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Pray For MH370

US TOYOTA CAMRY RECALLED AND STOPPED SALE

Toyota annouced sales suspension of eight models of its most popular car including CAMRY. The recall from the market and halt in sales of the affected cars is to enable Toyota to fix gas pedals that could stick and cause acceleration without warning.That problem was the cause of several crashes, including some fatalities.

Other affected models are : the 2009-2010 RAV4, the 2009-2010 Corolla, the 2007-2010 Camry, the 2009-2010 Matrix, the 2005-2010 Avalon, the 2010 Highlander, the 2007-2010 Tundra and the 2008-2010 Sequoia.

Toyota Halts U.S. Sales of Camry, 7 Other Models


Wednesday, January 27, 2010


TOKYO — The faulty gas pedals that prompted Toyota to suspend U.S. sales of eight of its most popular models — including the Camry, America's best-selling car — are also in its vehicles sold in Europe, an official with the automaker said Wednesday.

Toyota Motor Corp. announced late Tuesday the unprecedented sales suspension to fix gas pedals that could stick and cause acceleration without warning. Last week, Toyota issued a recall for the same eight models involving 2.3 million vehicles.

Toyota is also halting production at six North American car-assembly plants, beginning the week of Feb. 1, and gave no date on when production could restart.

The problem could spread to Europe, where a similar accelerator part is being used, said Toyota spokeswoman Ririko Takeuchi, while declining to give the number of vehicles affected. The company was studying possible responses, including a recall, she said.

The problem part comes from one U.S. supplier and does not affect models that use parts from different suppliers, Takeuchi said. Toyota's Japan plants are not affected.

The automaker said the U.S. sales suspension includes the following models: the 2009-2010 RAV4, the 2009-2010 Corolla, the 2007-2010 Camry, the 2009-2010 Matrix, the 2005-2010 Avalon, the 2010 Highlander, the 2007-2010 Tundra and the 2008-2010 Sequoia.

Toyota has said it was unaware of any accidents or injuries due to the pedal problems associated with the recall, but could not rule them out for sure.

"This action is necessary until a remedy is finalized," said Bob Carter, Toyota's group vice president and general manager.

The automaker's shares fell 4.3 percent in Tokyo trading Wednesday.

Toyota spokesman Mike Goss said most workers were expected to be at their jobs during the assembly line shutdown. Workers will receive additional training or work on improvements to their assembly processes, but can also take vacation or unpaid leave, he said.

About 300 workers who build V8 engines at a Toyota plant in Huntsville, Ala., will be affected, said Stephanie Deemer, a spokeswoman for the plant. Goss said the shutdowns will also affect engine plants in Georgetown, Ky., and Buffalo, W.Va.

Toyota dealers said they were concerned the move would hamper sales and were hopeful parts to fix the problem could be distributed quickly.

"They're going the extra mile to reassure people that they really care about the customers," said Earl Stewart, owner of a Toyota dealership in North Palm Beach, Fla. "It is something that's going to be at least a short-term hardship on the dealers, and especially on Toyota."

Mamoru Katou, analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research, said Toyota was likely reorganizing production plans, such as switching suppliers, and shipping in parts from Japan. "The problem is extremely serious," said Katou. "The models are precisely those Toyota had been preparing to sell in big numbers."

Toyota expects to sell 2.19 million vehicles in North America in 2010, up 11 percent from 2009, according to sales targets released Tuesday. Globally, Toyota said it was planning sales of 8.27 million vehicles this year, up 6 percent from 2009.

But those numbers have not figured in the U.S. sales stoppage, Takeuchi said.

The automaker's problems in the U.S. may be an extension of the spate of quality problems that plagued Toyota several years ago in Japan, its home market, during the aggressive growth strategy pursued under former president Katsuaki Watanabe.

In 2006, the Japanese government launched a criminal investigation into accidents suspected of being linked to vehicle problems, though nobody was charged. Watanabe later acknowledged overzealous growth was behind the quality problems.

