German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemns 'barbaric' Egypt church attack


 

 

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January 03, 2011 (KATAKAMI / EXPATICA) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday condemned as “barbaric” the bombing of a church in Egypt that killed 21 people on New Year’s Day.

“I received the news of the awful attack on a church in Alexandria with disgust and anger,” Merkel said in a letter of condolence to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, according to a government statement.

“The (German) government deplores in the strongest terms this barbaric act of terror in which Christians, but also Muslims, lost their lives.”

She added: “I thank you for the measures already introduced to protect Coptic Christians in Egypt and am convinced that you will do everything in your power to prevent further incidents like this in the future.”

Twenty-one people were killed early on Saturday and 79 wounded when an apparent suicide bomber blew himself up as hundreds of worshippers were leaving the Al-Qiddissin (The Saints) church in Alexandria.

The bombing has further underscored the vulnerability of the Copts, who make up about 10 percent of the country’s 80-million population and complain of discrimination.  (*)

Medvedev congratulates Brazil's new president Dilma Rousseff

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sent a congratulatory message to Dilma Vana Rousseff Linhares upon assuming presidency of the Federative Republic of Brazil.

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January 03, 2011 (KATAKAMI / KREMLIN.RU) —Dmitry Medvedev sent a congratulatory message to Dilma Vana Rousseff Linhares upon assuming presidency of the Federative Republic of Brazil.

The message reads, in part:

“Our strategic partnership with Brazil is among the priorities in Russia’s foreign policy. It is founded on genuine affinity, mutual respect and trust between the two peoples. We are drawn together by similar long-term national interests and substantial accumulated experience in productive cooperation.

Our states cooperate closely on a broad range of international issues in order to promote democracy, strengthen stability and security, and engage in equitable international teamplay, including within the framework of the UN, G20, BRIC, and other international forums, as well as within mechanisms for dialogue between Russia and regional Latin American associations, such as Mercosur, the Rio Group, and OAS.

In recent years, important prerequisites have been created for expanding our trade and economic relations. We see increasing and diversifying turnover and implementing joint projects in high-tech areas such as space, energy, telecommunications and military technical cooperation to be a current priority. Putting greater focus on innovation would be particularly significant in fully unleashing our potential in economic cooperation.

It is important to note that our humanitarian contacts have grown significantly. This has become possible due in large part to allowing visa-free travel for short-term trips by our citizens and the re-establishment of direct airline routes.

A promising area of cooperation will be the exchange of experience in organising major international sporting events such as the Olympics and Paralympics in 2014 in Sochi and in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, as well as the Football World Cup in Brazil in 2014 and in Russia in 2018.

I am looking forward to working with you constructively and productively. I expect that through our joint efforts, we will be able to ensure a high level of momentum in the multidimensional and mutually beneficial Russian-Brazilian relations, for the benefit of both nations.”

FILE : Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (left) and Dmitry Medvedev

President Dmitry Medvedev also sent a message to Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva upon completion of his term as President of Brazil.

The message reads, in part:

“I would like to express my sincere appreciation for your enormous input into strengthening the friendship and constructive cooperation between our nations.

In the last eight years, Russian-Brazilian relations have reached a level of true strategic partnership and have become even more trusting and intense.

I warmly recall your visits to Russia and the cordial welcome I received in Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro. I am certain that your personal input largely influenced the fact that regular Russian-Brazilian contacts at the highest level have promoted the consolidation of multifaceted, mutually beneficial cooperation between our countries and broadened reciprocity on the international arena, including within the framework of the UN, BRIC, and G20.

I am confident that Russia and Brazil will continue actively implementing the enormous potential of bilateral cooperation for the benefit of our peoples and in the interest of international peace and stability.” (*)

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev Expresses Condolences to President of Egypt

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev

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January 03, 2011 (KATAKAMI / KREMLIM.RU) — Dmitry Medvedev sent his condolences to President of the Arab Republic of Egypt Hosni Mubarak following a terrorist attack in Alexandria.

The message reads, in part:

“It was with great sadness that I learned about the explosion that shook a Christian church in the city of Alexandria on the night of January 1, 2011.

Please pass my sincere condolences to the families and friends of the victims, and my wishes for a fast recovery to the injured.

I decisively condemn the extremists’ bloody attack and would like to assure you that Russia has and will continue to stand by Egypt and its people in the systematic, uncompromising fight against the cruel threat of terrorism.” (*)

Arnold Schwarzenegger leaves office, vows 'I'll be back'

Arnold Schwarzenegger

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January 03, 2011 (KATAKAMI / RIA NOVOSTI) — Terminator star Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is stepping down as California governor on Monday, is considering a return to cinema screens.

The world’s best known action star, Schwarzenegger, 63, was the state’s Republican governor for seven years. He was first elected to the post in October 2003 and was re-elected in November 2006.

When he became governor of the nation’s most populous state, he said he would “blow up the boxes” of state government. Now ‘Governator’ is leaving office with low approval ratings as the state is mired in debt and high unemployment.

