, where an almost powerless government is hemmed into a few streets of its capital by Islamist militants.
AMISOM, an African Union (AU) peacekeeping force of 6,100 Ugandan and Burundian troops, is struggling to hold back the rebels. The AU has repeatedly asked for U.N. peacekeepers to be sent in but has only been given funding.
"The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) decides to deploy 2,000 peacekeepers under AMISOM to Somalia immediately," Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin said, reading an official communique to delegates at a summit of the East African body in the Ethiopean capital Addis Ababa.
The statement did not say which countries would contribute more troops. Diplomats on the summit's sidelines told Reuters Uganda was likely to supply the biggest share of reinforcements.
The IGAD meeting was attended by heads of state from Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, Uganda and Djibouti. The bloc also includes Eritrea but its membership is suspended.
Western diplomats fear Somalia could emerge as a launch pad for attacks in the Horn of Africa and further afield. Somalia's al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab militants have previously threatened to hit Uganda and Burundi for their troop contributions.
Residents of Somalia's mortar-scarred capital Mogadishu said several insurgents were killed in fighting on Monday between the two Islamist groups, al Shabaab and Hisbul Islam, which control much of the city and central and southern Somalia.
"At least 57 civilians died and 146 others were injured in the last two weeks in the north of Mogadishu," Ali Yasin Gedi of the Elman rights group told Reuters.
20,000 TROOPS WANTED
The IGAD leaders, some of whom host Somali refugees in their countries, said they eventually wanted 20,000 peacekeepers from the AU and the United Nations in the country. A U.N. resolution bans Somalia's neighbours -- Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti -- from contributing forces to the hard-pressed AU peacekeepers.
Djibouti planned to send 450 soldiers to Somalia in January to boost the AU mission, but the resolution tied the hands of the small Red Sea country. The region's leaders suggested the ban should be reconsidered.
"The Summit embraces the need to mobilise Somali forces internally with possible intervention by neighbouring countries including (the East African Community)," they said.
A confidential report issued following a meeting of East African chiefs of defence staff last month, which was seen by Reuters, also recommended the ban be lifted.
Rebel commanders vowed to launch a holy war against the AU forces and urged the peacekeepers to quit Somalia.
"Uganda and Burundi, take out your boys before it is too late. You will run away depressed like the U.S. and the Ethiopians who were more powerful than you," Muktar Abu Zubeir, an al Shabaab leader in Mogadishu said in a voice recording.