Watanabe was replaced last year by Akio Toyoda, the grandson of Toyota's founder.

Tuesday's announcement follows a larger U.S. recall months earlier of 4.2 million vehicles because of problems with gas pedals becoming trapped under floor mats, causing sudden acceleration. That problem was the cause of several crashes, including some fatalities.

About 1.7 million vehicles fall under both recalls.

The auto company said the sales suspension wouldn't affect Lexus or Scion vehicles. Toyota said the Prius, Tacoma, Sienna, Venza, Solara, Yaris, 4Runner, FJ Cruiser, Land Cruiser and select Camry models, including all Camry hybrids, would remain for sale.

Toyota sold more than 34,000 Camrys in December, making the midsize sedan America's best-selling car. It commands 3.4 percent of the U.S. market and sales rose 38 percent from a year earlier. Sales of the Corolla and Matrix, a small sedan and a hatchback, totaled 34,220 last month, with 3.3 percent of the market and sales up nearly 55 percent from December of 2008.

AP

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EKONOMI SELANGOR DI LANDASAN TEPAT (dwibahasa)

Selangor tahun lepas kerajaan negeri menarik pelaburan bernilai RM3.9 bilion sehingga September tahun lepas. Angka ini ialah 15.5 peratus daripada keseluruhan pelaburan di Malaysia. Selangor sedang mengubah ekonominya daripada berasaskan pembuatan kepada sektor tambah nilai yang lebih tinggi. Sektor perkhidmatan akan terus menjadi pendorong utama dalam pertumbuhan negeri tahun ini, diikuti dengan sektor perusahaan.

Selangor menyasarkan untuk mencatatkan enam hingga tujuh peratus pertumbuhan dalam Keluaran Dalam Negara Kasar (KDNK) tahun in.

Selangor Sasar Pertumbuhan 6-7 Peratus Tahun Ini

KUALA LUMPUR, 26 Jan (Bernama) -- Selangor menyasarkan untuk mencatatkan enam hingga tujuh peratus pertumbuhan dalam Keluaran Dalam Negara Kasar (KDNK) tahun ini daripada penguncupan sebanyak 3.87 peratus tahun lepas, kata Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim Selasa.

Sektor perkhidmatan akan terus menjadi pendorong utama dalam pertumbuhan negeri tahun ini, katanya, menambah bahawa sektor itu menyumbangkan 61.4 peratus KDNK negeri tahun lepas, diikuti dengan sektor perusahaan.

"Selangor, sebagai negeri yang paling maju di negara ini, telah menjadikan dua peratus lebih daripada KDNK kebangsaan sebagai satu trend," katanya di Persidangan Strategik Malaysia di sini hari ini.

"Kami jangka kedua-dua sektor akan meningkat lebih pesat lagi untuk mempercepatkan pemulihan ekonomi," katanya.

Khalid berkata Selangor sedang mengubah ekonominya daripada berasaskan pembuatan kepada sektor tambah nilai yang lebih tinggi.

Negeri itu telah mengambil langkah proaktif untuk mengekang kemelesetan ekonomi dengan melancarkan pakej rangsangannya sendiri.

Pakej rangsangan itu sedang digunakan untuk pemuliharaan sungai Kelang, pemulihan semula projek-projek terbengkalai dan pengstrukturan semula industri perkhidmatan air.

Khalid berkata usaha sedang dibuat untuk menarik pelaburan tempatan dan asing melalui kerjasama awam-swasta dan inisiatif pembiayaan swasta dan ini dijangka membawa masuk RM50 bilion dalam pelaburan untuk sepuluh tahun.

Inisiatif ini juga dijangka mencipta 150,000 peluang pekerjaan, sambil menambah kebanyakan usaha ini masih dalam peringkat rancangan sementara beberapa telah pun mengeluarkan hasil.

Selangor berjaya mendapat sejumlah RM3.89 bilion dalam pelaburan tahun lepas, iaitu 15.5 peratus daripada keseluruhan pelaburan di Malaysia.