He will be succeeded as governor by Democrat Jerry Brown, who held the post from 1975 to 1983.

As Schwarzenegger is about to leave, many are asking what the actor-turned-politician will do next. The possibilities include continuing work on environmental and reform issues, writing an autobiography and making a big Hollywood comeback.

Spokesman Aaron McLear said Schwarzenegger is sorting out “an absolute flood of every conceivable offer” from the corporate world, real estate ventures and the entertainment industry.

In the interview with Daily Variety, Schwarzenegger said returning to acting roles would not be a problem for him. “It is like bicycling, or like skiing,” he said. “You get on it and you feel like there is no time lapse there at all.”

Schwarzenegger’s most recent appearance was in Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables, where he made a cameo appearance. Schwarzenegger also appeared in a handful of films since his election as governor.

Among other offers Schwarzenegger received, was the one from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev who said the ‘Governator’ could even become the mayor of Moscow if he had Russian citizenship.

Schwarzenegger arrived in Moscow in October at the head of a delegation of high-tech executives and venture businessmen. During his visit, he came to Russia’s high-tech research hub of Skolkovo and shared his ideas of how to deal with Moscow traffic jams and tackle climate change.  (*)

LOS ANGELES, January 3

South Korea's president calls island attack an opportunity for change

A man watches a broadcast of South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak's New Year policy address in Seoul on Monday.

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January 3, 2011 (KATAKAMI / CNN) — South Korea’s president said Monday the country should respond to the attack on Yeonpyeong Island the same way the United States reacted to the September 11, 2001, attacks in New York — by using the event as an opportunity to reflect on security and overhaul the country’s defenses.

Speaking during his New Year’s address, President Lee Myung-bak called the November attack a turning point and warned North Korea that any future “provocations” would be met with “stern, strong responses.”

“The shelling of Yeonpyeong Island … served as an opportunity for us to reflect on our security readiness and overhaul our defense posture,” he said. “Peace cannot be obtained without a price.”

Tensions have been running high between North and South Korea ever since the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan last March, killing 46 sailors.

Full coverage of the Koreas’ conflict

South Korea and the international community blamed the North for the sinking, but Pyongyang has denied the accusations.

Last month, North Korea said the South’s navy fired into Northern waters and, in retaliation, it shelled Yeonpyeong Island, killing four South Koreans.

“We cannot let North Korea covet even an inch of our territory. Any provocation that would pose a threat to our lives and property will not be tolerated,” said Lee.

Over the weekend, officials in North Korea called for better ties with South Korea, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency. North Korea urged dialogue and cooperation in 2011 and asked the South to end its military exercises.

South Korea’s president said in his televised address that North Korea needs to work toward peace with deeds as well as with words.

“I remind the North that the path toward peace is yet open. The door for dialogue is still open. If the North exhibits sincerity, we have both the will and the plan to drastically enhance economic cooperation together with the international community,” he said.

The U.S. special envoy for North Korea, Stephen Bosworth, is expected to travel to South Korea, China and Japan this week to discuss next steps on the Korean Peninsula. His first stop is Seoul. (*)

Iranian President Ahmadinejad's 34-year-old Peugeot sold for $1m

Old: The 34-year-old car is wanted by a number of foreign suitors, according to an Iranian newspaper

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(KATAKAMI / DAILY MAIL.CO.UK) — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has received a $1million bid for his 34-year-old car, only a day after it was put up for sale.

The Iranian president, who is auctioning his 1977 white Peugeot sedan to raise money for a low-income housing project, has been made the offer by a foreign source.

The project is aimed at disabled and young people in a move by the 54-year-old, who took charge of Iran in 2005, to appeal to fulfill a campaign promise to put a roof over the head of every poor Iranian.

An Iranian Sunday newspaper said various bids from abroad have been received by the multilingual website set up yesterday for the auction, including $1 million, but it did not elaborate on the identity of the bidders.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

The top bidders will be invited to the auction, which will be held in mid-February in the south-western city of Abadan.

And online offers can be made until the end of January.

Foreign bidders paid £43 to register, while locals pay around £30.

The president had made a point of being seen in the humble white Peugeot 504 sedan when he was Tehran mayor before becoming president in 2005.

The car would probably be worth around $2,000 on the local market.

Lack of housing has always been a major concern in Iran, where a quarter of the 75-million population live in rented apartments and nearly a third of a family’s income goes to pay the rent.

Official statistics say the government has built more than 140,000 housing units in the first half of 201l. It has promised to build nearly 1 million units by March 2011. (*)

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak says door for inter-Korean dialogue still open

Jan. 1, SEOUL, South Korea -- President Lee Myung-bak gives a New Year's message at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Jan. 1. (Yonhap)

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SEOUL, Jan. 3 (KATAKAMI / Yonhap) — South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said Monday that the door for inter-Korean dialogue remains open but North Korea should first show its seriousness about the talks.

“I remind the North that the path toward peace is yet open. The door for dialogue is still open,” Lee said in his New Year’s address broadcast live.  (*)

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