The NewsFuror

Friday, September 14, 2007

Bush pledges Iraq troops reduction

WASHINGTON: President Bush says he will start pulling some U.S. troops out of Iraq this month because his decision to send reinforcements earlier this year has been a success.

The president said that 5,700 U.S. forces would be home by Christmas and that four brigades a total of at least 21,500 troops would return by July, along with an undetermined number of support forces. Now at its highest level of the war, the U.S. troop strength stands at 168,000.

"The principle guiding my decisions on troop levels in Iraq is: return on success,"
the president said, trying to summon the nation's resolve once again to help Iraq
"defeat those who threaten its future and also threaten ours."

The reductions announced by Bush represented only a slight hastening of the originally scheduled end of the troop increase that Bush announced in January. When the cutbacks are complete, about 132,000 U.S. forces will be in Iraq.

Bush said Iraqi leaders have asked for an enduring relationship with America.

"And we are ready to begin building that relationship in a way that protects our interests in the region and requires many fewer American troops."

Bush described the gradual withdrawals, and the U.S. forces still fighting in Iraq, as a compromise on which war supporters and opponents could agree.

"The way forward I have described tonight makes it possible, for the first time in years, for people who have been on opposite sides of this difficult debate to come together,"
Bush said.

Sir Elton joins Prince in London

Pop star Prince was joined onstage by Sir Elton John at the latest of his 21 dates in London's O2 arena.

The singer appeared unannounced at the start of the encore to sing a cover of The Beatles' Long and Winding Road, accompanied by Prince on guitar.
Afterwards, the two superstars embraced and Prince said to the crowd: "You know who it is - Sir Elton John!"

The collaboration clearly inspired the Minneapolis musician, who crammed a further seven songs into his encore.

Among them were his 1980s classics When Doves Cry and Sign Of The Times.

The BBC's John Hand, who was at the concert, said: "Sir Elton has performed onstage with many of the top stars of the past three decades, including Eminem and George Michael, but this was still a surprise - albeit one which was much appreciated by the crowd."

Google backs private Moon landing

Search giant Google is offering a $30m prize pot to private firms that land a robot rover on the Moon.

The competition to send a robot craft to the Moon is being run with the X-Prize Foundation.
To claim the cash, any craft reaching the lunar surface must perform a series of tasks such as shoot video and roam for specific distances.

Firms interested in trying for the prize have until the end of 2012 to mount their Moonshot.

Federer to take on Sampras

World number one Roger Federer will face Pete Sampras in an exhibition match in November.

Karachi bus attack claims seven lives

KARACHI, Sept 13: Seven people were killed on Thursday when armed assailants hurled a hand-grenade and opened fire on a minibus near the Karachi University, police and eyewitnesses said.
They said the powerful explosion set the vehicle packed with passengers ablaze, adding that parts of the bodies were seen lying inside the bus stained with victims’ blood.The Islami Jamiat Talaba alleged that activists of the All Pakistan Mohajir Students Organisation had attacked its workers who were in the bus.
The APMSO denied the allegations.
Witnesses said that nine assailants on three motorcycles intercepted the minibus on the University Road near the Sheikh Zayed Islamic Centre. They first hurled some explosives into the bus and then sprayed it with bullets.
They said the assailants fled after the swift operation, leaving the victims in a pool of blood.Police said four bodies had been brought to the Liaquat National Memorial Hospital. They were identified as Atif Butt, Imran Shahid, Mohammed Siddique and Kaju Habibullah.
The IJT said four of the victims were students of Karachi University’s applied chemistry, political science, library science and mass communications departments and were its workers.
Two bodies were taken to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre. One of the dead was identified as Sarfaraz while the identity of the other could not be ascertained.JPMC’s emergency centre deputy director Seemi Jamali said the unidentified victim was in his mid-20s and his back had been blown.
Officials at the Liaquat Hospital said the four injured brought to the hospital had suffered bullet injuries and were stable. However, Ms Jamali said Haji Ahmed, 50, the only injured brought to the JPMC, was seriously wounded.“He is still in a precarious condition due to profuse bleeding,” she added.Meanwhile, traffic on the main University Road met a gridlock and hundreds of vehicles were stuck when police cordoned off the area. It took almost an hour for the traffic jam to clear.Hundreds of IJT workers stormed into the LNMH where bodies of the victims had been brought in ambulances. Chanting slogans against the government, most of them entered the causality ward and the hospital management called police to control the situation.
Enraged youths also hurled stones on the main Stadium Road and blocked the road for 20 minutes.Police officials said it was too early to ascertain the cause of incident because the investigation was in initial stages.“Along with IJT workers, there were also other people who died or were injured,” said Capital City Police Officer Azhar Ali Farooqi. “We are looking into the matter but can’t exactly say about the motive behind the attack.”Mubina Town police SHO Umer Farooq said no case had been registered because it took time to gather information about the victims. “We expect some time later in the night to register the case once we get complete data of the deceased and the injured,” he added.