Khalid berkata projek hasil padi di Sabak Bernam and Kuala Selangor telah meningkatkan hasil padi negeri itu, dengan beberapa kawasan mengalami peningkatan sebanyak 24 peratus.

"Ini telah meningkatkan pendapatan petani," katanya, sambil menambah bahawa projek lima tahun ini disasarkan untuk tanah seluas 18,355 di antara 2009 dan 2013.

Mengenai pembaharuan bandar, Khalid berkata kerajaan negeri telah mengenalpasti Petaling Jaya, Klang, Ampang dan Kajang sebagai memerlukan inisiatif peningkatan.

"Pada keseluruhannya, anggaran sejumlah 2,375 hektar telah dikenal pasti dalam pelan tempatan dan pelan draf Petaling Jaya, Klang, Ampang Jaya dan Kajang, yang amat perlu dibangunkan semula," katanya.

Petaling Jaya akan digunakan sebagai model untuk pembangunan semula kawasan-kawasan lain, tambahnya.
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Selangor Aiming For 6-7 Per Cent Growth This Year


KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 26 (Bernama) -- Selangor aims to record six to seven per cent growth in gross domestic product (GDP) this year from a contraction of 3.87 per cent last year, Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim Tuesday.

The services sector will continue to be the main driver for the state's growth this year, he said, adding that the sector contributed 61.4 per cent of the state's GDP last year, followed by the industrial sector.

"Selangor, being the most developed state in the country, has been making the trend of being two per cent ahead of the national GDP," Khalid said at the Malaysia Strategic Conference here Tuesday.

"We expect both (the services and industrial) sectors to grow even more rapidly to quicken the rehabilitation of our economy," he said.

Khalid said Selangor was transforming its economy from being manufacturing-based to a higher value-added sector.

The state has taken proactive measures to cushion the impact of the economic downturn by launching its own stimulus package, he said.

The stimulus package was being utilised for Klang river basin rehabilitation, revival of abandoned projects, urban renewal, increasing paddy yield, enhancing public transport and restructuring of the water services industry.

Khalid said efforts were made to attract domestic and foreign investments in projects through public-private partnerships and private funding initiatives and these were expected to bring in RM50 billion in investments in a decade.

These initiatives were also expected to create 150,000 job opportunities, he said, adding that most of these efforts were still in the planning stages while some had already yielded results.

Selangor managed to secure a total of RM3.89 billion in investments last year, which was 15.5 per cent of the total investment in Malaysia.

Khalid said the paddy yield project carried out in Sabak Bernam and Kuala Selangor had increase the state's paddy yields, with some areas experiencing up to 24 per cent increase.

"This, in turn, increased the income of farmers," he said, adding that the five-year project was targeted to cover 18,355 hectares of land between 2009 and 2013.

On urban renewal, Khalid said the state government had identified Petaling Jaya, Klang, Ampang and Kajang as appropriately in need of regeneration initiatives.

"All in all, an approximate total of 2,375 hectares have been identified in the local plans and draft plans of Petaling Jaya, Klang, Ampang Jaya and Kajang, which are ripe for for regeneration and redevelopment," he said.

Petaling Jaya will be used as a model of urban regeneration for all the other areas, he added.

-- BERNAMA


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Selangor Cari Lebih Ramai Pelabur Daripada Sektor Teknologi Hijau



SHAH ALAM, 26 Jan (Bernama) -- Selangor menyasar menarik lebih ramai pelabur daripada sektor teknologi tenaga boleh diperbaharui dan teknologi hijau tahun ini, kata Exco Pelaburan, Perindustrian dan Perdagangan Negeri, Teresa Kok, Selasa.

Bajet Malaysia bagi 2010 menyediakan beberapa insentif bagi pelaburan dalam tenaga hijau dan boleh diperbaharui, kata Kok.

Beliau berkata demikian selepas mempengerusikan dialog mengenai "Pengeluaran Lesen, Rumah Gudang, Perkhidmatan dan Kemudahan yang Disediakan Oleh Kastam Diraja Malaysia bagi Pelabur 2010" yang dianjurkan oleh SSIC Bhd di sini.

Kerajaan negeri merancang pergi ke Jerman dan Belanda tahun ini bagi mencari pelabur terutamanya yang terlibat dalam tenaga solar dan aktiviti pembuatan hiliran, katanya.

Apabila ditanya mengenai jumlah pelaburan yang diterima Selangor tahun lepas, beliau berkata kerajaan negeri menarik pelaburan bernilai RM3.9 bilion sehingga September tahun lepas dan menunggu angka seluruh tahun daripada Pihak Berkuasa Pembangunan Pelaburan Malaysia.

Mengenai dialog tersebut, Kok berkata ia mungkin membayangkan ekonomi mula meningkat berdasarkan kepada kehadiran wakil perindustrian dan minat yang ditunjuk mereka.

Antara isu yang dibangkitkan oleh peserta dialog ialah kekurangan kemudahan bagi pengeksport untuk membuat pembayaran cukai kepada jabatan kastam kerana mereka terpaksa pergi ke pejabat kastam di Pulau Indah WestPort untuk membuat pembayaran.

Mereka berharap jabatan itu boleh membuka pejabat kutipan pembayaran cukainya di Shah Alam dan Puchong untuk mengelakkan kelewatan pembayaran.
-- BERNAMA


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Selangor Seeks More Investors From Green Technology Sector


SHAH ALAM, Jan 26 (Bernama) -- Selangor aims to attract more investors from the green technology and renewable energy technology sector this year, State Exco for Trade, Industry and Investment, Teresa Kok, said on Thuesday.

The Malaysian Budget for 2010 had outlined some incentives for investment in green and renewable energy, Kok said.

She said this after chairing a dialogue on "Licence Manufacturing, Warehouses, Services and Facilities provided by the Royal Malaysian Customs for Investors 2010" organised by SSIC Bhd here.

The state government planned to go to Germany and Holland this year to look for investors, especially those involved in solar energy and downstream manufacturing activities, Kok said.

Asked about the amount of investment received by Selangor last year, she said the state attracted RM3.9 billion worth of investments up to September last year and was waiting for the whole year figure from the Malaysian Investment Development Authority.

On the dialogue, Kok said it might suggest the economy was picking up based on the attendance of industrial representatives and the interest shown.

Among the issues brought up by the dialogue participants was the lack of facility for exporters to make tax payments to the customs department as they have to travel to the customs office in Pulau Indah WestPort to make payment.

They were hoping that the department could set up its tax payment collection offices, for example, in Shah Alam and Puchong to avoid delay in payment.

-- BERNAMA

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Selangor Identifies New Industrial Hubs


KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 26 (Bernama) -- The Selangor state government has identified Serendah, Subang, Klang Valley 2 and I-City Shah Alam to be its new industrial hubs.

Menteri Besar, Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, said the surrounding areas of the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang would be developed for aerospace industry and Serendah in Kuala Selangor for automotive sector.

"Meanwhile, Klang Valley 2, Selangor Science Part 2 and KLIA Aeropolis projects and I-City Shah Alam will be the first digital community in Malaysia.

"We look forward especially to the development of I-City. In the future this will be a vibrant area in which to work and play," he said at the Malaysia Strategic Outlook Conference 2010 here Tuesday.

Khalid said coupled with quality education centres, the I-City was expected to attract more interest towards Shah Alam, the capital of Selangor.

He said the state would also explore the possibilities of getting involved in biotechnology, aviation and green sectors.

Khalid said the state's population was expected to grow by 2.9 per cent to 7.3 million in 2020.

In 2008, Selangor's population was 5.07 million, he said.

"In Malaysia, Selangor is the state with the highest net in-migration, recording a 9.5 per cent in 2003.

"It is also the nation's most urbanised state," he said.

-- BERNAMA

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TAHNIAH UNTUK SEMUA WARGA SEKOLAH DINOBAT SBT

Sekolah Berprestasi Tinggi (SBT) dipilih dari kalangan sekolah-sekolah yang menunjukkan pencapaian cemerlang dalam bidang akademik, kokurikulum dan bidang kebitaraan masing-masing.

Bagaimana STAR Ipoh, RMC Sg Besi, St John KL dan Victoria Institution boleh tercicir dari senarai SBT?


Dua Sekolah Di Selangor Antara Penerima SBT


PUTRAJAYA, 25 Jan. – Kolej Islam Sultan Alam Shah di Klang dan Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) (P) Sri Aman, Petaling Jaya adalah diantara 20 Sekolah Berprestasi Tinggi (SBT) yang diumumkan oleh Timbalan Perdana Menteri Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin di sini hari ini. Muhyiddin mengumumkan 20 Sekolah Berprestasi Tinggi (SBT), yang terdiri daripada 14 sekolah menengah dan enam sekolah rendah di seluruh negara.

Beliau yang juga Menteri Pelajaran berkata, daripada 14 sekolah menengah, 10 adalah sekolah berasrama penuh manakala bakinya sekolah menengah harian. “Sekolah ini dipilih dari kalangan sekolah-sekolah yang menunjukkan pencapaian cemerlang dalam bidang akademik, kokurikulum dan bidang kebitaraan masing-masing.

“SBT akan dibimbing dan dipantau secara khusus untuk menjamin berlaku lonjakan prestasi sekolah secara berterusan,” katanya kepada pemberita di pejabatnya di sini hari ini.

Sepuluh sekolah berasrama penuh ialah Sekolah Tun Fatimah (Johor Baharu), Sekolah Dato’ Abdul Razak (Seremban), Kolej Melayu Kuala Kangsar, Sekolah Seri Puteri (Cyberjaya), Sekolah Menengah Sultan Abdul Halim (Jitra). Kolej Tunku Kurshiah (Seremban), Kolej Islam Sultan Alam Shah (Klang), Sekolah Menengah Sains (SMS) Tuanku Syed Putra (Perlis), Sekolah Sultan Alam Shah (Putrajaya) dan SMS Muzaffar Syah (Melaka).

Manakala empat sekolah menengah harian ialah Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) (P) Sri Aman (Petaling Jaya), SMK Aminuddin Baki (Kuala Lumpur), SMK Sultanah Asma (Alor Setar) dan SMK (P) St. George (Pulau Pinang).


Enam sekolah rendah pula ialah Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Seri Bintang Utara (KL), SK Taman Tun Dr Ismail 1 (KL), SK Bukit Damansara (KL), SK Zainab (2) (Kota Baharu), SK Convent Kota (Taiping), SK Bandar Baru Uda 2 (Johor Baharu).


Muhyiddin berkata SBT bukanlah sekolah elit yang akan memberi manfaat kepada hanya sebilangan kecil pelajar, sebaliknya setiap sekolah di negara ini mempunyai peluang yang sama dan boleh bersaing di “padang yang sama rata” untuk diiktiraf sebagai SBT.

“Mana-mana sekolah yang mencapai sasaran kecemerlangan dan memenuhi kriteria-kriteria yang ditetapkan akan diiktiraf sebagai SBT dan mendapat kemudahan serta ganjaran yang sama,” katanya.

Selangorkini

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US CYBER ROLE VIA TWITTER & YOUTUBE

How did the unrest after the Iranian elections come about?" asked editor Wang Xiaoyang of Peoples Daily newspaper.

"It was because online warfare launched by America, via Youtube video and Twitter microblogging, spread rumors, created splits, stirred up, and sowed discord between the followers of conservative reformist factions.


China has blocked Youtube since March, the anniversary of uprisings in Tibet, and Twitter since June, just before the 20th anniversary of a crackdown on protestors in and near Tiananmen Square. Facebook has been down since early July.

China paper slams U.S. for cyber role in Iran unrest

Lucy Hornby/ BEIJING/REUTERS

Sun Jan 24, 2010 7:28am EST


BEIJING (Reuters) - China's Communist Party mouthpiece on Sunday accused the United States of mounting a cyber army and a "hacker brigade," and of exploiting social media like Twitter or Youtube to foment unrest in Iran.

The People's Daily accused the United States of controlling the Internet in the name of Internet freedom after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for more Internet freedoms in China and elsewhere in a speech on Thursday.

China on Friday warned that Washington's push against Internet censorship could harm ties.

"Behind what America calls free speech is naked political scheming. How did the unrest after the Iranian elections come about?" said the editorial, signed by Wang Xiaoyang.

"It was because online warfare launched by America, via Youtube video and Twitter microblogging, spread rumors, created splits, stirred up, and sowed discord between the followers of conservative reformist factions."

China has blocked Youtube since March, the anniversary of uprisings in Tibet, and Twitter since June, just before the 20th anniversary of a crackdown on protestors in and near Tiananmen Square. Facebook has been down since early July.

The People's Daily editorial asked rhetorically if obscene information or activities promoting terrorism would be allowed on the Internet in the U.S.

"We're afraid that in the eyes of American politicians, only information controlled by America is free information, only news acknowledged by America is free news, only speech approved by America is free speech, and only information flow that suits American interests is free information flow," it said.

Clinton's speech came shortly after Google revealed a sophisticated hacking attack, and said it might close its google.cn Chinese search engine if it could not find a way to offer a legal, unfiltered search service in China.

"Everyone with technical knowledge of computers knows that just because a hacker used an IP address in China, the attack was not necessarily launched by a Chinese hacker," Zhou Yonglin, deputy operations director of the National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team, said in an interview carried in a number of Chinese newspapers on Sunday.

Zhou mentioned an outage suffered by Chinese search engine Baidu on January 12 but did not mention that it was attacked by the Iranian Cyber Army, which had previously attacked Twitter, nor that Chinese hackers launched retaliatory attacks on Iranian sites the next day.

The People's Daily also denounced a May ban on Microsoft's instant messaging services to nations covered by U.S. sanctions, including Cuba, Iran, Syria, Sudan and North Korea, as violating the U.S. stated desire for free information flow.

(Additional reporting by Li Jiansheng; Editing by Elizabeth Fullerton)

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US ATTACKS ON AFGHANISTAN/PAKISTAN INTENSIFIED

Beginning the day after the attack on a C.I.A. base in Khost, Afghanistan, the CIA has carried out 11 strikes that have killed about 90 people suspected of being militants, according to Pakistani news reports. It did make almost no mention of civilian casualties.

C.I.A. Deaths Prompt Surge in U.S. Drone Strikes

By SCOTT SHANE and ERIC SCHMITT/NYTIMES


WASHINGTON — Since the suicide bombing that took the lives of seven Americans in Afghanistan on Dec. 30, the Central Intelligence Agency has struck back against militants in Pakistan with the most intensive series of missile strikes from drone aircraft (PILOTLESS PLANE) since the covert program began.


Beginning the day after the attack on a C.I.A. base in Khost, Afghanistan, the agency has carried out 11 strikes that have killed about 90 people suspected of being militants, according to Pakistani news reports, which make almost no mention of civilian casualties. The assault has included strikes on a mud fortress in North Waziristan on Jan. 6 that killed 17 people and a volley of missiles on a compound in South Waziristan last Sunday that killed at least 20.

“For the C.I.A., there is certainly an element of wanting to show that they can hit back,” said Bill Roggio, editor of The Long War Journal, an online publication that tracks the C.I.A.’s drone campaign. Mr. Roggio, as well as Pakistani and American intelligence officials, said many of the recent strikes had focused on the Pakistani Taliban and its leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, who claimed responsibility for the Khost bombing.

The Khost attack cost the agency dearly, taking the lives of the most experienced analysts of Al Qaeda whose intelligence helped guide the drone attacks. Yet the agency has responded by redoubling its assault. Drone strikes have come roughly every other day this month, up from about once a week last year and the most furious pace since the drone campaign began in earnest in the summer of 2008.

Pakistan’s announcement on Thursday that its army would delay any new offensives against militants in North Waziristan for 6 to 12 months is likely to increase American reliance on the drone strikes, administration and counterterrorism officials said. By next year, the C.I.A. is expected to more than double its fleet of the latest Reaper aircraft — bigger, faster and more heavily armed than the older Predators — to 14 from 6, an Obama administration official said.

Even before the Khost attack, White House officials had made it clear to Dennis C. Blair, the director of national intelligence, and Leon E. Panetta, the C.I.A. director, that they expected significant results from the drone strikes in reducing the threat from Al Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban, according to an administration official and a former senior C.I.A. official with close ties to the White House.

These concerns only heightened after the attempted Dec. 25 bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner. While that plot involved a Nigerian man sent by a Qaeda offshoot in Yemen, intelligence officials say they believe that Al Qaeda’s top leaders in Pakistan have called on affiliates to carry out attacks against the West. “There’s huge pressure from the White House on Blair and Panetta,” said the former C.I.A. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of concern about angering the White House. “The feeling is, the clock is ticking.”

After the Khost bombing, intelligence officials vowed that they would retaliate. One angry senior American intelligence official said the C.I.A. would “avenge” the Khost attack. “Some very bad people will eventually have a very bad day,” the official said at the time, speaking on the condition he not be identified describing a classified program.

Today, officials deny that vengeance is driving the increased attacks, though one called the drone strikes “the purest form of self-defense.”

Officials point to other factors. For one, Pakistan recently dropped restrictions on the drone program it had requested last fall to accompany a ground offensive against militants in South Waziristan. And tips on the whereabouts of extremists ebb and flow unpredictably.

A C.I.A. spokesman, Paul Gimigliano, declined to comment on the drone strikes. But he said, “The agency’s counterterrorism operations — lawful, aggressive, precise and effective — continue without pause.”

The strikes, carried out from a secret base in Pakistan and controlled by satellite link from C.I.A. headquarters in Virginia, have been expanded by President Obama and praised by both parties in Congress as a potent weapon against terrorism that puts no American lives at risk. That calculation must be revised in light of the Khost bombing, which revealed the critical presence of C.I.A. officers in dangerous territory to direct the strikes.

Some legal scholars have questioned the legitimacy under international law of killings by a civilian agency in a country where the United States is not officially at war. This month, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act for government documents revealing procedures for approving targets and legal justifications for the killings.

Critics have contended that collateral civilian deaths are too high a price to pay. Pakistani officials have periodically denounced the strikes as a violation of their nation’s sovereignty, even as they have provided a launching base for the drones.

The increase in drone attacks has caused panic among rank-and-file militants, particularly in North Waziristan, where some now avoid using private vehicles, according to Pakistani intelligence and security officials. Fewer foreign extremists are now in Miram Shah, North Waziristan’s capital, which was previously awash with them, said local tribesmen and security officials.

Despite the consensus in Washington behind the drone program, some experts are dissenters. John Arquilla, a professor of defense analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School who frequently advises the military, said, “The more the drone campaign works, the more it fails — as increased attacks only make the Pakistanis angrier at the collateral damage and sustained violation of their sovereignty.”

If the United States expands the drone strikes beyond the lawless tribal areas to neighboring Baluchistan, as is under discussion, the backlash “might even spark a social revolution in Pakistan,” Mr. Arquilla said.

So far the reaction in Pakistan to the increased drone strikes has been muted. Last week, Prime Show allMinister Yousaf Raza Gilani of Pakistan told Richard C. Holbrooke, the administration’s senior diplomat for Afghanistan and Pakistan, that the drones undermined the larger war effort. But the issue was not at the top of the agenda as it was a year ago.

Hasan Askari Rizvi, a military analyst in Lahore, said public opposition had been declining because the campaign was viewed as a success. Yet one Pakistani general, who supports the drone strikes as a tactic for keeping militants off balance, questioned the long-term impact.

“Has the situation stabilized in the past two years?” asked the general, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Are the tribal areas more stable?” Yes, he said, Baitullah Mehsud, founder of the Pakistani Taliban, was killed by a missile last August. “But he’s been replaced and the number of fighters is increasing,” the general said.

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PENGERUSI GERAK LETAK JAWATAN, SERTAI PKR (DWIBAHASA)

Pengerusi GERAK letak jawatan, mungkin sertai PKR

Gerakan Rakyat Integriti dan Anti Korupsi (GERAK Malaysia) mengumumkan peletakan jawatan pengerusinya, Mohd Nazree Mohd Yunus berkuatkuasa serta merta hari ini untuk menyertai bidang politik.

Keputusan ini dibuat setelah perbincangan dibuat bersama ahli majlis tertinggi GERAK Malaysia dan merupakan keputusan Mohd Nazri sendiri.

"Beliau telah memaklumkan kepada majlis tertinggi dan sukarelawan Gerak dalam siri-siri pertemuan bersama mereka berkaitan hasratnya untuk meletak jawatan bagi menyertai politik.

"Ia bertujuan supaya supaya Gerak Malaysia terus kekal sebagai badan bebas, neutral dan non-partisan dalam usaha badan ini berjuang membudayakan integriti dan anti korupsi," kata kenyataan sekretariat GERAK.

Sementara itu, Mohd Nazri disebut-sebut akan menyertai PKR.

Pemuda PKR pula mengumumkan akan mengadakan sidang akhbar khas esok, yang besar kemungkinan akan mengumumkan penyertaan Mohd Nazree dalam PKR.

Nazree sebelum ini pernah membuat laporan polis terhadap Menteri Besar Selangor, Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim kepada Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM) berhubung agihan lembu korban di kawasan parlimennya di Bandar Tun Razak sewaktu Hari Raya Korban.

MALAYSIAKINI
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Former Gerak head Mohd Nazree to join PKR


KUALA LUMPUR, 23 Jan: Former student leader Mohd Nazree Yunus is set to join PKR Youth and the official announcement is due to be made as early as Sunday, PKR insiders told Harakahdaily.

Mohd Nazree took over the helm of Gerak or Integrity and Anti-Corruption Movement after former PKR Youth chief Ezam Mohd Noor defected to Umno in May 2008. He has since resigned from Gerak, sparking a swirl of speculation that he was about to make his entree into politics.

“His joining PKR is a decision by the Youth wing. They believe he can add value to the party and to the Pakatan family," the PKR insider told Harakahdaily.

"It is hard to say if it is a good decision because there are some members who worry that he may cause trouble later on. However, he is being welcomed with an open mind and there are high hopes that he expand the reach of the Youth wing."

A thing of the past

Of late, Gerak appears to have stood more on the side of the Umno-BN rather than the Pakatan Rakyat. A good example is the police report Mohd Nazree lodged against PKR Mentri Besar of Selangor Khalid Ibrahim.

The Gerak chief accused Khalid of abusing his powers by spending RM110,400 of state funds to buy 46 cows during the Hari Raya korban or sacrifice festival. The cattle was slaughtered and distributed to Khalid’s constituents in Bandar Tun Razak.

Despite the frivolous nature of the allegation, it stirred up heat for PKR as Selangor Umno leaders such as former MB Khir Toyo seized on the opportunity to discredit Khalid and his state administration.

Mohd Nazree was formerly the head of the Universiti Malaya Muslim Students Association.

Harakahdaily

Read More “PENGERUSI GERAK LETAK JAWATAN, SERTAI PKR (DWIBAHASA)”  »»
 

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